Monday, April 9, 2012

King and Queen on a budget

The temple of Queen Hatshepsut
Considering that most prices in Egypt are comparable to Australia we are being treated like Kings and Queens for pennies. Because of the unrest in Egypt and the military currently running the country after the overthrow of Mubarek their tourist numbers have plummeted. Consequently there are some fantastic deals. We were on an 11 day Wonders of Egypt package that cost $3500 total for the 2 of us. That has put us in amazing 5 star hotels with pools on the roof with panoramic views. Included breakfasts that have to be seen to be believed. A 4 day Nile cruise with all meals included. Our own personal driver and guide for seeing the pyramids, temples all along the Nile, valley of the kings and the valley of the queens and much much more.

Khan El-Khalili bazaar
Cairo for us was too full on, as people who prefer to be surrounded by nature and have a dislike of nick nacks and bargaining we were overwhelmed. But if you like that kind of thing then you will get your fill here. The pyramids of course were amazing and not to be missed but we were more in our element when on the cruise and visiting the temples and tombs in Luxor, Edfu and Aswan. We were surprised at the size of the rooms having never had a cruise before, bigger than some hotels in South America and the attention and attitude of the staff was superb. Nothing forces you to relax more than a cruise, you have nowhere else to go.

Karnak Temple
The tombs in the valley of the kings were amazing, no pictures as you were not even allowed to take in a camera, long deep precise tunnels under the mountains themselves to the tombs with every inch of wall and roof covered in coloured hieroglyphs and representations of the gods. Another surprise was the size, you could stand up straight easily, everything done by these guys was on huge scales, and thousands of years ago. Similarly the temples such as the Luxor temple were huuuge, you feel tiny and can see how intimidated anyone who came here would be. The final day in Aswan finished with a sailing boat ride and a belly dancing show that night. They liked to pull up audience members as part of their show, so as the performer Elizabeth is she spent more time as part of the show than watching it.

Alexandria from the hotel room
Then off to Alexandria where we were told not to cross the road on your own. Crossing the road is considered a national sport and we were told to ask the hotel staff to get us across the street if we needed. We actually crossed on our own and were then called locals (or was it loco). Traffic was still insane but the lifestyle here was definitely more relaxed. The Alexandria museum was brilliant with a different floor for every major different period covering 5000 years of history, and we finished off our trip to this troubled country at El Alamein and the war cemetery which had a special monument for the Australian forces that died here.
Lest we forget

150 year old graffiti

Umm what can I say? Elizabeth likes cats.

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