Less than four and a half hours took me from London Heathrow over the snowy Alps of Europe to land in the delicious warmth of Cairo and my luxury hotel for the next three nights, the Mena House Oberoi. A short transfer later and I had shed my coat – and thoughts of winter – in the balmy evening air of Cairo.
Drawing back the curtains the following morning I was rewarded with my first stunning views of the world-famous pyramids. More treats were to follow at Giza and the lesser-known sites of Sakkara and Dahshour. I had expected to be amazed by these wondrous pyramids, but nothing can prepare you for the sheer size, scale and construction – let alone their ancient history. My incredibly knowledgeable guide Omar brought tales of the past to life so vividly – and history buzzing back to life!
With totally clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-20s, I am wishing I had brought more summer clothes – what bliss!
After an early start this morning I took the short flight from Cairo arriving just under an hour later in Hurghada – and the Red Sea! The nearby Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh is a “suite” only hotel, with immaculate service and wonderfully luxurious surroundings. I may not have time to swim or snorkel, but at least I have pool very nearby!
After an absolutely delicious dinner cooked by their resident Indian chef, it was time to leave just before dawn the following morning after an all too brief stay at the Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh. Looking back towards the Red Sea as the sun rose, the colours were just spectacular – truly magical. We began our drive through the Desert Mountains towards Luxor.
Some four hours later we reached Luxor – and the hustle and bustle of donkeys pulling carts laden with fresh fruit and vegetables, bikes,
motorbikes and vehicles of every description laden with people – so full you could not count – and vendors selling anything you could want from the side of the road – or even on the road! Delightful chaos and quite a change from the peace and tranquillity of Hurghada! You need sharp eyes not to run something – or someone – over. Luxor and Aswan being the two main departure points for Nile cruises, this was my chance to visit as many different vessels as I could before joining a cruise myself, and it was fascinating!
Now on board the Sanctuary MS Nile Adventurer I am making new friends and getting used to this amazing adventure!
A Nile cruiser. What a fantastic experience! The vessel is furnished and equipped to the highest possible standard with immaculate service from friendly and attentive staff – who seem to know what you want before you do! How do they manage this I wonder?
We have also been sightseeing at Karnak and Luxor Temple with our own Egyptologist, whose incredibly knowledge has made these historic visits fascinating – and brought Egyptian history to life again.
On board the M/S Nile Adventurer the day is divided between sightseeing, enjoying the sun deck and pool and absorbing the scenery whilst we cruise gently past.
We start the day with an incredible breakfast buffet with fresh fruits of every description beautifully peeled and chopped, a wide variety of breads and rolls freshly made for us, as well as yoghurts, me usli, porridge and a selection of hot dishes such as eggs, bacon and sausages. Coffee’s, tea’s and freshly squeezed fruit juices are also there to awaken the taste buds – as are a selection of cheeses for anyone still hungry!
The sun deck is also a constantly changing and delightful source of colour and amusement as we watch local life unfold on the banks of the Nile. It pays to have your camera ready at all times!
Sometimes transport is arranged to take us all to major sites such as the Valley of the Kings – sometimes it is possible to walk to sites such as we did to Esna Temple earlier today. Either way meeting local people and also hawkers, desperate to get your attention and sell you something is inevitable. If taken in good part they will probably make you smile. Yesterday I met “Bob Marley”. In fact “Mohamed Ali” was also there! A few of us bought “bargains” and were delighted; others in the group were not interested. Insha Allah.
Today is another absolutely perfect day with the temperature about 26 degrees – which means we will be having a barbeque lunch on deck whilst cruising on to Edfu. There we will explore the largest and most completely preserved temple – the extraordinary Temple of Horus.
Back on board there will be another fabulous gourmet dinner this evening, followed by dancing. Tomorrow we continue our journey south towards Aswan.
“Oh, to be in England…………………” I think not.
For more information about Belinda’s trip to Egypt or for further advice about planning a holiday to Egypt.