Egypt Journals

Nepenthe in the Nile

A February 2008 trip to Egypt by ShannonBrooke

Philae Temple Complex Photo, Aswan, Egypt More Photos
Quote: A belly dancer's first trip to the home of her artform - Egypt!

Nepenthe in the Nile

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Philae Temple Complex Photo, Aswan, Egypt
Quote:
We traveled to Egypt with my first group tour with Peregrine Adventures. It was a small International group, with one Canadian, four Americans, eight Aussies and one Kiwi. The trip started off in Cairo, with visits to the Saqqara and Giza pyramids. Then, we took an overnight train to Luxor, to visit Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. A Nile Cruise was supposed to take us to Aswan (more on that later), and then we returned to Cairo to see its medieval historic center - Islamic Cairo.Egypt is a country that offers so much to the tourist and it is by no means a secret! Even during these times of strife in the area (Egypt borders Sudan and Israel), people are not afraid to come here! And th...Read More

Nile Cruise

Bellydancing on the M/S Nile Treasure

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Story/Tip

A mini-bellydance lesson Photo, Egypt, Africa
Quote:
I had several opportunities to share my dance in Egypt, mainly when we were stuck on the M/S Nile Treasure.My mom's birthday was celebrating with a big cake and all the cooking and serving staff coming out and singing, and playing drums. They got me up to belly dance in her honor, in my street clothes. The cook and I did some dancing - he sorta danced like a chicken with his hands at his waist, arms akimbo, and shoulders shaking as he pranced around in a circle. I imitated him and we ended up dancing encircling each other with these odd chicken-y movements. But in the end, everyone said I was a good dancer so I guess I did okay! The other birthday girl was also named Teresa and was also bo...Read More

Temple of Edfu

Attraction | "Best Seen After Dark"

Quote:
Although not as well-known as Karnak, the Great Pyramid, or the Valley of the Kings - Edfu temple is well-known in Egypt for being the most intact temple. It was built during the reign of the Ptolemies over a century's time. It's great pylon is still standing at its full height.The temple is dedicated to the God Horus - the god of protection - who takes the form of a while falcon. His image is depicted at a grand size on this pylon (large wall in front of the temple proper).As I looked up at the pylon, a white bird flew out of one of its windows. One of Horus' servants perhaps? It was a magical moment.We approached it at night, as it was lit up by spotlights. It wa...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 31, 2009

Temple of Edfu
121 km north of Aswan
Aswan, Egypt

M/S Nile Treasure

Attraction | "The Nile Cruise from Hell"

The Locks as Esna Photo, Egypt, Africa
Quote:
Unfortunately, not much to say about our Nile Cruise on the MS Nile Treasure. From the first moment we saw it, we knew we had a bottom rung cruise. The rooms had a stinky smell, either like mold or sewage depending on the room. There were no balconies and some of the rooms didn't have windows that opened, even. The main problem was that our engine broke - one of the two - and we went very slow. The ship told everyone that they deliberately turned it off so that we could "enjoy the scenery". But when we were stuck at the Esna Locks with other ships bypassing us because of our engine...we found out something was up. We were at the locks for over a day, parked with other boats, with all the entailed poll...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 31, 2009

Aswan

Sara Hotel

Hotel

Quote:
The Sara Hotel has a few things going for it that it does very well, but the stay here was problematic for our small group. We were unlucky in that it was the only hotel left in Aswan that could fit us on the last minute, as our Nile Cruise was stranded at the Esna Lock running on only one motor rather than two.At first glance, it is a pretty hotel, all in pink. Sort of mid-century modern meets Arabian Nights, although the decorative style doesn't look intentional. Breakfast was okay - at least it had Egyptian food. Quite a few Egyptians seemed to be staying here and it seemed to be aimed at them. The hotel's garden overlooks the first cataract, and it's a beautiful site, when sipping Karkad...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 14, 2008

Philae Temple Complex

Attraction | "Most Beautiful Temple Location"

