Day 1: FRIDAY, 2/26/10: NEW YORK
We were scheduled to fly out of JFK on EgyptAir at 6:30 PM, arriving in Cairo the following day at 12:15 PM Cairo time. Unfortunately, New York had just been hit by the biggest storm of the season with more than 16 inches of snow falling in Manhattan and we were uncertain whether we’d be able to get out at all. The airports remained open but hundreds of flights had been canceled or delayed. As it turned out, we were extraordinarily lucky: our flight not only was not canceled but it took off on time and actually arrived in
Day 2: SATURDAY, 2/27/10: CAIRO
We had arranged our entire trip through Homeric Tours which prides itself on providing a quality of services equivalent to that of Abercrombie & Kent, but without charging Abercrombie & Kent's premium prices and, based on our experiences on this trip, they succeed in doing so. Nour, Homeric Tours’ Cairo representative, met us at the
The Ramses Hilton is a large modern four star hotel located directly across the street from the Hilton shopping mall. It has adequate but not outstanding dining facilities but there were a number of restaurants in the mall that represented attractive dining alternatives. In any event, the hotel was more than satisfactory for our needs since we planned to spend very little time in the hotel itself.
Since the hotel was within walking distance of the
A couple of hours later, we wended our way back to the hotel where we grabbed a bite at the Garden Café in the hotel, returned to our room and awaited Nour's return.. Around , Nour picked us up at the hotel and transported us by private car to the Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids. The show was a bit hokey but some views of the pyramids lit up at night were truly impressive. After the show, Nour brought us back to our hotel.
We were exhausted and our bodies didn’t know whether it was time for breakfast, lunch or dinner so we just ate a couple of candy bars from the mini-bar and crashed.
Day 3: SUNDAY, 2/28/10: CAIRO/LUXOR
The flight from Cairo to Luxor was uneventful (which is just the way we like our flights to be) and we arrived in
While we were settling into our room, our
We had dinner at the hotel and sacked out.
Day 4: MONDAY, 3/1/10: LUXOR
(Interestingly, Ahmed 2 was but one of our several guides who made a point of insisting to us that no slave labor had been involved in the building of the pyramids and that the pyramids had been constructed entirely by skilled Egyptian workers who had been well paid for their labors. We were quite surprised by this contention since Muslims believe not only in the Koran but also in the Old and New Testaments. They consider Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus to have been prophets who preceded Mohammed and we found it difficult to understand how they could square their belief in the story of Exodus [in which the Jews were slaves in Egypt in the time of the pharaohs until they were rescued by Moses] with their denial of slave labor being used in the building of the pyramids. And yet while the Egyptians we met reluctantly did admit that the Jews may have been "mistreated" [one of our guides' actual words!] or perhaps even enslaved in the time of the pharaohs, they refused to admit that their slave labor was utilized in the building of the pyramids.)
But back to Dendarah Dendarah is reputed to be one of the best preserved ruins, if not the best, in all of
And so to bed.
Day 5: TUESDAY, 3/2/10: LUXOR/NILE CRUISE
Following breakfast at the hotel, we checked out and were met in the lobby by Ahmed 1 who transported us by private car to our cruise ship, the Movenpick Radamis 2, where we were settled into our cabin for our four-nights
We were served a large buffet lunch on board the ship and, following lunch, we were escorted off the ship by Hamouda, our English-speaking Egyptologist/tour guide, together with a group of about 20 other English-speaking passengers, for guided tours of the Temples of Karnak and the
The tours from the ship were the only group (i.e. non-private) tours we engaged in but the ship’s guide, Hamouda, was wonderful and we were not disappointed. The Temples of Karnak were overwhelming and were my favorite site visited on our entire
We returned to the ship for a buffet dinner on board and remained overnight on board the ship in
Day 6: WEDNESDAY, 3/3/10: NILE CRUISE
Following breakfast on board, we were again escorted off the ship by Hamouda, this time for guided tours of the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El Deir El-Bahari and the Colossi Memnon statues, all on the West Bank.
We were returned to the ship by , at which time the ship began to sail to Edfu. While sailing to Edfu, we had lunch on board and then drifted up to the top deck where we had afternoon tea. We had dinner on board and remained overnight on board in Edfu.
Day 7: THURSDAY, 3/4/10: NILE CRUISE
After breakfast on board, Hamouda escorted us to visit the
Day 8: FRIDAY, 3/5/10: NILE CRUISE
Following breakfast on board, we visited the
We slept overnight on our ship in
Following our last breakfast on board, we checked out and were met on board the ship by Mayada, the next in the series of excellent private guides provided to us by Homeric Tours. It was Mayada who would escort us to
We drove with Mayada to the
We flew to
Following our tour of the
When we arrived in the
Day 10; SUNDAY, 3/7/10: CAIRO/MEMPHIS
After breakfast, Nour arrived to introduce us to our guide for the day, a very competent and personable woman named Iman. We began our tour by driving with her to
Day 11: MONDAY, 3/8/10: CAIRO/ALEXANDRIA
Nour arrived after breakfast to introduce us to one of his associates who accompanied us by private car to
We were taken to an excellent Egyptian lunch at the Fish Market restaurant overlooking the
Day 12: TUESDAY, 3/9/10: CAIRO/NEW YORK
After breakfast, we were picked up by Nour at our hotel and driven to the airport for our return flight to