Roger recently travelled with us to Egypt and was kind enough to write a blog piece for us. Take a look at Roger’s photos here. Enjoy!
I originally scheduled my Egypt trip for January 29th. I wanted to celebrate my 40thbirthday on this trip, but I had to cancel due to the protests. I considered other places (Spain, Turkey, Germany) to visit. However, I decided to wait and reschedule because no other place would satisfy my appetite like Egypt.
Once the people’s demands were met and the travel bans were lifted, I booked the 9-day King Tutankhamen trip and prepared for a lifetime trip. Shortly after my arrival into Cairo, I departed for the resort. The Cairo sights amazed me as 24 million inhabitants resume normal lives despite their historical transition less than a month ago. I arrived at the beautiful Oasis Hotel resort in Cairo and enjoyed a nice dinner at their restaurant for my first night.
The next day began early when we met in the hotel lobby to meet our tour guide, Sharif. After his introduction, we travelled to the pyramids of Giza as he told us their history. The site was incredible and the vendors were ecstatic to see tourists again, eagerly greeting us with various products. There are over 130 pyramids that have been discovered so far in Egypt. We visited the most famous ones in Giza, built for the Egyptian Pharaohs Khufu and Khafre. To further enrich the experience, we paid for a half-hour camel ride. The most intimidating part of the ride is when the camel stands. Unlike a horse, the camel must lay down in order to get on it. First they stand up the back legs then their front ones, so you must hold on tightly. Once the ride concluded, we visited the Sphinx nearby and grabbed some photos. We ended the day with a visit to a papyrus shop. The presentation and the artwork were so impressive, I left with three items. Finally, we returned to our hotel to prepare for the overnight trip to Aswan.
Shortly after our arrival in Aswan, we took a short ride to our cruise ship. The spacious room with a balcony to view the Nile was beautiful. After a brief lunch with our new guide and fellow tourists, we visited the High Dam. Next, we headed to Philae Temple, which is situated on an island. We toured the temple for an hour and a half, made our way back to Aswan and went shopping in the local market. Our first night on the ship, we enjoyed dinner and watched the Nubian musicians and dancers perform.
The next morning, we gathered for a quick breakfast and caught a flight to Abu Simbel, an enormous temple carved out of rock by King Ramses II. The temple’s story is amazing, having been moved piece by piece from its original location to make way for the modern man-made Lake Nasser. Later that evening, we set sailed to the Temple of Kom Ombo. As the cruise ship reached the location, we saw the beautiful temple aglow in the night sky. Only a short walk away, we toured the temple with Mohamed, and grabbed some beautiful night-time photos.
We meet at 6:00 AM for a trip to the Temple of Horus. After leaving the ship, several carriages were waiting to take us to the temple. We were the first tourists at the site and we enjoyed unobstructed views of the hieroglyphics. As we departed the temple, streets were bustling with tourist groups heading to the temple. Good timing! We spent the remainder of the day aboard the ship. I took my iPod and enjoyed the day on the sun deck. After dinner, we watched the belly dancer and other entertainment.
We checked out of the cruise ship, reunited with the Felucca group and checked into our Luxor hotel. It was a beautiful facility located on the Nile banks. Some of us toured the area capturing photos and enjoying the local dining. Our tour guide, Sharif, made reservations at a local restaurant and we enjoyed delicious Egyptian food.
We gathered in the lobby approximately an hour and a half prior to sunrise. With a boxed lunch, we boarded a small boat and headed across the Nile. After a short ride in a van, we arrived in an open field where several crew times were inflating the hot air balloons. The guide led us to our balloon basket and within a few minutes, the ground left us. Unlike the dramatic departure of a jet plane generating air to lift it, the engineless balloon drifted into the air with ease. For the next 45 minutes, we ascended to 2,500 feet overlooking the Nile and the surrounding countryside including Queen Hatshepsut’s temple and the Valley of the Kings.
Later that day, we visited the Temple of Karnak. This impressive temple featured elaborate columns and statues more impressive than any other we visited. The Egyptians ability to create such temples with precision and without modern-day machinery is amazing. Some group members headed to Dahab, so we grabbed a group photo and those who remained later boarded a train to Cairo.
This is the last full day of my trip. We arrived at the Giza train station and returned to the Oasis Hotel. After checking in and taking a hot shower, we opted to visit the fascinating Cairo Museum. Afterwards, we made our way to the Cairo market. With a population exceeding 24 million, Cairo possesses many shopping locales. We visited an area dedicated to tourists and the local population. We ended the day at a fast food restaurant. After returning to the hotel, our remaining group reminisced over the past week’s events. Later, I packed up for my next day’s flight. The next day I departed for the hotel, arrived safely in London where my friend took me home thus concluding my last, yet memorable, trip while in England.
Roger S. Moore, Jr.