|View from our hotel room in|
|Pyramid of Khafre|
It must be noted that Indian citizens need a visa in advance for Egypt, except if they're residents of GCC countries with visas valid for at least 6 months, or if they're travelling as a part of a tourist group of more than 10 people with a guide, they can get visa on arrival. Though, with the administrative mess and the language barrier than exists in Egypt, I'm not really sure if the latter really works.
|Panoramic view of the pyramids|
Our hotel had panoramic views, and in our opinion the best views, of the pyramids. We hit the hay soon after, as it had been a long day of travel.
Day 1 (Giza): For our first and only full day in Cairo, we had booked a 2 day package via a local tour operator, Emo Tours. Around 7:30 am local time, we were picked up by our guide Mohammed, and his driver Arafa.
|Step pyramid at Saqqara|
|Funerary temple of Djoser at Saqqara|
|Roofed colonnade corridor|
leading into the complex
|Bent Pyramid of Dashur|
After that we were taken to a panoramic viewpoint of the pyramids, where you can see all of the 3 majors pyramids in a one close view.
Our next stop was Saqqara and Dahshur , a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis.
What is unique about visiting Dahshur is that you won't find the crowds of Giza.
the red pyramid
Djoser's funerary complex, built by the royal architect Imhotep, further comprises a large number of dummy buildings and a secondary mastaba (the so-called 'Southern Tomb').
Our next stop was the the Red Pyramid, also called the North Pyramid, is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis in Cairo, Egypt. Named for the rusty reddish hue of its red limestone stones, it is also the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafra at Giza.
|Statues of Ramasis II in Memphis|
|Pyramid light show|
Our final stop of the day was the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. Within the museum in Memphis is a giant statue of the Ramasis II carved of monumental limestone, about 10 meters in length, which was discovered in 1820.
|Inside Mosque of Muhammad Ali|
Our first stop was the Cairo citadel.
The Citadel was fortified by the Kurdish ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) between 1176 and 1183 AD, to protect it from the Crusaders. However, most people visit the citadel to see the the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848, this spectacular mosque was built to rival the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. It is also known as the Alabastr Mosque as the lower storey and the forecourt are tiled with alabaster.
You can also get a view of the Mosque Madrassa, from the citadel and also a panoramic view of the Cairo city.
Our final stop of the day was to the Egyptian museum, which is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. Built in 1901 it is one of the largest museums in the region.
Afternoon, we took the flight from Cairo to Luxor, from where were about start our cruise further south of Egypt to Aswan.
Day 3 (Luxor)
Our first day in Luxor started with breakfast at our hotel. The owner had specially asked the cook eggs and other stuff for breakfast, as we were the only guests staying there, at that point.
|Hot air balloon being prepped|
|Karnak temple view from the hot air|
The temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day.
After our tours of the temple complex, we were guided to our Nile cruise and our room for the next 4 nights. The cruise ship functions as a floating hotel for the first couple of days and then sails from Luxor to Aswan via Edfu for the next 2 days.
|Colossi of Memnon|
The hot air balloon process was very interesting, and I had frankly never thought about the effort, and the science that goes into the flight.
The views of the Nile and the Valley more than made up for it.
|Valley of the kings|
This was followed by a visit to the valley of the kings and the temple of Hatshepsut.
The valley of the kings is famous for it's tombs made over a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
|The walkway around the Edfu temple|
The boat set sail on the previous day after our trip from the valley of the kings in Luxor and crossed made it's way to to Edfu, which is about half way between Luxor and Aswan, sometime around midnight.
|The 365 day calendar|
Edfu was one of several temples built during the Ptolemaic Kingdom, completed around 57 BC. The Temple is still very much intact and definitely one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in all of Egypt.
After about an hour at the temple we set sail to our next destination the Kom Ombo temple. Kom Ombo's Pylon originally had two gateways, but the left-hand half has completely disappeared, and only the lower parts of the central pillar and the right wing survive.
|Random shots from the cruise|
along the Nile
|Kom Obmo Temple|
As the afternoon heat got unbearable, we headed to our boat for the day.
Day 6 (Aswan)
Our last day of the cruise was a rough one for me as I had an upset stomach from the food on the cruise. So I rested most of the day in the room. My wife however did go an early morning tour of the high dam in Aswan and the Phile temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis. Below are some of her shots from that day.
|The temple of Isis|
Symbol of friendship
Day 7 (Aswan to Cairo)
Our last day was our flight back to Cairo and then to our home base of Toronto. We took the afternoon flight from Aswan as we did not want to chance our luck with a connecting international flight booked separately. We booked an Airbnb for our 10 hour layover in Cairo as we wanted to rest some before our long flight back. Our host was super cool and even made us sandwiches on arrival as it was Ramadan and most restaurants were closed. Evening, she even invited us to Iftar dinner with her sons and their families.
This brought to end our 2 weeks in Jordan and Egypt. With history that dates back at least 5000 years, if not more, it should be a must on every person's travel bucket list, at some point in their life.
What businesses did we use?
Tours: 2 day Cairo by Emo tours
Hotels: http://www.pyramidsviewinn.com/ and Rezeiky Camp
Cruise: Imperial Egypt