EGYPT—Land of the Pharaohs
When you think about Egypt, you immediately pictured the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the true landmarks of Egypt, sitting in the desert, south of Cairo, the capital. With a little more imagination you may see yourself riding through the desert on the back on a camel (a dromedary to be more accurate).
Let me be your guide for your first visit to Egypt. Of course day one will start with a visit to the South of Cairo to visit the Pyramids of Guizeh and those of Saqqarah. You will enter inside the two biggest Pyramids, Cheops (Khooufou) Pyramid and Kafran Pyramid, go up a multitude of steps, go down again, bend your back and maybe even crawl through narrow openings. While holding your breath in excitement you will reach the burial chamber where Pharaoh was laid to rest for eternity among his many treasures. Unfortunately both Pharaoh and his treasure had been stolen long ago by tombs desecrators. The third Pyramid, Mykerinos is closed.
Next to the Pyramids, you will have a peek at the two recently discovered boats of the after life. They were buried close to the Pyramids.
You can have a delicious lunch at the Pyramids Resthouse while enjoying the view of Cairo high-rises. I will order for you the lamb shish-kabab and let you savor a piece of baklawa and another of konafa for desert. At night we will linger in the area to attend the Sound and Light show, watch and hear Pharaoh and his troupes come back from a battle.
Next day I will take you to the Cairo museum cluttered with more antiquities than any other museum in the world. King Tut (Tout Ankhamon) mummy and treasures are worth visiting even if you have already seen them in New York or during their world tours. And then we will be driving to the fortress of Citadel (the Quala’a) that houses the Mosque of Mohamed Ali the Great. The Mosque hunkers on top of a mountain and offers you a magnificent view of Cairo at your feet.
A whole afternoon is needed to visit the old churches of Cairo. They are among the most beautiful in the world; particularly St. Marc Church in Old Cairo is a real jewel.
We will stroll on the boardwalk along the Nile River and stop at the Meridien Hotel for lunch before heading to the Mouski, the biggest bazaar in the world. I love to buy spices, leathers souvenirs, silver items, gold jewelry, clothes… And I always bargain although the dollar exchange rate is almost six Egyptian pounds.
No one goes to Egypt without flying to Upper Egypt to visit Luxor, Karnak, and their famous Temples, the Valley of the Kings, and the smaller Valley of the Queens, (a series of tombs that are richly decorated with colored hieroglyphs), the Alley of the Sphinxes, the Temple of Hatchepsout, the colossal statues of Ramses the Second. I went to Upper Egypt with my class when I was a senior in high school. We spent five days but I am still dreaming of cruising along the Nile River from Cairo to Luxor. Transportation in Upper Egypt includes riding on a donkey, cruising in a felucca, and of course the local taxis that completely ignore traffic regulations and make their own rules.
Back from Upper Egypt, I will join you for a few days of relaxation in Hirdagua on the Red Sea. We will squeeze in a small submarine to admire the incredible corals and flora of the Red Sea, and then we will ride on a donkey to climb Mount St. Catherine and pay a visit to the monks who live there. We will taste their delicious wine, give them a donation and ask them to pray for us.
No visit of Egypt is complete without a stop in Alexandria the city where I grew up. I will show you the bath of Cleopatra and we will tan and relax on the golden sands of the Mediterranean beaches. Of course, I will take you to have a five o’clock tea at Delice, the famous pastry shop, to savor the most delicious Napoleons and cream puffs in the world.
When are you joining me for the Nile Cruise of my dreams?
Mona Risk www.monarisk.com