Teaching in Egypt means being blessed with gloriously long holidays. (A blessing for travelers, but more of a curse for AP teachers.) And if you’re like me and you can’t sit still, you find a way to spend every day someplace different. I get that this can be done in Egypt, but I was desperate for clean air and a bit of a springtime chill, so I decided to take a 5-day vacation between our England holiday and my upcoming, end-of-break skip down to Gouna.
My criteria was simple:
- Chilly weather.
- Direct flight.
- Short flight. (Less than 5 hours.)
- Good beer.
One of the perks of living in Cairo is that the world is at your fingertips. A direct flight can land you anywhere from the Middle East to Asia to Europe to Africa (we call it Real Africa here) – even to New York City. So it wasn’t difficult to narrow my options down. A week before we broke up for holiday, I settled on Barcelona or Vienna. I’d never been to Spain or Austria, but Barcelona sounded to lively and raucous for my little 5-day venture. Vienna, on the other hand, conjured images of peaky white mountains and charming ocher rooftops. I imagined I might rent a cottage and share it with some dwarfs.
Plus, there was the added bonus that I happened to know two Austrians and I hadn’t seen them in four years.
I’d met Moni and David when I spent the summer renting a flat in Recoleta, a barrio of Buenos Aires. If it hadn’t been for the two of them, my parilla experience would have been far less exciting, I would never have sampled Fernet and Coke before spending the rest of the night at a dance club in Palermo, and I would’ve turned 25 all alone. I owe them my sanity and more than a few cups of matte.
Still, when I excitedly messaged them saying I’d be in Vienna for a few days and would they be around, it was them who came to my rescue again. Moni, who recently moved to a young and bustling part of town, offered up her flat for the few nights I was there.
This is why I love traveling. You meet people from all over the place and you find ways to meet them again and again in different places. I’ve been dying to host fellow globetrekkers, but no one wants to come to Cairo for some reason. Hmm.
So! For a very affordable $400 roundtrip, I booked my flights to Austria and was off to the airport a mere five hours after I’d returned from England.