Egypt for about ten days

Old Sep 19th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Egypt for about ten days

The trip I'm planning to Egypt is with my childhood girlfriend. We've been friends since sixth grade and read a book then called "Mara, Daughter of the Nile" which we got from the local library. She has diligently gone with me to every Egyptian exhibit in Chicago as they've cropped up over the years. She's more of a "hire a travel agent" traveler, and I'm more of a "I can do this myself, thank you" sort of person. I'm sure we'll figure out something.

So far we agree that we really like Mena House. Can anyone give me an idea of whether it's possible to stay there and see the big museum in Cairo? Or is it too far?

We'd like a few days in Cairo, Abu Simbel (including a Nile cruise), a few days in Luxor, then fly back to Cairo for the trip home. Not interested in Alexandria or Jordan . . .
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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Absolutely - you can take a taxi or arrange for a car and driver......we loved Mena House
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 09:18 AM
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I meant to add a link to our blog - we were 11 nights in Egypt with a similar itinerary to the one you are considering.

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...8_adv/b_cairo/

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...c_nile_cruise/
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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It's about 45 minutes drive from Giza (where Mena House, the the Great Pyramid/Sphionx is/are) to downtown Cairo, where the Egyptian Museum is. Since you'd probably want to see the Great Pyramid and Sphinx also, you'll be driving (being driven, that is, don't even THINK about driving in Cairo, it's a blood sport!) one way or the other.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Elizabeth_S and sf7307: Thanks for the info. My friend and I both liked your report, Elizabeth, but would shorten our trip a bit. My husband went to Cairo in 1984 for an AID gig. Didn't see much of anything except the pyramids, the sphinx, and the Cairo museum, but really liked the museum (he's not a museum person).

If we're well studied and read, do we need to have a guide holding our hand in Cairo? Abu Simbel? (I remember as a kid watching the world scramble around madly trying to save those temples and doing a magnificent job in the process.) My sense is that we'd need a good guide in Luxor.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 04:14 PM
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There are some other posts on here about the Egyptian Museum -- you'd be well-served to have a guide at the Egyptian Museum -- although there are some "descriptions" in English, Casual Cairo says the descriptions are not very descriptive at all. Elsewhere, like the Sphinx and Pyramids, although a guide would be good, you can also likely make do with a good guidebook and a driver.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Our itinerary is Egypt was about what you said in your title - 10 days (plus an extra night in Cairo due to flying onto Jordan).

Re guides - I guess it's a personal thing - we felt we received great value from guides throughout our visit to Egypt (and we were very well studied and prepared)....it added immensely to our trip. Curious why you think you need a good guide in Luxor, but not necessarily Cairo and Abu Simbel?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:27 AM
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My impression is that Abu Simbel is dedicated to just one pharoah and his wife rather than a large group of monuments about which less is known.

For Cairo, we just want to see the pyramids at Giza and the museum in Cairo, then head south.

From my recent trip to India, I found that most of the guides we had (which were hired on an as needs basis) didn't know anymore about what we were seeing than I did -- not that I'm an expert, just that I've read a lot. When we got to the Taj, we decided to dispense with the guides.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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sf7307: Can we pick up a guide at the museum? Should we arrange for that before we leave?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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For the museum, pre-arrange a guide. The place is large with stuff spread out all over the place and they constantly move things arounds. There is so much to see, you don't want to be wandering around with your nose in a book and then trying to find somethings. Do be sure to visit the Tut Exhibit and the Mummy Room (extra fee), both rooms being air conditioned. The rest of the museum isn't and displays are over 4/floors.

Even though you can negotiate your way with taxi to Giza pyramids, we noticed that those who have guides got to the front of the line and weren't bothered by touts. The fees are small, so do consider this even if they just run interference for you.

And, at Luxor... lots of tombs that a guide is useful to have; also getting between Valley of Kings, Queens, Hatshepsuts Temple and others. Even at Abu Simbel, with just the two temples, for the few Egyptian Pounds, it's worth it to use the services of a guide.

Unless you're counting every penny, I wouldn't skimp on this service.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 09:35 AM
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The good guides in Egypt are college-grad Egyptologists. They are much much more knowledgeable than I am. But, as I've said before, we are not really "in-depth" people --- we just want "the basics", so sometimes for us having a guide was "too much", even though he was great.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 12:39 PM
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I'm happy to have a knowledgeable person, but don't want too much supervision or "do this, do that" stuff.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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How long a drive from Mena House to the Pyramids/Sphinx? We're trying to decide how to spend our first day after arrival -- R & R or a trip to the Pyramids?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:33 PM
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Mena House is as close to the pyramids as you can get....it's perhaps a 3 minute walk. To the Sphinx.....10 minutes? Only because you will want a driver.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 07:41 PM
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I think for your first time being in Cairo, it might be good to have a guide "holding your hands" for the first day or two at the major sights. For example, at the pyramids, some random guy will approach you, sounding official, and demand to see your ticket. He will then attempt to redirect you somewhere else, propably to sell you some thing you don't need. If my egyptologist guide had not told me it was a scheme and that one should just ignore such a person, I would probably have blindly followed whatever he was saying.

I think a good guide will give you helpful hints so that when you are browsing on your own, you won't be caught by complete surprise when strangers approach you and make demands.
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