Thursday, March 21, 2024



Our flight to Heathrow featured a loud and belligerent

 passenger. Five bobbies were waiting at the gate for her

 to deplane.

The flight to Cairo arrived at about 11:00 p.m. We were

 met at the airport by a helper and a driver provided by

 Djed Travel. It became a recurring theme that the Djed

 would show up promptly with very helpful people.

A 45 minute drive took us to our hotel in Giza which

 was quaint but featured a view of the pyramids and

 sphinx from our window.

In the morning we were picked up at 8:00 by our guide

 and driver for a very good day.

First stop was the Cheops pyramid where we entered the

 burial chamber of remarkably well-fitted granite.

Next we went close up to the other two Giza pyramids

 and then were driven to a panorama view of all three.

After that we visited the sphinx.

We then went to Saqquara which was a necropolis still

 under excavation. We went through the world’s first

 colonnade and visited two tombs which had

 heiroglyphics and other life scenes depicted.

The Step Pyramid and its courtyard were next.

We then went to a place that made papyrus and bought

 some art.

After that we went to a farmhouse for lunch.

Next was the Bent Pyramid. We decided to climb to the

 burial chamber. It was supposed to be strenuous and it

 was; lots of climbing up and down.

The last adventure of the day was the Red Pyramid. Our

 guide advised that it was easier than the Bent Pyramid

 but had nothing significantly different than the Bent

 Pyramid. We therefore eschewed a climb in.

Back to our hotel. We decided to walk around the

 neighborhood. The shopkeepers were very friendly.

That night we watched the Sound and Light Show of the

 pyramids from the roof of our hotel.

In the early morning our driver picked us up to take us to

 the airport for our flight to Luxor. We picked up Tarriq

 along the way who helped us with the process. Djed

 Travel took care of everything and allowed us to fully

 enjoy ourselves as we received lots of information.

We were met in Luxor by Mohammed who got us to our

 vehicle and driver. Along the way we picked up Amel,

 who would be our guide in Luxor and left off


We went first to Karnak where Amel guided us around

 the compound (fortification) and then let us free to

 explore and take photos.

After Karnak we were picked up again and driven to the

 Temple Of Luxor where we followed the same protocol

 with Amel.

After the Temple we dropped off Amel and picked up

 Mohammed who went with us to the Nile and crossed

 with us on the ferry to Djorff Palace to make sure we

 got situated. Djorff Palace is a gorgeous resort looking

 hotel with an Arabian Nights motif.

We ate at Djorff for dinner which was great. I had

 Potatoes Nicoise and Spaghetti Bolognese. Teresa had

 feta with grapefruit and Chicken Tangine with banana.

The next morning we were picked up early to tour the

 Valley of the Kings. It was much more than I was

 anticipating. Amel was very good and fed us a lot of

 information. Ancient Egyptians were preoccupied with

 death and the afterlife. Their thoughts on it were well

 expressed in their tombs. The passageways to their

 semi-final resting places were rich with hieroglyphics

 and artwork depicting this as well as other things.

The first tomb we visited was Merenptah.

Next was Tut Ankh Amun (yes, that Tutankhamun).

The third tomb was Rameses V/VI.

We followed that one with Rameses I

The final tomb belonged to Rameses IV

We the visited the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut

 which has undergone quite a bit of restoration.

Next was the Valley of the Nobles where we went inside

 the tomb of a grand vizier.

Finally we went to the Memorial Temple of Rameses III

 which was an impressive compound I had never heard


Later in the day we took the hotel’s ferry to the East

 Bank to go to the Luxor Museum.

We caught a ride on a horse and buggy to go to a

 riverside restaurant before catching the ferry back.

The next morning our balloon ride was canceled because

 of the weather. We went to the Colossi of Memnon and

 Amenhotep’s Temple excavation for a short visit.

Then we went to the Valley of the Queens where we

 visited four tombs, including Nefartari, the most

 expensive to visit in the Luxor area (her artwork was the

 best preserved).

Next was the Valley of the Artisans for the royal workers

 who got burial privileges. There are ruins of their


Then went to the recent temple constructed by

 Ptolemy, a Macedonian ruler who tried to fit in with the


Finally we went to the mortuary temple of Ramses II.

 There was a massive statue of him that had fallen and

 split apart.

Great lunch at the hotel. I had boucle; prawns and

 mushrooms with mushroom sauce over puffed pastry.

 Teresa had tabouli and a Greek salad.

We got in some exercise that afternoon. We ate dinner

 again at our hotel (they change the menu daily). I had

 Egyptian Goulash and Teresa had Peanut Vegetable

 something over rice; again, excellent.

The next morning we were again up early for the balloon

 ride. We grew anxious as our ride with the balloon

 people was a half hour late. We made it in time and it

 was a fantastic experience.

From the air you could see how the verdant farmland

 snuggled up to the desert.

