A brief look at a memorable vacation.
Why brief? Well, in the 15 days we spent in Egypt I took over 200 photographs; there's no way I'm going to subject you to all of them! We travelled from Cairo to the Red Sea, South by train to Aswan, a short flight to Abu Simbel, and by boat down the Nile ("Up" on the map!) to Luxor — to see Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. Then North again, for a day in Alexandria and more time in Cairo. We also did a lot of wandering around, practising our limited Arabic — mostly "La, shoukran!" (No, thank you!) to the persistent tradesmen — and soaking up the atmosphere. With 5,000 years of history to absorb, we covered a lot of ground, most of it hot and dry!
Here are the highlights —
— in the late summer of 2004
Our first day's outing was to the pyramids and sphinx at Giza, my chance to fulfil a personal dream by retaking photos my grandfather took in 1917, using THE SAME CAMERA.
After Cairo, a quick dip in the Red Sea, then into the mountains to the west, to the Coptic Monastery of St.Andrew. Built c.400AD.
Then, a 450 mile train ride south to Aswan, and this breathtaking view from our hotel balcony.
Downtown Aswan, to find an Internet Cafe. Lots of them in Egypt.
Cairo — from the balcony of our Hilton Rameses room. Look closely at the houses on the left: virtually all of them are unfinished — in Egypt this gives them a tax break, and since it hardly ever rains . . . who cares!
We visited a Nubian village. Was he guarding them ... or us?
Abu Simbel. Nothing I say can do it justice.
Looking north towards Aswan from the High Dam.
(Lake Nasser is behind us)
Right: The High Dam Monument.
Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan, where the paintwork is still visible after 3,000 years!
Next on the itinerary: a cruise down the Nile to Luxor, to visit more temples and the Valley of the Kings, where we saw King Tut's (now almost empty) tomb. In the Luxor Museum was a mummy who'd been rescued by an American University from one of those sleazy "museums" in Niagara Falls. What a place to end up spending Eternity!
There's still more to come! To see Alexandria, more sights of Cairo, and a surprise stopover on our way home, please click on CHAPTER 2. If you've already had enough . . . well, you know what to do!
The West Bank — a strip of green, and then . . . the Sahara!
Edfu — midway between Aswan and Luxor
The Luxor Waterfront
Luxor's Temple of Karnak, and its magnificent hypostyle (columned) Hall.
The Valley of the Kings
Left: the Colossi of Memnon. Centre: Tomb entrances, surrounded by heavily armed Tourist Police.
Right: Queen Hatshepsut's Temple. (Where a busload of tourists was attacked several years ago.)