Friday, December 31, 2010
The sights, the sounds, the smells. This city of 1,000 minarets is also known affectionately as the city of "beep beep". I've never visited a city with traffic quite like this. The drivers make their own lanes as they weave in and out, between other cars and pedestrians. If there was a sound to the city, this one would have to be beep beep!
Once you look past the pollution and grit of the city there is much beauty to be found. Sailing on a felucca, a single-masted wooden boat, is a charming way to enjoy an afternoon on the Nile river. When the sun goes down Cairo looks beautiful with the colorful lights of the city reflecting off the water. There is much to see and do in Cairo and the surrounding areas. Of course, a visit to the famous Pyramids of Giza is a must. While there, take a camel ride! About an hour drive from Cairo will take you to the ancient cities of Memphis and Sakkara, where you can view the oldest, step pyramid. It is fascinating to see these structures in person and realize that these huge wonders were all built by hand. Take time to visit the Egyptian museum where the Treasures of King Tut are on display. A new state-of-the art museum is under construction and is slated to open in 2012.
There are so many Temples and Tombs to visit all throughout the country. My trip with my family was arranged with our local partner, Egyptian Express. They helped craft a perfect itinerary, which allowed us to see as much as we could in the time we had. We flew to the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt, our starting point for a cruise on the River Nile. I was surprised to find that this city has a population of close to one million people. We enjoyed the Nubian museum and the shopping in the Spice Market. We also had a chance to fly down to Abu Simbel and visit the great Temple of Ramses II.
Our Nile cruise ship was the Amarco II, one of the most luxurious ships on the river. The rooms and baths are very spacious, and free internet was a plus. This is a relaxing and interesting way to explore the area. You can visit a few sights each day while the ship moves slowly northward to Luxor. Once at Luxor, we visited the famous Temples of Karnak. This is the best preserved complex in all of Egypt. We also visited the Valley of the Kings, and actually went down into the tomb of King Tut where all of his treasures were discovered. His mummy lies on display there. During the trip, we were escorted by our Egyptologist guide, Ossama. He took care of every travel detail in addition to sharing as much information and history we could handle. This was a wonderful way to explore Egypt!
Tip: Entry requirements for U.S. citizens are a valid passport and a visa. The visa is easily purchased upon arrival at the Cairo airport for $15.00.
Best time weather-wise to travel is September - April, when it isn't unbearably hot. Do bring a sun hat whenever you go, because there is not much shade when visiting the monuments.
Thinking about traveling to Egypt? Give us a call to plan your next travel adventure!
Bee Kalt Travel 248-288-9600