EGYPTIAN SPLENDOR

Globus tour QE 10 days
October 7-15, 2005

This was the dream trip of a lifetime for us. It was a wonderful experience from beginning to end! The tour itinerary is perfectly planned to cover all the main highlights of Egypt. Our guide Ahmed was a knowledgable and friendly Egyptologist and did a marvelous job of making 5000 years of history understandable and exciting. We would thoroughly recommend this trip!

This page gives the day by day itinerary and our best pictures. In a few instances, the visits were slightly re-arranged from the standard itinerary. Those which occurred "out of order" from the published itinerary are show in green and those which were added to the itinerary are shown in purple so if you compare our trip to the published version you will see the slight changes.

Our general comments for each day are shown in red. CLICK on the picture, or on the DAY title for each day and you will go to our expanded page covering all the activities for that day with lots more pictures and our specific comments.

DAY 1: Board your overnight Transatlantic flight.
DAY 2: Arrival in Cairo, Egypt. Your Egyptologist guide meets you at your hotel with a welcome drink; settle in and start soaking up the atmostphere of the city.

The Mena House hotel is right in the shadow of the pyramids and it is an amazing experience to step out on the balcony and see the Great Pyramid looming over you!

DAY 3: Sightseeing starts at SAKKARA'S step pyramid "stairway to the sky", the oldest of all pyramids. Then visit ancient MEMPHIS to admire the 40-foot fallen statue of Rameses II and the Alabaster Sphinx. Finally, at Giza, a close-up look at the enigmatic SPHINX and the daunting Great Pyramids. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal ever built.

These are the famous sights which have filled our dreams for years. It is truly wonderful to be standing in front of them. We had lots of time for sightseeing in each place, and the opportunity to ride a camel was an exciting extra!

DAY 4: Visit the Payprus Institute for demonstrations of making this ancient paper, and a carpet weaving school to see carpets on the loom. Visit the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamon's fabulous treasures, an exciting encounter with three millenia of Egyptian civilization.

In the late afternoon fly 500 miles up the Nile Valley to the lovely resort town of Aswan.

Although these places were certainly open for shopping, it was also very interesting to view the demonstrations. Due to the fact that it was Ramadan, we had limited time in the Egyptian Museum, but did have time to see Tutankhamon's mask and the treasures from his tomb. It is interesting but like all museums a bit dry.

DAY 5: Morning at leisure in Aswan. You might want to join an optional flight to the huge sandstone temples of Abu Simbel. Then check into your elegant hotel boat for lunch. In the afternoon board a motor launch and sail right across the blue waters of the river. En route see the ancient "nilometer" on Elephantine Island, Kitchener's lush BOTANICAL GARDENS, and the splendid Aga Khan Mausoleum on the left bank. In the evening visit the bustling SPICE MARKET of Aswan.

The optional tour to Abu Simbel, while expensive, is an experience not to be missed. The monument is truly awe-inspiring. We were deprived of our "felucca" sail on the Nile as it was an absolutely still day without a breath of wind and all the feluccas were tied up. Having our guide Ahmed take us through the Spice Market was awesome. It sells many many things besides spices, and is definitely a place to see!

DAY 6: Morning excursion to the turn-of-the-century Old Dam and the gigantic Aswan High Dam, completed in 1970. Board a motor launch to the island of Agika between the two dams and visit the TEMPLE OF ISIS transplanted from the submerged island of Philae. Also stop at the ancient GRANITE QUARRIES to see the famous unfinished obelisk.

Before lunch, start your leisurely cruise down Egypt's river of destiny. Dock at KOM OMBO for a short walk to its bluff-top temple dedicated to the crocodile and falcon gods. Time to haggle for bargains in the local market before returning to the boat. A snake charmer and his cobras are often in the market place.

Of course all the vendors are importunate, and there are people everywhere demaiding "baksheesh". The cobra man was one of the ones I did not mind tipping! Tonight on the cruise boat is the famous galabiya party and Nubian dance show.

DAY 7: Board a horse-drawn carriage for the drive through Edfu to the TEMPLE OF HORUS with its menacing black stone statue of the falcon god. Built in the time of Cleopatra about 2000 years ago, it is recent by Egyptian standards and beautifully preserved.

During the hottest part of the day, sip a drink on the sun deck of your cruise boat and savor the panorama. See white-clad farmers with their donkeys, camels, and water buffaloes work lush green fields; and ever present on the horizon beyond the palm trees, the desert. Watch as your boat passes through the locks at Esna.

Tonight see the splendor of LUXOR TEMPLE and its obelisk and avenue of sphinxes under the night lighting.

Cruising the Nile is just as fabulous as we imagined it would be. The camels and water buffaloes, as well as goats, sheep and donkeys, are just as advertised. It is a way of life unchanged for thousands of years. It is very easy to understand the narrow width of the fertile zone around the Nile as you see the desert rising just yards away from your boat.

The Temple under the lights at night is truly beautiful. Our guide chose to change the itinerary to allow us the experience and we thought it was a wonderful idea!

DAY 8: A sunrise cruise by motor launch across the Nile to visit the VALLEY OF THE KINGS, where generations of pharoahs and nobles were buried in great splendor in crypts cut into the cliffs. Sixty-two royal tombs have been uncovered so far, of which one, the tomb of Tuthankamon, was neirly invoilate when discovered in 1922. Visit DEIR EL-BAHARI, Queen Hatshepsut's monumental rock templs. Take time to view the art of cutting alabaster with primitive tools. Visit the MORTUARY TEMPLE OF RAMESES III and see the room where the mummy was prepared, and the traces of ancient colors remaining on some of the pillars. Also stop for pictures at the two COLOSSI OF MEMNON guarding the valleys.

The afternoon is devoted to the stunning monuments at KARNAK, the greatest temple of ancient Egypt. To walk among the pillars of the colossal TEMPLE OF AMON RA and along the AVENUE OF THE SPHINXES is an experience which you will treasure for the rest of your life.

This is a busy day but an exciting one! So many of these monuments are ones we have seen in pictures again and again, and it is just one amazing sight after another. Rising at 4:30 AM is sort of a shock, but it allowed us to see the wonderful sunrise and be the very first bus into the Valley of the Kings, beating all the crowds. This is just another example of our guide's great knowledge and forethought to provide us the best opportunity at every site. Tonight's entertainment on our cruise boat features a belly dancer and one of the famous Whirling Dervishes, who begin their training at the age of 3.

DAY 9: Early morning flight from Luxor back to Cairo. Time this morning for independent activities or to join an optional excursion to walled Old Cairo. Saladin's 12th century Citadel, the Alabaster Mosque and the labyrinthine bazaar are well worth a visit.

Your homebound flight leaves the next day.

Our guide was a devout Muslim, fasting all day during Ramadan even as he performed all his duties. He explained the religion thorougly as we toured the mosque, and even arranged for a highly trained imam to chant some verses from the Koran for us.

ACCOMODATIONS: The cruise ship Oberoi Shehrayar was a great way to see Egypt, and we also stayed at several very good hotels. The food is very good throughout the trip. I hope that you decide to visit Egypt some day, and that you have as wonderful an experience as we did with Globus Travel!

After the end of the Egypt tour, we flew from Cairo to Casablanca and began the Globus tour of Morocco QM. Combining two tours like this is efficient and cost-effective, but exhausting! We had a great time!

BEGINwith the first day of the tour.


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