Egypt

Egypt

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  • Day10

    We awoke to another glorious morning in Cairo, with the honking of car horns our new 'normal'. We were on the bus at 8am & headed to one of the seven wonders of the world - the Pyramids of Giza! It didn't take long before we spotted them in all their glory, sitting right alongside the city fringe - you could have Pizza from a Pizza Hutt that was less than 100m from the Sphynx!
    We were in complete awe at the magnitude & splendor of them - they were breathtaking! The biggest one, known as the Great Pyramid or Cheops, was the burial site for Khufu who ruled during the Fourth Dynasty in the first half of the Old Kingdom period (26th century BC) - we even got to trek inside & visit his burial chamber located about two thirds of the way up! It took about 15 minutes to walk up via steep passages, some of which were incredibly expansive, & low, close tunnels; completely worth the $12AUD each for the privilage, albeit slightly terrifying & almost overwhelming knowing you were inside one of the most ancient & mystical structures on the planet!
    Next, we drove around to the 'Sahara Desert side' of the pyramids, this is where we got the perfect picture opportunities, with all 3 of the major structures visible. It is from this location that we also began our iconic camel ride - a highlight of the trip so far! We were speechless & the view from the Sahara Desert, looking at those ancient marvels & the glistening city beyond, was a memory that will be etched in our memories until the end of our days.
    After our ride we boarded our bus & headed back towards the 'city side' of the pyramids where we viewed the mighty Sphynx statue before heading back to the hotel for a restful afternoon; many in the group were coming down with the lurgy and this time allowed us to pack & prepare for the 3.30am wake up tomorrow morning for our flight to Jordan.
    After a quick tidy up at the hotel, we ventured out for a walk in the crowded, dusty streets before coming back & preparing for our trip to view a laser light show at the Pyramids, before a formal dinner at the famous Mena House Hotel; another historic site in WWI history, as it was here that our ANZACs were based before moving through to Israel (then Palestine).
    Another fantastic day done & dusted; we are ready for Jordan tomorrow!
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  • Day13

    An optional add on to the Luxor tour is a horse and buggy ride through the streets of Luxor. I'm not a fan of such things, but I am a team player. Dianne thought it would be a good idea and I supported her. The ride starts out easy enough as our horse Susie clip clops along the streets after sunset. It is Thursday night, and tomorrow is a day off for Muslims, so the streets are busy. The occasional aggressive car driver erupts a shouting match in Arabic between our driver Mohammed and the the other guy. There are sirens and horns but Susie is a steady nag and keeps on going. Mohammed asks if we would like to see the market, and of course we agree to go for what we expect to be a drive by. Instead we turn and amble our way through the centre of the local street market bazaar making everyone get out of the way as we ring the bell announcing our approach. Our horse and buggy and bell ringing is generally a nuisance, and you can read that sentiment on the faces of the people as we go by. This drama is pretty much the exact reason I'm not a fan of such things. We find ourselves on an elevated wheeled platform, with a horse and driver before us, looking down on the stalls of the local vendors who know we did not come here to shop. We are only looking. And they are looking at us too, and moving thing out of the way and happy to see the back of our carriage! Well you had to laugh because it was so absurd. Absurd like riding a horse to the top of the Calgary Tower, or through the lobby of the Palliser hotel.Read more