Philae Temple Complex Photo, Aswan, Egypt
Quote:
Philae temple is another beautiful temple, built similarly to Edfu. This one is dedicated to Isis. It has a beautiful setting, but it is still too crowded. From Aswan, you take a ferry across the Nile to the island where the temple has been moved. It's previous island is underwater now, but the spot is still visible from its new location. It looks so natural in its new location that it's hard to imagine that it was moved so recently! Having it on an island means no noisy tour buses cluttering up the view, and a lovely ride across the Nile.I really got annoyed with the giant Japanese tour group that showed up. My group of 15 waited patiently to enter the small inner sanctum so that we coul...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 31, 2009

Philae Temple Complex
Agilkia Island near Aswan
Aswan, Egypt

Cairo

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx

Attraction | "The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx"

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx Photo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Quote:
The pyramids are absolutely unreal! Until I walked up to the base stone of one of the pyramids, I didn't quite process I was there. Unfortunately we arrived too late to go inside the Great Pyramid, as only 150 people per day can do that. Instead, we went through the 2nd largest pyramid. Scott, Alli and me paid our 20LE to go inside. My mom stayed outside with our bags. You had to duck and walk in a squatting position to go down a steep slope. Meanwhile, people were coming up just next to you. First you go down, then it flattens out, then you go up for a bit. Finally it opens up into a big room. But you really don't know how long it will be. It just keeps going! It's very hot inside, even t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 31, 2009

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx
Giza Plateau
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Quote:
Overall, this was the nicest hotel we stayed in for Egypt, and I left it with very good impressions. It is clean, expansive, and has many services. Walking back into this hotel after a week's experience in the rest of Egypt made us realize what a haven it is. It was great to return to the 5-star luxury of the Grand Pyramids.Many tour groups stay here and the lobby is often filled with groups meeting up. Breakfast times are often packed by groups leaving at a particular time. In fact, the hotel desk staff is not very friendly or helpful for someone wanting to make independent plans - perhaps because this hotel caters to tour groups. We asked if there was a nice restaurant that had a view of t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 14, 2008

Grand Pyramids Hotel
53, studio Misr Road
Cairo
(800) 733-5916

Luxor

my wonderful and crazy donkey Photo, Egypt, Africa
Quote:
When we arrived in Luxor, Big Mo informed us that a popular evening activity was to take a donkey, horse, or camel ride through the countryside and villages of the West Bank, before arriving at a local Egyptian restaurant for a meal. Not everyone in our group was up to ride anything, and in particular, my parents felt that they would be too large for a donkey. For me, the chance to ride a donkey - these sweet little creatures that are the backbone of Egyptian baladi life - was too great to pass up.We took the ferry to the West Bank and we found our donkeys. Our entire group had chosen to ride donkeys, rather than camels or horses. We would be trodding lightly through the villages, on the l...Read More

Valley of the Kings

Attraction | "Disappointing and Crowded"

Valley of the Kings Photo, Luxor, Egypt
Quote:
After the balloon ride, we met up with the rest of our tour group to tour the valley of the kings. Now, I had been imagining it the way I had seen it in countless National Geographic specials - cresting over the hill on a donkey, as the sun rises, with an empty valley stretching before us, having to find the dark tunnels where the tombs are. But it's more like going into Disney World's version of Egypt. There is a big bus parking lot. Then you can take the tram to the tombs - we chose to walk. With your ticket, you can visit up to three different tombs. Unfortunately, ours were predetermined by our guide, even though he didn't enter them with us. He seemed to choose all the ones with really long lines...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 31, 2009

Valley of the Kings
West Bank of the Nile in the Theban Necropolis
Luxor, Egypt

Sky Cruise

Attraction | "Hot Air Ballooning Over Luxor / Thebes"

Hot Air Balloons in Luxor Photo, Luxor, Egypt
Quote:
We rose very early, long before sunrise, to take a ferry across the river. Tea and cookies were provided. From here, we took a shuttle bus to the hot air balloons. There were many more balloons than I expected, showing how popular this activity has become.Climbing into the balloons was an adventure of its own. Each balloon basket had 4 compartments, each of which could hold 4-5 people. I helped my mom into one, but somehow she ended up with one leg up and the other down in a ballet split! After getting in the balloon, we learned we would have to squat during landing. I felt very glad I have kept up with my yoga practice.Although it was cold outside, the balloon's gas fire kept ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 31, 2009