River Cruise #1 - Wonders of Ancient Egypt

We chose Trafalgar for this trip to Egypt, it is a family owned company and has 70 years experience. This trip includes a very interesting and full itinerary including a 7 day Nile cruise and flying to and from Luxor. Also they offer optional experiences, like a tour to Abu Simbal, flying from Luxor, a Nabil Village visit on a motorboat along the Nile, and a dinner cruise on the Nile with entertainment. We are choosing to fly to Cairo one day early before the tour group arrives. Our extra day we will travel to Alexandria for a full day tour. It is 112 miles from Cairo. If it works out and we like traveling with Trafalgar we definitely will book other tours. PRACTICAL INFORMATION EGYPT Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP) 1 EUR = around 8 EGP Languages: Arabic, English (some French and German) Egypt Area: 387048 km ² Population: Approx 80 million Capital: Cairo 20 million approx Airport: Cairo: 15 km from the city center. Luxor: 10 km from the city, 20 mins by car Weather: Hot and sunny in summer (April-September) Temperate in Winter (cool nights) Summer: no time difference Winter: 1 hour time difference Visa: Yes (valid 1 month) Passport: valid at least 6 months after departure date Health: No vaccins required E-mails to Linda Goelz, Jack Sutherland, Georgina Guzman - April 3rd We are back from our adventures in Egypt. It was really beyond our expectations, what a country and on so many different levels! One of the concerns I had while planning this trip was the weather. I hate the heat and checking their highs was in the 90's (99) I know, it can get up to 140°F!! but we had an almost perfect 2 weeks with blue skies and the highest temp. was 80°F. A little hazy in Cairo (polution) in the early mornings. We saw a lot,from Alexandria, all the way to Abu Simbel and In between, Cairo, Luxor, Dendera, Aswan, and Edfu. For seven nights we were on a Nile River Cruise ship, with the Sahara desert on one side and the green irrigated farm land on the other side. Watching people wash their clothes, animals and dishes in the Nile River, living in mud shacks, taking care of their crops with donkeys and using fish nets to catch fish. And waking up to the sounds of mosque calling people to prayer and the donkeys braying! It was so peaceful! I think we had about 10 people total on the ship the first night, they had almost as many servers and chefs. The food and presentation was amazing. They had about 30 people total booked for the week, I'm sure they must have been losing money on this trip! Most places we went, we either had a police escort or an armed guard was assigned to go with us, but we didn't once feel we were in any danger. The two hotels we stayed at in Cairo had very high-level security, they had these round metal barriers, that came up and down from under the ground, blocking cars from entering the hotel grounds, they had dogs sniffing vehicles for bombs and used mirrors to check under the vehicles. Then we were required we go through a metal detector and our belongings went through an X-ray machine before we entered the hotel lobby. The touts were relentless, but some could be quite charming! They would say "how now brown cow" and "free for you my friend" "Obama". With the political unrest there were very few tourist everywhere we went, mostly Egyptians and middle Easterners at the tourist sites. Very good for us but not for this country. With so many fewer tourist coming to Egypt, at the Pyramids I saw a guy just grab a teenage tourist trying to put him on his camel to make money. Everyone has their hand out for a tip, so that took some getting used to! The worse thing was trying to get small notes for change, no one had change ever, even the banks didn't want to part with smaller bills. In a department store or grocery store they would say "no change". Not just coins, I didn't see any coins, but bills! The last couple of nights we were back in Cairo and stayed at Ramses Hilton next to the Nile River and Tahrir Square across from the Egyptian Museum. I had wanted to return to the Museum but didn't do it. I thought the traffic and crossing streets in Vietnam was bad, but at least your dealing with motorbikes, but in Egypt it's the cars! No crosswalks, stop lights are very rare, oodles of people running across in heavy traffic, people driving at night with no car lights on and car lanes mean nothing. Absolutely no rules and no police presence, not to mention all the horn blowing! It was fun watching all of this going on and once in a while you'd see a donkey pulling a cart in all of this chaos! Crazy Cairo! We went to the Citadel in Old Cairo, the Alabaster and Sultan Hassan Mosques, the Coptic Hanging Church of St. Mary and the City of the Dead with maybe 250k people living with the dead. Close by because it was Friday we saw the Friday Market with hoards of people shopping, and people trying to sell animals for food. Seeing people trying to sell dogs, hopefully, not for food! We sailed in a Felucca on the Nile to Kitchener's Island, took a motorboat to a Nubian village that people kept crocodiles in their homes and visited the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae. Took a buggy ride from our ship and back to visit the Temple of Edfu in Aswan. Went to the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut Temple before cruising through the Edfu locks. The temples of Karnak in Luxor, my favorite, after the Giza Pyramids. And so much more! To Memphis, or what used to be Memphis, the huge Ramses 2nd laying down statue and Alabaster Sphinx. Your trip to Egypt Linda,must have been similar but before the revolution so with more tourist? The picture is from the first hotel we stayed at near the Pyramids. I always pictured the Pyramids way out in the middle of the desert not so close to the city. I didn't mean for this e-mail to run so long but it had a mind of its own!!!! Such great memories! I just mailed our Visa applications and paperwork today for India, with a little help from Jack, so that trip is coming up very soon. While I'm home I'm a total coach potato, uploading my photos to Facebook, Flickr and my travel blog. And of course, working on our next adventure. I finally went out a couple of days ago, Jim took me to a movie and lunch for my birthday! It was a nice warm sunny beautiful day! Hope I didn't totally bore you! Ann Quite an adventure. In the years I knew you from a distance, I had no idea you had such a streak for adventure! Laurie must have inherited it from you, and not Jim after all! As for me, I inherited my Dad's contentment to sit in my chair and look at news articles and picture/TV shows of other people's journeys - without the slightest desire to venture out myself and experience it all first hand! Glad you are able to do things you want to do at this stage of life and make your own memories. Stay safe, Jack Linda Goelz- Ann, Very interesting write up. Trip sounds amazing. I have never been to Egypt. Will call tomorrow morning. Happy belated birthday. Me next! Did you get your India visa sorted out? Talk tomorrow. Can't believe it's April or Easter. Past couple of days here have been in high 50's, low 60's, but rainy and dreary. But at least it's warm. Think Rochester may get snow this weekend. Hopefully ours is done but it has been a long and cold winter. I am sick of having to wear heavy coats, scarves and gloves.
Planned Dates
2015-03-08 to 2015-03-21

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