Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Egypt!



We went to Egypt at the end of January.  

Wow, incredible antiquities, good food, and perfect guides.
The Great Pyramid
After looking at a couple of tours, one of which was recommended by an acquaintance,  we made all the arrangements ourselves. We find that we usually can tailor a trip to our interests by making our own lodging and travel arrangements and using private guides. It is actually less expensive than tours and is a perfect way to support the local economy more directly.
In researching Egypt travel, Norm found Jane Akshar, a British expat Egyptologist - who lives in Luxor. Jane is a wealth of information, and with her help we decided on the sights we would take in, both in Cairo/Giza and Luxor. Jane also arranged for our guides in both areas. She and her husband Mahmoud own several buildings with flats for rent http://www.flatsinluxor.co.uk/. We rented a beautiful flat in Luxor from them.
The view from our flat in Luxor
In Giza we stayed at The Sphinx hotel. The location was incredible, although the accommodations were marginal.We only had three nights there and enjoyed the location.  We had an unobstructed view of the
pyramids and the Sphinx from our room. We enjoyed the early morning and evening traffic of workers coming and going outside of our window. The clip clop of horses and camels was a perfect soundtrack for the views. We were able to walk to an excellent restaurant each evening while there.
Our guide and driver picked us up at the hotel each morning. While in Giza we traveled to the nearby Memphis and Sakkara ruins, and of course the pyramids, Sphinx, and the Cairo Museum.
From Cairo, we flew to Luxor where Jane and her driver picked us up at the airport. She arranged for dinner to be delivered to us shortly after our arrival. After we experienced the food and service, we decided to take all of our meals in. Breakfast and lunch were already provided. We only had to look at the menu and let them know what we would like for the next meal. It was like eating at a restaurant, but with better service and no doubt cheaper. It was the first and probably last time we would have staff!
In Luxor we visited ancient temples and tombs of the nobles, kings, and queens. It was overwhelming trying to decide which places to go and we finally put it all in Jane’s hands. She chose a nice selection for us and we were very pleased with the incredible experience and the guide’s educational commentary about the sites visited.
In an underground tomb!
The weather was pleasant, I am not sure of the temperatures, but we were never too hot. T-shirts or light long sleeves worked well. Women are encouraged to cover their legs as a respect for the culture. We were comfortable in light-weight convertible pants. The only seasonal issue we had was the field burning which was in progress outside of our flat on our last two days. As one would expect, the burning created a heavy veil of smoke making the stay less pleasant. We witnessed the hot air balloons sitting suspended in the smoke, it must have been quite unpleasant for the passengers.
We are happy that we went to Egypt; we never felt unsafe and were well taken care of.
We took lots of photos and have them posted on our website: http://norm-collie.com