CAIRO & GIZA: Our trip to Egypt was both spectacular and disappointing at the same time. While we marveled at the fantastic history and larger than life pyramids and structures, we found Cairo to be disappointing and we were constantly hammered by everyone for tips, including the night guard at the hotel. Many times we had locals trying to rip us off with their “own tours”. One guy told us we could not see the pyramids unless we used his tour with his camels. His famous line was “You can’t walk to the see the pyramids – it is the desert!” Well this part of the desert is well paved and easy to walk around. We stayed in Cairo, Luxor and Abu Simbal to the South.
We took a taxi from central Cairo to the pyramids and sphinx. We got tickets and walked in. It was so foggy, we could barely see the sphinx and could not see the pyramids (1st picture above). We literally wondered where they were. After about an hour, the fog lifted and we were amazed that they were in front of our faces! We walked all over the place. This place is so awe inspiring for the size of the pyramids. We got tickets to go inside one of the large pyramids. It truly is amazing. The downside to this place is 1: It smells like camel dung everywhere; 2) The camel guys hound you to ride their smelly camels; 3) Going inside some of the smaller pyramids the guard asked us for tips as we walked through. If you ever go, be prepared to say no and ignore them.
ABU SIMBAL: Our next stop in Egypt was a night in Abu Simbel. Looking at the map above, Abu Simbel is in far south near the boarder of Sudan. We flew into the local airport, spent a couple hours at the historical site and then called it a day. Not much else around. We stayed the night and flew to Luxor the day.
The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. Abu Simbel remains one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
LUXOR: Our last stay was in Luxor. We stayed at a nice boutique type hotel on the west bank of the Nile river. The room was nice and they had great food on the 4th floor roof top. We were there for New Years Eve. They had a special dinner for all guest that included local Egyptian music (ummm, not my type of music), a snake charmer (who scared the crap out of some lady who was deathly afraid of them) and they lit some candles inside of these paper balloons that floated up into the night sky.
We went to the great temple of Karnak. The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is believed to be the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It consists of four main parts (precincts), of which only the largest, the Precinct of Amun-Re, currently is open to the general public.
The last few pictures above are from the Valley of the Kings. Some of these pictures are from the web because they forbid cameras in the Valley. They literally go through your bags. You can’t even take a camera in the area to take pictures outside! They use to have camera passes for extra but they didn’t when we were there. They really want you to buy their photo books. You have to buy passes to go into the tombs. It is well worth the money to visit as many as you can, especially Ramses VI and Tutankhamen tombs.
BIG EVENT: When midnight came and they started to light the paper balloons, I asked Marcy to go back up to the 4th floor so that we can over look the city and the west bank of the Nile river. I asked Marcy if she loved me. She said yes she does… Then I asked her “Do you really love me?” She was about to say yes when I got down on one knee and proposed to her. She was absolutely surprised and excited. Of course she said yes! I thought there was no better place than to propose to the woman I love so much than on one of our fantastic trips. Unbeknownst to Marcy, I had been carrying that engagement ring in my back pack for the previous 9 days – and I was nervous as hell that some security guard would open it up in front of her (there was security and bag inspections almost everywhere we went in Egypt). It was the best New Year’s I have ever had.