  • Day9

    After an early wake up call, we were on the bus at 3am heading to Ankara International airport, for the next destination in our journey - Cairo, Egypt!
    The flight was a little under 2.5 hours & we arrived to a beautiful morning. First impressions - Wow! - Istanbul was exotic but Cairo is ancient! There are 20 million people living in Cairo & it is a thriving, throng of humanity & culture. Only one word accurately describes the traffic in this city - crazy! You indicate with your horn & there are no real line markings on the road, so it is every man for himself! Roads that might comfortably hold 3 lanes of traffic in Australia, hold at least 5 here!
    As our hotel was not ready until midday, our buses carefully navigated the traffic to the famed Egyptian Museum of Antiquities - wow, wow, wow! This museum is so full of antiques & ancient artifacts that it cannot hold them all! A new museum is currently under construction, directly opposite this important treasure, & is scheduled to open in 2018 - we will have to come back for another visit then. The current museum is breathtaking, although cramped with pieces in boxes stacked haphazardly everywhere. With new artifacts being found on a daily basis, this facility is bursting at the seams & our guide (a local Coptic Christian & Archaeologist), informed us that there are multiple warehouses around the city, stacked high with pieces that have never before been seen! 🤤
    The history held within the museum's walls dates back to at least 2500 years BC! Tutankhamun's artifacts are all stored & displayed here. It was absolutely mind blowing! There is a definite sense that being surrounded by these ancient artifacts is just 'normal' for the local Egyptians.
    We stopped for lunch at a boat docked on the Nile River, before heading to our hotel (Barceló Hotel) for an easy afternoon. The Nile River is surprisingly filthy (that's the last time I'll be purchasing Nile Perch) & boy does it flow; like really fast!
    At 6pm we were on the bus again & heading to our boat cruise dinner on the Nile where we were entertained by a Belly Dancer & a Twirling Dervish, the latter of which was absolutely mesmerising. How he spun for at least 10 minutes without getting dizzy was beyond me 😁.
    We were asleep within 5 minutes of our head touching the pillow, just after 10pm.
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  • Day13

    A prearranged felucca on the Nile was made possible by our rainmaker guide Hagar. The boat departed from the dock outside our hotel and was crewed by a man and his son who's family plied these waters for generations. I expected the father of the 14 year old boy to fire up the engine as I could discern no appreciable wind, but he used a pole on the river bottom to start us out and managed to fill the single sail with enough breeze to cross the wide river within loosing ground to the slow current. We had tea as the sunset over Egypt enjoying the quiet calm of the moment.

    Returning back to the other side, the river was too deep to pole so the captain used an 11 foot 2x10 as an oar, leveraging it against one of the mast stays to manoeuvres the boat to shore. This is not work for a laze about. Back on shore now right at the entrance to Luxor Temple we are treated to Luxor Temple by Night.

    The Temple at Night is a jaw dropping experience. Highlighting the most dramatic portions of the place with different lights brings out the best. Hagar filled us in with the details.
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  • Day14

    We had an early breakfast and took another boat across the Nile. This time it was a motor boat and others with the same tour company were with us. We are on the way to the Valley of the Kings and on the way we pass by the Colossi of Memnon. These two statues were discovered by accident when the landowner came upon some stones with looked like carvings on them. Next was Hatshepsut's Temple (Valley of the Queens) and finally Valley of the Kings. Photography was strictly verboten in Valley of the Kings so we have taken pics of the postcards we bought.
    The Valley of the Kings is where the Tombs of Pharaohs and Nobles are located. Situated on the West Bank of the Nile the tombs are dug into a mountainside that is pyramid shaped. Dated back as old as 1600BC they represent Nobles of the New Kingdom. King Tutankhamen is there as well as Ramses. King Tut's tomb has nothing of interest left as everything is in various museums. Ramses V and VI were incredible. The tombs are allowed to be seen on a rotating basis as to not harm the integrity of the tomb.
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  • Day14

    After a great day of exploring Wadi Rum we crossed the border from Jordan into Israel and then drove to the Egyptian border and crossed there. We are now driving along the Sinai peninsula heading for Sharm el Sheikh.
    @desertecotours

    Long day but a great one.

    Happy early anniversary Marlo!

  • Day13

    We arrive in Luxor and meet our guide Hagar. She is about Michelle's age and reminds me of her. Hagar dresses conservatively and wears a head scarf. Her English is perfect. It is not yet noon as we enter the gates. Hagar is well educated and is probably being under used as a tour guide. She gives us more information than I can assimilate in one go, so if you want to know details about the temple, you should google it. The Temple dates back about 4000 years for some of the earliest structures and was added to throughout time. There is a story with every new addition and most of it is carved into the walls for the telling. Hagar relays the story to us in an interesting fashion.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

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