"Egypt" Egypt by al2401
Egypt Travel Guide: 16,115 reviews and 41,008 photos
My first trip to Egypt was in November 2007. It was organised around a conference for work which took place on the Nile and was 5 star all the way. Due to pre tour illness with some of the delegates I was one of two travellers with our own private guide. My fellow traveller was also ill for a large part of the trip so I had the guide all to myself - how unfortunate!
We spent a couple of days in Cairo seeing the old and new parts of the city and of course the Pyramids and Sphinx. Cairo is a very busy, noisy, smelly, dry, dusty and amazing city where 4 lanes of cars try to fit into 2 marked lanes and you take your life into you hands to cross the road. this is best attempted at intersections because the cars are stopped!
The Pyramids and Sphinx were just as magnificent as I had anticipated but it was Cairo itself that I enjoyed - the amazing Mohammed Ali or Alabaster mosque on the citadel of Salahaddin, the old town with the oldest Christian church, Synagogue and mosque all within a stones throw of each other and a restored Turkish house a short walk from the famous Khan El Khalili bazaar are all a must see. The Cairo Museum is also a must - especially if you want to see the riches of Tutankhamun.
From Cairo we took the overnight train to Aswan - we had 1st class sleepers but you had to be there to experience it!
Before boarding the riverboat in Aswan we had time to explore. Aswan is the 3rd largest city in Egypt but is totally different to Cairo - still dry and dusty (a given considering it never rains in Egypt and it is mostly desert) but brighter and more colourful - the traffic is not quite as crazy. The main drawcard of Aswan is the link to Abu Simbel the famous temple of Rameses II saved from the waters of the Aswan High Dam but there are other points of interest including Philae, the island temple of Isis also saved from the floods, the Nubian Museum, the High Dam and camel rides to Nubian vilages. I should also mention the Cataract Hotel made famous by Agatha Christie in 'Death on the Nile' and sitting on the verandah watching the feluccas come home for the night.
From Aswan we sailed to Luxor, visiting Komombo temple on the way. We visited Karnak and Luxor temples and papyrus makers. A day in the Valleys of the Kings, Queens and Artisans after an early morning balloon ride was followed by a Sound Light show at Karnak. On the return trip to Aswan we visited the temple at Edfu. Train ride back to Cairo
After returning to Cairo I took a side trip to Alexandria on the Nile delta where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. It is well worth the train trip (a few hours) to get there. It is a mix of Mediterranean and Arabic styles and was the home of the Ptolemy dynasty (Cleopatra) and consequently has an ancient Roman influence. Alexandria is now the home of the largest library built on the supposed site of the legendary ancient library
- Pros:The Egyptian people are very friendly and appreciate you learning a few words of Arabic - thank you, yes, no etc; As you would expect all shops in touristy areas expect you to haggle but better bargains and less haggle can be had in the local shops.
- Cons:Toilets on trains and the merchant who will not let you go
- In a nutshell:The Pyramids are real! but Egypt is much more than that
Egypt is one of the best countries for solo travel. Having said that, for my first time in a country where not only do I... more travel advice
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