Egypt in the eyes of a history connoisseur (Part 3 of 3)

Updated: Aug 9

If you are like me, fond and fascinated by the ancient Egyptian civilization, its relics, mysteries and knowledge we are still deciphering, then the article below will be of value to you.


You are about to embark on an adventure to the magic Egypt.


In a series of 3 articles I articulate an itinerary that my friends, my family and I have been using in order to discover ancient Egypt for the first time.


This specific journey is focused on a deep dive into Ancient Egyptian civilization with route including (Cairo -) Luxor - Aswan - Cairo, mode of transport: air, river cruise, and sometimes a horse carriage.




The Nile Cruise

For those like me who has never experienced a cruise before - a marvelous experience. As the cruise ship sails slowly you can enjoy serenity of the Nile either from the outdoor terrace of your suit or from the upper deck.



Edfu was next stop after our cruise ship departed from Luxor. Edfu is tiny town with a grand temple. We were greeted by our Edfu guide and taken by a horse carriage to the Temple of Horus, son of god Osiris and Isis. Upon an-hour tour we were escorted back to the cruise - to sail to our next destination, Kom Ombo.




The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique being dedicated simultaneously to the two gods - Sobek, the crocodile god and Horus. Another knowledgeable guide walked us through the temple, introduce to its legends.



Aswan


The next day we finally arrived to Aswan, probably known to the most adults by the Aswan High Dam, one of the biggest enterprises of the president Naser in 1970.


There was an option to stay on the cruise ship and explore Aswan from it. However I would highly recommend to experience the Old Cataract Hotel. Interestingly one of the first guests back 1899 when the hotel opened its doors to public was Winston Churchill, back that time in a capacity as a British journalist. Today the hotel's Golden Book includes names of Tsar Nicholas II, Howard Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Princess Diana.



The Old Cataract being built approximately at the same time as the Old Winter Palace has a very different ambiance and character. We also explored the Nile using a Felucca boat and visited Aswan Botanic Garden situated on the Kitchener's Island.




Visiting Temple of Philae, dedicated to one of the most influential goddesses we have known - Isis - is a special experience. The cult of Isis spread across Europe during the Roman time, there are temples dedicated to her in Italy and Greece.


For the Temple of Philae - one can get here only by using a boat. Important fact to know that a large number of temples in the upper Nile were destined to perish with the construction of the Aswan Dam and only due to enormous effort of UNESCO and the global community it was possible to relocate the temples to safety.




After exploring and enjoying Aswan we took a flight back home with a short layover in Cairo.


 

Recommended itinerary


Based on my experience I would recommend two alternative options of how you could explore Egypt. Option 1 with includes time in Cairo, Option 2 provides opportunity to be part of Serenity retreat in Luxor


At Pyramids

Serenity in Luxor

Day 1 Arriving to Cairo or Giza

Day 1 Flight to Luxor

Day 2-3 Exploring Pyramids and Museums

Day 4 Flight Cairo - Luxor

Day 7-8 Night at Winter Palace

Day 5-8 Exploring Luxor

Day 9 Boarding on the Nile Cruise

Day 9 Boarding on the Nile Cruise

Day 10-12 Sailing to Aswan

Day 10-12 Sailing to Aswan

Day 13-14 Exploring Aswan

Day 13-14 Exploring Aswan


 

General recommendations when traveling to Egypt


More travel information you could certainly source from the dedicated pages of your home country Ministry of Foreign Affairs / your Embassy in Cairo:

  • Egyptian currency is Egyptian Pound. While credit cards - VISA, MasterCard - works just perfectly fine across the country it is always recommended to have some small bills for tipping and minor purchases. For some of the antique works I collect, including books, paintings and silver items I sometimes pay in US dollars as well.

  • When you arrive to Cairo airport you will need to purchase a visa (always check in advance if you need to do any applications before arriving to the country). You can do this in one of the bank kiosks located next to the immigration area. The visa on arrival fee as of today (June 2021) is USD 25. You will need to pay cash - in USD or Egyptian Pounds. If you pay in USD and require change - it will be given to you in local currency.

  • Traffic is hectic and you might encounter some traffic jams commuting in Cairo and between Cairo and Giza - plan ahead.

  • I always use Uber when in Cairo, preferably the Comfort one as the service is more professional, with cleaner cars.




Next to read:


  • Serenity Retreat, Luxor (October 2022) - Full Program

  • Egypt in the eyes of a history connoisseur (Part 1 of 3) - Cairo & Giza

  • Egypt in the eyes of a history connoisseur (Part 2 of 3) - Luxor



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