Egypt – Land of magic and beauty

20170324 - Eye of Horus

I have just returned from a trip to Egypt that I’d like to share with you. I don’t think I can fit everything into one post simply because there was such much to the journey and I don’t want to put you to sleep. So I’m going to simply share my favourite spots and perhaps come back to add to it another time.

I had decided that I needed to do something to really challenge me and get me out of my comfort zone. I’ve always felt that I would like to go to Egypt and a friend recommended a company, Guiding Hands Tours, http://guidinghandtours.com/ , led by the wonderful Ber O’Mahony, who organises spiritual tours to various places.  It just so happened that Ber was planning a trip to Egypt to visit various temples and sacred sites at the same time as my birthday – so it was obviously meant to be.

We arrived very late at night and as we drove through Cairo I was amazed at the busyness of the place. Over 80 million people live in the city and the markets were still going strong in the early hours of the morning.  Cars, bikes and horses were honking and beeping and weaving in and out of each other – it was bedlam but fun.

While in Cairo we visited the Great Pyramid of Giza, where we had a special permit that allowed us to enter inside and to climb up and visit the King and the Queen’s chamber. We also went to Sheikh Abdull Perfume Palace, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheikh-Abdull-Perfume-Palace/606740936059668), where I spent a fortune on oils, in particular a set of the seven sacred oils of Egypt. If you like pure essential oils, or are an aroma therapist, then I could not recommend this place enough. We met the wonderful Gamel Abdel Sami Zaki, a master of knowledge and wisdom and happily sat and shared it all with us.

We flew on to Luxor where we took a water taxi to the West Bank to stay in the El Gazira Garden Hotel, http://www.el-gezira.com/?hotel=gezira-garden.

20170321 - hotel Luxor 2

The hotel was lovely and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. It was much quieter and more relaxed where we were staying and not as busy as the modern part of Luxor but it felt like we were staying in the real Egypt and not just a hotel chain.  We could take a walk to the shops and stop and have a chat with the local people.

While here we visited the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Luxor temples as well as some other smaller sites. Luxor temple at night is just stunning and the temple of Dendara, dedicated to the Goddess Hathor was stunningly beautiful too.

20170323 - Karnak

One of the loveliest parts of this trip was getting to meet the friendly Egyptian people. We were invited to eat lunch by one of the tour guides in his village with a meal prepared by his wife and mother.  It was lovely to share this experience with him and his family and friends.

For the next part of the trip we moved to a cruise ship and spent four days travelling down the Nile, stopping off at different points to visit temples and sacred sites. My favourite on this leg of the trip was Kom Ombo. Originally a temple dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek, I think the crocodile is one of the most amazing creatures and was delighted to be able to visit the small museum which houses the mummified crocodiles found in the temple.

The cruise was very nice, much better than I thought it was going to be. It was so peaceful to be sailing along the Nile (I had to keep reminding myself of that bit!) but I really missed our little hotel in Luxor.

Our last stop was in Aswan, where we left the ship and stayed at the Basma Hotel, http://basmahotel.com/wordpress2/.  Another lovely hotel decorated with the most gorgeous art work.  It had stunning views and was so relaxed and chilled. We had the opportunity to have dinner at a Nubian village, which was another lovely experience, and also to visit Philae Island.

Finally we travelled back to Cairo and on our last day went to visit the Cairo Museum, http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/MUS_Egyptian_Museum.htm, where we were able to see Tutankhamun’s burial goods as well as other grave goods, mummies and artwork of ancient Egypt.

The trip was busy, busy, busy with lots of very early mornings to get to places before the heat becomes too much. In hindsight I think I might have made the decision to stay back at the hotel for one or two of the trips.  An itinerary is a guide, set up to get the maximum out of a trip. And as a guide it is there for the visitor to decide if they need to do it all or not. Next time I go away I think I might be more discerning and make sure that I have some rest time as well.

This post is just a taster of my favourite sites. We saw so many more.  At the same time we only scratched the surface of what is there.  Having just got back I saw an article saying that more tombs and artifacts have been found in Luxor.

So that’s it for now, I hope you enjoyed this whistle stop tour of my holiday. If you are looking for a really special trip or have ever felt that you would like to see this magical and beautiful place then I cannot recommend it enough as a destination.

20170321 - El Gazira Garden Hotel Luxor

 

 

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