Adventures in Egypt
Our trip to Egypt was both spectacular and disappointing at the same time. While we marveled at the fantastic history and larger than life pyramids and structures, we found Cairo to be disappointing and we were constantly hammered by everyone for tips, including the night guard at the hotel! Many times we had locals trying to rip us off with their “own tours”. We stayed in Cairo, Abu Simbel in the South, and Luxor.
Adventures in Cairo
We took a taxi from central Cairo to the pyramids and sphinx. As we got closer to the ticket office, in the town outside, we noticed in the middle of the street was a line of guys stopping all the taxis. A guy jumped in our taxi and was trying to talk us into a camel tour. I wanted nothing to do with it. He turned on the hard sell and basically had the driver waiting for him to sell us a tour as his tour shop was at the end of the block. I told him no way, we are good. Then he started raising his voice and proclaimed “You can’t walk to the see the pyramids it is the desert!” I told our driver, get going to the gate like I paid you for and to get this guy out. I was getting mad. He finally got out and we got to the ticket gate a few minutes later. Well this part of the desert is well paved and easy to walk around. No camels needed! I wondered how many people get suckered into that hard sell.
We got tickets and walked in. It was so foggy, we could barely see the sphinx and could not see the pyramids at all (1st picture below). We literally wondered where they were. After about an hour, the fog lifted and we were amazed that they were in front of our faces! This place is so awesome. We got tickets to go inside one of the large pyramids also. It truly is amazing. It is a tight fit getting down to the large rooms. It was really cool. You are not allowed to take cameras inside and they inspect your bags. All in all we enjoyed the pyramids very much. It was another must see bucket list item. We would both say that the downside to this place is 1: It smells like camel dung everywhere; 2) The camel guys hound you to ride their smelly camels; 3) Going inside some of the smaller pyramids the guards ask you for tips as you walk through. If you ever go, be prepared to say no and ignore them.
Foggy! No Pyramids and then Voila There they are!
Adventures in Abu Simbel
Our next stop in Egypt was a night in Abu Simbel. Looking at the map above, Abu Simbel is in far south near the boarder of Sudan. We flew into the local airport, spent a couple hours at the historical site and then called it a day. Not much else around.
The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. Abu Simbel remains one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
Adventures in Luxor
Our last stay was in Luxor. We stayed at a nice boutique type hotel on the west bank of the Nile river. The room was nice and they had great food on the 4th floor roof top.
We went to the great temple of Karnak. The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is believed to be the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It consists of four main parts (precincts), of which only the largest, the Precinct of Amun-Re, currently is open to the general public.
Valley of the Kings
The few pictures I have are from the Valley of the Kings. Some of these pictures are from the web because they forbid cameras in the Valley. They literally go through your bags. You can’t even take a camera in the area to take pictures outside! They use to have camera passes for an extra fee but they didn’t when we were there. They really want you to buy their photo books. You have to buy passes to go into the tombs. It is well worth the money to visit as many as you can, especially Ramses VI tombs and Tutankhamen.
Egypt was historically fantastic. It is a must see place.
There was one other event that made the trip that much more fantastic in Luxor: