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Trip Report Egypt Trip Report - booking/traveling independently

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Just finished a wonderful 2 week trip to Egypt which we booked independently using a local Egyptian guide who was recommended on this site (and others). His name is Ahmed Hamed Yousif (ahmedhayo@yahoo.com) - more about how I did that later in this post - first our itinerary...

Days 1-4 - Cairo - stayed at Mena House in a Pyramid View Room - absolutely loved Mena House. In the great "Mena House versus Downtown Cairo debate" we come down clearly on the side of Mena House assuming you have a Pyramid View room. For years I had wanted to see the Great Pyramid so seeing it every waking minute from my room was wonderful. Some don't like Mena House because of isolation during the evening but our days were very full and we tended to eat a big breakfast (great breakfast buffet) and late lunch with Ahmed so we were happy to relax with a drink and do our pictures whilst gazing at the Great Pyramid.

There has been a lot of discussion about the state of the renovations at Mena House (some started by me) - right now there is one major wing completely closed for renovation and covered in tarps - that wing probably has the best pyramid views. We were in a room in the wing next to it (#134) which was completely renovated and had a full view of the Great Pyramid. We weren't disturbed at all by construction noise and the pool was open (but it was too bloody cold to swim!)

Day trips -

Day 1 - Egyptian Museum/Giza - Ahmed suggested starting at the Museum at 9am and then going to Giza - the order was contrary to many recommendations I had read but he's the expert I figured. We went directly upstairs to the Tut exhibit, and approached it in a different way (a hallmark of Ahmed's we came to learn - avoid crowds - zig when others zag). We had seen the touring Tut exhibit years ago in Toronto and thought we had seen it all (for the most part) - boy were we wrong.....the pieces are stunning, particularly given how they were found in the tomb itself (I bought a copy of the poster that shows the condition of the tomb - exquisite pieces all jumbled up in the tomb!)

Then we headed back to Giza - very few people there and the winter fog had lifted for photo ops - not doubting Ahmed ever again! Spent lots of time walking around and taking photos - and went inside Mykerinus - crawling hunched over for 100 metres or so but it was worth it!

(When I started this post I planned to do a bare bones itinerary summary as we are just updating our blog - I'll try to keep it crisper from now on and put links in to the blog.)

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