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Trip Report Wonderful trip to Egypt, Jordan & Jerusalem: thank you!

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I had the pleasure of visiting Egypt last month (October 2008) add would like to share my trip with you. Thank you to all for contributing your information, opinions and experiences truly making fodors.com an invaluable source when planning this trip… even for a “lurker”, like me☺

Like so many, we were inspired by the Conde Nast Traveler article “13 Perfect Days in Egypt: Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and more” and contacted Destinations & Adventures International, who planned the trip described in the magazine article. We modified the Egyptian portion of the itinerary to suit our interests. (They also helped me tack on 4 nights in Jordan & 3 nights in Jerusalem to the end of my trip and am very glad that I did.)

I will try to be brief, but it is difficult. I loved every moment and see why people become enchanted. Our group consisted of three friends who like to get together to travel but have limited vacation time. As this was our first visit to Egypt, the goal was see as much of this fascinating country as time would allow. Knowing how flexible and time efficient private guides/drivers are, we filled our days with activities knowing that we could always adjust when needed.

We were thrilled with the trip & are already planning to return to see more of Egypt – only for a longer stay.

ITINERARY
Day 1 Giza, Egypt
Hotel: Oberoi Mena House (4 nights)
(First person in our group arrives)
Arrive & relax

Day 2 Giza, Egypt
(Second part of our group arrives)
4:00 PM Sunset Camel ride near pyramids with Debbie Senters of Casual Cairo… wow, welcome to Egypt!

Day 3 Sights: Memphis, Sakkara, Dahshur, Giza
*Toured old Pharaonic capital of Memphis at the open air museum saw the lucent Alabaster Sphinx and the giant reclining statue of Ramses the Great.
*Continued to Sakkara and toured outside of the first stone structure ever built, King Zoser’s Step Pyramid;
*Saw a few the tombs of nobles: mastaba style tombs of Teti, Ti & Ptah Hotep from 2400 BC;
*Drove to Dahshur for Senefru's Red (from a distance the Black Pyramid) & Bent Pyramids
*Giza plateau to visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza - Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos. And of course, the Sphinx!
*Return to the hotel for relaxation and pool time.

Day 4 CAIRO: Islamic Cairo & Egyptian Museum
*Morning tour of Cairo – visited the Citadel and Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Continued to Ibn Tulun Mosque, Al Azhar Mosque. Walked the old Arab town of Cairo from Bab el-Futuh (the North Gate) to Bab Zuwaila (the South Gate) and the Tentmaker’s Alley.
*Afternoon tour of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities awesome collections – especially thrilling to see the treasures of King Tutankhamon and the Mummies Room.
*Return to the hotel for relaxation and pool time.


Day 5 CAIRO-ABU SIMBEL-ASWAN & Camel ride
Cruise: Oberoi Philae (4 nights)
*Really early morning flight to Abu Simbel to visit temples and return to Aswan
*Embark ship & have lunch & relax
*Afternoon private camel ride to the ruined monastery of St. Simeon.
*Sunset private Felucca ride around Aswan

Day 6 ASWAN – KOM OMBO- EDFU
*Morning visit the Aswan High Dam, the Granite Quarries and the temple of Philae; (with ship’s tour)
*Back to ship to sail to Kom Ombo
*Enjoyed the beautiful views along the Nile
*Kom Ombo visit the temple shared by two gods, Sobek and Haroeries.
*Sail to Edfu.

Day 7 EDFU - LUXOR
*Visited the Temple of Horus at Edfu (with ship’s tour).
*Enjoyed the beautiful views of the Nile.
*Crossed the Esna lock and sailed to Luxor.
*Ship’s galabeya night – lots of fun!

Day 8 LUXOR
*Met by private guide & driver for: Valley of the Kings tombs, Medinet Habu, Ramasseum, Colossi of Memnon
*Returned to the boat in time for lunch.
*Late afternoon sightseeing of Karnak Temple complex and the Luxor Temple at sunset! (this was with ship’s tour… it’s a long story)

Day 9 LUXOR & Hot Air Balloon Ride
Hotel: Old Winter Palace (1 night)
*Early morning sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor
*Returned to the boat in time for breakfast.
*Sad to have to disembark from the wonderful Philae.
*Morning tour: Met by private guide and driver for: a return visit to the Valley of the Kings to view more tombs & then to Hatshepsut’s incredible Deir el-Bahri, (we were scheduled to see Tombs of the Nobles & Deir el Medina today but decided to re-visit KV… it’s a long story)
*Checked into hotel: After lunch at poolside – we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the pool and the beautiful gardens of the Old Winter Palace. Watched the sun set over the west bank of the Nile from the terrace of the Old Winter Palace.

