April 7th Everything went like clockwork for our Delta Airlines flight from New York JFK to Cairo. No
lines and no hassles at JFK. We arrived in Cairo about 45 minutes early.
April 8th The flight from NY to Cairo took about 10 hours and we arrived at 2:30 PM. We were part of a
Lindblad/National Geographic Tour. We met Jane from Minnesota at JFK, and there were a total of 10 tour
participants on the flight. We were met as a group at the airport and were transported to the Four Seasons
at The First Residence.
We had heard many comments about Egypt being dirty and not a very nice place, so we were
pleasantly surprised to arrive at a modern, clean and efficient airport. Getting through customs and
immigrations was a snap. The roads were crowded and traffic often came to a standstill, but there was very
little trash along the roadways. We did drive through some extremely poor areas, but even in those areas
there was very little trash along the roadway. In one area there were horses and horse drawn carts. We
had dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants overlooking the Nile River.
April 9th Our tour did not start until the 10th, so we spent the day relaxing and enjoying the hotel
facilities. The area the hotel is located in was not conducive to strolling the streets, but there was a small
mall as part of the complex with very upscale shops which we looked through, and enjoyed sitting at the
pool for a couple of hours. All of the hotel staff were very friendly and helpful - and spoke English!
April 10th The week was packed full of activities. Many mornings we were up by 4:30 AM to avoid the
crowds. This morning we met as a group (40 of us) and started with an orientation meeting followed by a
visit to the Cairo Museum. The Museum was built in 1901 and is really not designed tor the crowds of
visitors - 15,000 on a typical day. A new museum is under construction and will open in a couple of years.
The highlight of the museum visit was to see King Tut's Death Mask.
The museum visit was followed by lunch in the midst of a crowded bazaar, and then on to a large Mosque.
Driving through the crowded streets of Cairo was an interesting experience, and an opportunity for lots of
photos. The group dinner was that evening at Le Tarbouche restaurant.
April 11th We were up early and had a charter flight to Abu Simbel in the very southernmost part of
Egypt, about 30 miles from the Sudanese border. It was only a short shuttle bus ride to the Abu Simbel
Temples of Ramses The Great and his wife Nefertari. The two temples were originally carved into the side
of the shores of the Nile River, but were relocated several hundred feet to higher ground in order to avoid
becoming submerged when the Aswan Dam was constructed to form Lake Nasser. Here is a link for more
The plane waited for us and we flew back north to Aswan. During the drive from the Aswan Airport to board
the Salacia we crossed the old "lower Aswan Dam" which is still in use for electric power generation.
We were surprised and delighted to find our room on the Salacia river boay was actually a small suite with a
living area and separate bedroom. This would be our home for the next four nights. The river was blue
color and very clear along the shores.
April 12th During the morning we toured the Temple of Philae and the pink granite quarries where a
gigantic obelisk was left unfinished. Aswan was clean with many buildings under construction. We sailed
on a traditional felucca. At noon we were back on the Salacia and started down the Nile, headed for Kom
Ombo. We enjoyed watching all the scenery along the river. The Nile is one of the few rivers in the world
that flows from the south to north. The shore lines are green and there were many trees, pastures and
other agricultural areas we passed by.
The Salacia stopped at the temple of Kom-Ombo, but it looked very crowded so we decided to stay on
board the boat. The Salacia then continued on to Edfu where we docked for the night.
April 13th The Temple of Edfu was our destination this morning. Built between 2378 BC and 578 BC it
was buried by blowing sand for many years and is the best preserved temple in Egypt.
The remainder of the afternoon we sailed down the Nile to Luxor which included the transit through the
lock at Esna. We toured the Luxor Temples at sundown which was really spectacular. After dinner we were
entertained by a so-so belly dancer and an incredible whirling dervish.
April 14th The day started out with a trip to the Valley of the Kings. Unfortunately cameras are
prohibited in this area, so my photos were limited to the outskirts, We did get to see King Tut's tomb which
is very small. He died by the time he was 19, and was not one of the great leaders of Egypt, His fame
results from the fact they found his tomb pretty much intact because it was hidden under the rubble of the
construction of other tombs. The tomb of Ramses VI was huge and very impressive. So far they have
found 65 tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
We also visited the Temple of Deir el Bahary which is the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, an
incredible structure near the Valley of Kings. This is the place that the "Luxor Massacre" occurred in 1997.
After lunch on the Salacia we toured the Luxor Museum which was modern and a real contrast to the Cairo
Museum.. We hope the new Cairo Museum will be as well laid out. Once again photography was not
We decided to pass on the light show at the Karnak Temple. Those that did go were not overly impressed.
April 15th After breakfast we disembarked the Salacia and on the way to the Luxor Airport we stopped
to tour the Karnak Temple. The charter flight back to Cairo was uneventful. We drove across town to the
Mena House Oberoi Hotel which is located in the shadow of the Great Pyramid. This was the first area in
Egypt that was dirty, and we can see why many people who limit their visit to Egypt to the area around the
pyramids react the way they do. Trash was everywhere, apparently because of a strike by the garbage
We attended the Light Show at the Pyramids that evening. I don't know if we were wearing down, but we
were not overly impressed. It was a cool evening and we should have taken a jacket. The show itself
seemed to us to be outdated and melodramatic. We were on our own for dinner, but the Oberoi could not
seem to accommodate all of its guests for dinner, so we ended up having snacks in the cocktail lounge
rather than wait for a table in the restaurant. Several of our group had room service which they said was
prompt and good,
April 16th After breakfast we drove to the ancient area of Memphis where we saw a colossal alabaster
statue of Ramses II and then toured an enormous step Pyramid of Pharaoh Zoser that predates the great
pyramids by 100 years. We could also see the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in the distance. On the way to
the Le Meridien for lunch we stopped at a carpet factory.
After lunch we visited the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx which are among the Seven Wonders of
the Ancient World. It took tens of thousands of workers over 20 years to build the Pyramid of Cheops using
over two million blocks of stone. We also went through a museum containing the Funerary Solar Boat of
We bid our farewells to our guides and to the tour participants not continuing to Jordan after dinner that
night in the Oberoi Hotel.
(Click for link to Photos)
(Hint - There are over 100 photos - easiest way to watch is to click on the slide
show button in the upper right hand corner of the photo gallery page)