Wednesday, April 7, 2010


For the Easter holidays this year, we wanted to go someplace warm, relatively cheap, and preferably not all too Catholic (so that the holidays wouldn't interfere with the vacation). So when we found a good fare to Cairo, we took advantage. It would also be my birthday, so we'd be celebrating in Egypt.
In the end, we spent a week traveling through the country (that's the absolute minimum of time, in my opinion), stopping in Luxor, Aswan as well as Cairo. Luxor surely had the most monuments: as the site of ancient Thebes, there were many temples, including the famous Luxor, Karnak, and Hatshepsut temples, as well as pharaonic tombs in the Valley of the Kings, among others. In Aswan, we visited Philae temple as well as the old quarries, took a felucca ride on the Nile and took a quick trip to Abu Simbel on the morning of my birthday. Finally, we took in the crazy and crowded city of Cairo in two days, seeing the Egyptian museum and the Islamic monuments of the old town, as well as seeing a multitude of pyramids -- the famous ones at Giza of course, but also the older ones at Saqqara and Dahshur. In Dahshur, we even got to climb down into the Red Pyramid, which was an Indiana Jones style adventure, and ensured that our legs were sore for a few days afterwards.
All in all we had a great time, even if traveling in Egypt can be frustrating at times: as a tourist, you're of course prey for all the touts trying to sell you camel rides, felucca rides, taxis, and any kind of souvenir. Then there's the haggling, which is necessary for almost anything -- certainly for taxis and at the souq. In Cairo, we were tired enough of this that we specifically sought out metered taxis, and a fixed-price fair trade shop, and I'm convinced that we saved money in this way. Finally, there are constant demands for baksheesh from most anyone, and I'm sure there are a few corners of the monuments that we avoided seeing because there was a guard there who we were sure would try to point out some obvious things ("face... cow...") and then ask for some baksheesh. Nevertheless, the beauty of the country and its sights more than balance out these inconveniences, and we're happy to have had the opportunity of going there.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Fabulous photos--as always! Thanks for sharing them with everyone.