Day 10 LUXOR – Coptic CAIRO
Hotel: Conrad Hotel (1 night)
*Transferred to airport for flight to Cairo.
*Met by same guide & driver - sightseeing upon arrival: The Sultan Qaibey Mosque in the Northern Cemetery (City of the Dead) and Ben Ezra synagogue. The Coptic Museum , Al Mu’allaqa (the Hanging Church, The Church of St. George and The Church of St. Sergius is considered Cairo's oldest church and is built on the spot where the Holy Family rested at the end of their journey into Egypt.
*Checked into hotel; sat on a terrace overlooking the Nile and recalled our favorite moments of our trip to Egypt as the sun set.

Day 11 CAIRO – Home

SLIDESHOW:
Here is a slideshow on the EGYPT portion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRpIXFH0_pU


If interested, I continued to Jordan & Jerusalem:

SLIDESHOW:
Here is a slideshow on the JORDAN portion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31IGS7bt70U

Day 11 Cairo - AMM - Petra
Hotel: Moevenpick Petra (2 nights)
*Transferred to the Cairo Airport for Royal Jordanian flight to Amman.
*Met & assisted through customs; met driver and driven to Petra.
*Check in hotel & rest
*8:30 pm walked over for Petra by Candlelight. Walked the Siq to the Treasury by the light of the moon & a path lined with luminaries. Enjoyed Bedouin music and tea.

Day 12 Petra, Jordan
Morning tour with private guide visit Petra, visit the Tomb & Treasures of the King, the Roman Theatre and the Old Market. Lunch in Petra.
Took a donkey ride up to the Monastery, El Deir, and checked out the view!

Day 13 – Petra - Wadi Rum
Hotel: Captains Camp (1 night)
Spent the morning visiting Petra with a local guide. Hiked up to the place of High Sacrifice and viewed the Treasury from above.
*After lunch driven to Wadi Rum.
*Took a jeep tour of Wadi Rum and watched the sunset over the desert.
*Driven to Captains Camp – For my Bedouin experience. Spent the night with dinner around a fire, under a starry desert sky, sleeping in a goat-haired tent.

Day 14 – Petra - Dead Sea
Hotel: Moevenpick Dead Sea (1 night)
*After breakfast depart Wadi Rum and drive to the Dead Sea.
*Visited the peaceful site of Bethany-Beyond the Jordan where John Baptized Jesus
*Checked into the Moevenpick Dead Sea.
Enjoyed the rest of the day at the Dead Sea floating.

Day 15 Dead Sea - Jerusalem
Hotel: American Colony (3 nights)
*Morning free to swim/float
*Checked out & transferred to the Allenby Bridge border crossing
*Crossed into Israel & met by driver to hotel in Jerusalem.
*Free afternoon: walked to the Old City to see citadel, walked the ramparts, found the Western Wall, Holy Sepulchre Church and got “lost” in the old city.

Day 16 Jerusalem - Bethlehem
*Free morning: walked the outside of the walls – found the Lion Gate; walked the Via Dolorosa, wandered around Muristan, etc.
Lunch in the Old City
Afternoon tour of Bethlehem; visit West Bank city of Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, St. Catherine’s Church, Milk Grotto &, Shepherd’s Field.

Day 17 Jerusalem
All day tour: Tour the Mt of Olives, walking down to the Old City. Four quarters of the Old City; Western Wall Tunnel Tour; Roman ruins; Roof of the Holy Sepulchre Church

Day 18 Jerusalem / Tel Aviv Airport/ Home
Free time: Explored the modern city of Jerusalem
Took the #99 Egged Bus, Israel Museum & Dead Sea Scrolls
Transfer to Tel Aviv Airport – Flight home.... The End

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