Trip Report - Egypt 2010
We had a great trip to Egypt with SmarTours in October 2010. We started with an overnight flight from JFK on Egypt Air; a dry airline (no booze and no ice). We arrived in Cairo midday and met our group leader and then flew on to Hurghada at the Red Sea. We stayed 3 nights at Fort Arabesque Resort, an all inclusive hotel. The resort, the food and the sea were all wonderful. The quantity of big, colorful fish in knee deep water off the beach was amazing!
Next we headed out by coach for a 3 hour road transfer to Luxor through the desert. Our lodging for the next 4 nights was the Nile Symphony cruising up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. We visited Luxor and Karnak Temples on the first day and then Thebes on the West Bank of the Nile on the second day before setting sail for Edfu. On the third cruising day we stopped at the Temple of Edfu and also the temple at Kom Ombo.
The Valley of the Kings in Thebes was truly amazing and HOTTER THAN HELL! No cameras allowed but the memories will stay with us forever. We visited 5 tombs including King Tut's. His mummy (the only one in the Valley) has been returned to his tomb and it is a sobering site.
For our last full day in Aswan we took an early morning flight to see Abu Simbel near the border between Egypt and Numbia (now Sudan). This is a highlight of any trip to Egypt for most visitors. In the afternoon we took a felucca sail and then explored the local market in Aswan.
The next morning we toured more Aswan sites including the Temple of Philae, the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk. We had lunch at the Aswan Airport before flying back to Cairo. We spent 3 nights in Cairo at the Cairo Marriott Hotel a former palace. It was a lovely hotel centrally located with beautiful gardens and outside dinning.
We went to the Pyramids at Giza where 10,000 Egyptians were participating in the Susan B Komen Race for the Cure. We should have changed our schedule but it was fun to be a part of this annual event. We finally got our camel ride! After Giza we went on to see Memphis and Sakkara. At Sakkara we went into a pyramid. The roof inside looked questionable but it had been standing for thousands of years so you just don't think about it! In the evening we went back to the pyramids for the Sound and Light Show.
The next day we visited the Egyptian Museum. We weren't expecting much but it was fabulous! The shear volume of artifacts and the condition they were in was amazing. And the mummies...what can I say...teeth, hair, etc. Next stop was the Khan El Khalili bazaar and then on to Old Cairo for the Citadel and the Hanging Church. Our last night in Egypt was spent dining and drinking with our new best friends in the Marriott gardens.
Egypt is fantastic, better than expected and a must see for everyone who has ever dreamed of the pyramids and the Nile. It's a hard trip because there is so much to do and see but oh so satisfying. We had too many early morning starts to avoid the heat but we wouldn't have missed any of them. Safety was never an issue and we had an armed guard with us at all times (though I didn't feel like it was needed). Bathrooms were clean and available. What more can I say, just go!
Memphis and Sakkara