Visible was the Valley of the Queens, Valley of the

 Nobles, Valley of the Artisans, The Ptolemic Temple,

 The Temple of Rameses II and the Temple of Queen


Back to our hotel for breakfast and checkout. We took

 the ferry across the Nile to meet up with Ahmed our

 coordinator and Shahad our driver (who loved playing

 jokes on us) for our drive to Esna to board our Dahabiya

 boat. It was a very nice boat that accommodated 12

 passengers though only nine on this trip. The boat was

 expansive as were the rooms. Our fellow passengers

 were very friendly. We were the only Americans.

Before leaving port our guide took us to the Esna

 Temple devoted to Nkhom. It was recreated by the

 Greeks, then Romans who were attempting to endear

 themselves to the locals.

Back on board to sail upriver (South) and lunch. Our

 guide then gave us more history.

It was a relaxing afternoon. Teresa and I both napped

 after two straight 4:20 wake-ups.

The next morning we sailed to El Kab, the ancient town

 of Nekhel to see scant remains of temples and tombs cut

 into the cliffs.

Back to the boat for breakfast then onward to Edfu to see

 the well preserved remains of the Temple of Horus. This

 was a Ptolemic (Macedonian) edifice with varying

 column capitals.

The next morning started with a tour of the ancient

 sandstone quarry of Gebel el-Silsila which featured

 small chapels.

Later we toured the double temple of Horus and Sobek

 in Kom Omba. The remnants of the temple standing

 were built in the Greek and Roman periods.

Next we visited a crocodile mummy museum. There is a

 story to that. Sobak was among other things a crocodile

 god who protected Egyptians from those reptiles but

 was also a small part of some of them. These favored

 crocodiles were mummified after death.

In the morning we went to Daraw to visit the markets.

We then sailed to the Nubian village El Koubania where

 we walked through the town and enjoyed music and

 dancing in the house of a local musician.

We then sailed to Aswan and spent our last night on the


In the morning we took a three hour long drive to Lake

 Nasser. On the way we saw the beginnings of an

 ambitious plan to make the desert bloom with both the

 silt and the water from the big lake. We did not see the

 largest solar panel array in the world which was not far


We arrived at Abu Simbel in the afternoon. It is a

 remarkable site for a few reasons. First, the two temp-

les were created by carving them out of the rock. They

 did this thousands of years ago (Rameses II) without

 dynamite which was relied on heavily at Mount

 Rushmore. Secondly, both temples had to be moved 67

 meters higher because of the construction of the High

 Dam. This was quite a modern day engineering feat.

Third, the scale and beauty of the temples are amazing.

 Our guide, Mahmoud, provided us with plenty of

 information about the site.

After our visit we were driven to our hotel, Escala. We

 had dinner there. I had the talapia, Teresa had chicken,

 both were very good.

In the morning we were driven back to Aswan. We

 toured around islands in the Nile on a small boat and

 stopped for a museum and ruins on Elephantine Island

 (it was the center of the ancient ivory trade). There were

 several layers of buildings among the Middle Kingdom,

 New Kingdom and Macedonian.

From there we went to the island of the Botanical

 Gardens which was quite lovely.

We then checked into the Nubian Guest House where we

 also had a nice dinner.

In the morning we were taken to a boat that got us to an

 island to visit the Philae Temple of Isis.

Next was a tour of the High Dam.

Then it was another boat ride to Kalabsha and it three


We were driven back to town for a late lunch and a

 lengthy walk through the market.

The next morning we flew back to Cairo. We were

 picked up at the airport, picked up our guide, and went

 first to the Citadel of Saladin, a large fortified complex.

After that we took a walking tour of medieval Cairo and

 visited a few mosques. We then sauntered through the


Lunch was Egyptian Pancakes.

Next was the Egyptian Museum. Our guide filled us in

 on some of our gaps in Egyptian history. No photos

 allowed in the Tutankhamun section.

On to the hotel. We took a walk and found some decent


We had koshari for dinner, followed by ice cream.

The next morning we were driven to the Egyptian

 Civilization Museum. It is a modern museum (three

 years old) and well laid out. Its main attraction is the

 Royal Mummies Exhibit, perhaps 18 of them with

 interesting write-ups. All the favorites were there. Our

 guide explained how the mummies were obtained.

 Unfortunately no photos were allowed in this exhibit.

 The mummies were wrapped except for the head and

 feet. I was surprised to see many had a full set of teeth.

Next we went to the Coptic area where we visited

 churches, The Coptic Art Museum and a synagogue.

For lunch I had a very good shewarma followed by very

 good gelato.

Our guide suggested a nice restaurant for our farewell

 dinner. In Cairo we were staying on an island in the

 Nile. The restaurant was on our island and only a 17

 minute walk from our hotel. We had a very nice meal 

which included pyrotechnics. 


No comments:

Post a Comment