GO TO EGYPT NOW - Quick, before it's rediscovered!

Apr 25th, 2011, 12:08 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Agree about the Mena House neighborhood! I didn't leave the grounds except to go sightsee (walking boot for sprained ankle) although hubby walked around a bit. I loved our room and spent as much time gazing at the pyramids from the bed with an ice pack on my ankle as I could

TC--Don't skip the Egyptian Museum in Cairo--the King Tut treasures, the Jewelry collection and the animal mummies (no extra charge) are all great to see. The Museum itself is in terrible condition but the treasures are fantastic.

Any reason y'all are skipping Coptic Cairo on Day 2? It was quick stop and neat to see the old churches. We were there during a mass and a call to prayer--pretty cool to hear both in harmony. Because traffic can be so slow, you may want to group Cairo downtown/Old city sights to maximize your time.

Oh! If you are overnighting at Abu Simbel, you may want to do the Sound and Light show there, Casual Cairo and others say it's the best one. We did Karnak and enjoyed it even though it was very dark and hard to understand at times.

Wish I was going back in October!
nola77382 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 12:50 PM
  #22  
TC
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Thanks, Nola. Not planning to skip Coptic Cairo - just a typo on my part. It is part of the itinerary. Is the Egyptian Museum really great? We've seen the King Tut exhibits in NY and in Chicago -- two different exhibitions. Will there really be so much more? I've read that the Luxor Museum is very nice. Great tip for the Sound and Light show at Abu Simbel. That might be the perfect reason to overnight there.
TC is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 01:34 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Egyptian Museum has great stuff but the building itself is terrible and the displays are very poorly done. I hadn't seen the King Tut stuff so was very impressed by it all (the Mask! the beds! the chairs! the carriages, etc etc) but I also loved the non-Tut jewelry display, the Palette of Narmer, the Final Judgement original papyrus; the animal mummies. We spent two hours and a half hours there (I think) and would have gone back if it was more like Luxor Museum, which we really enjoyed--well done, great displays. The Nubian Museum in Aswan was also great, if a little warm. Cheers!
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Apr 26th, 2011, 07:44 AM
  #24  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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TC Your itinerary looks fantastic. Do you have time to go to Dendara and Abydos? We didn't have the time to travel there, but I hear they're spectacular. I'm glad you're taking internal Egyptian flights - it saves time and is far more comfortable. I'll be interested in what you have to say about Eskaleh when you return. The people who run the place are wonderful and the setting/grounds lovely. The rooms will be very different from those in your other hotels in Egypt. Why are you staying in Heliopolis the night before you leave? Will your flight from AS get into Cairo late or do you just not want to get up so early to catch your flight? Traffic moves pretty quickly early in the morning so getting to the airport doesn't really take a long time. Maybe someone who knows the area can advise you on what to do if you have a lot of time in Heliopolis? We didn't attend any sound and light shows. We saw the light on the Pyramids but always seemed to have something else to do. I'm sure you'll enjoy one. We all thought the High Dam was dreadfully boring and one of us likes that sort of thing. If time is short, you can easily give it a miss. The souk in Aswan is truly wonderful at night. We went after dinner, strolled the pedestrian area, ran into our LE rep with his wife and baby and enjoyed ourselves a lot. It's a nice place to do some shopping because "no hassle" is almost true

The Egyptian Museum is indeed dingy and the displays aren't well executed. It would make a great backdrop for a scary movie. We spent a lot of time with our guide books, wandering around choosing to linger where we pleased. It was a leisurely day. Yes, the jewelry, Tut treasures and mummy room (you pay extra for this) were pretty fantastic. You'll have a ball.
jahlie is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 10:37 AM
  #25  
TC
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Jahlie, That last hotel night is really just a guess at this point. We haven't booked International flights yet, so I really don't know what we might need to do. "IF" we have a very early morning flight out, I would just as soon be settled in near the airport the night before. The High Dam certainly isn't high on my list. I'm glad you mentioned it. I was deathly bored at the dam on the Yantze in China. Cant imagine this is better. It is sort of standard in the LE quote, but we will make sure to let them know we'd rather give it a pass.

I'm going to see what Amanda has to say about Eskelah. We're not too fussy on sparse accommodations being campers and having lived on sail boats. It is for one night only. I just think it sounds rather intriguing to stay in something similar to a private home. Can you be more specific for me on your objection to the rooms? It really doesn't sound as though any place in Abu Simbel is lux.

The souk in Aswan sounds so much more relaxed than the bizarre in Cairo. I absolutely loathe being bombarded by sales clerks and hounded to death to buy. Shopping is the lowest property on our list. We really just want to experience the culture through the products. I will do more photographing than purchasing.

I'm not keen on the convoy atmosphere of the trips to Dendra, so will probably give that a pass.

Thanks for your good council. I appreciate the advice.
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Apr 26th, 2011, 11:17 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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TC, there are no convoys to Dendara and Abydos (we went on April 5th 2011). We enjoyed seeing the countryside but it was a long day. The two temples are great. The only convoy left is to Abu Simbel, if you don't fly in. We went to the High Dam and it didn't take long at all, maybe 30 minutes; in case they balk at taking it out of the itinerary. BTW, when we went to the souk in Aswan, we were bombarded by the vendors. It was not a relaxing stroll for us--I hope your experience is more like Jahlie's. The street is wider than Khan al-Khalili, so it was easier walking.
nola77382 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 12:04 PM
  #27  
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Hi again TC, Yeah, the accommodations in AS aren't as nice as you're going to experience elsewhere. The Seti is the "best in town" and although the staff is delightful and the grounds and setting really lovely, again the rooms are a bit dingy and could use some new curtains - you know what I mean? They are clean but show wear and tear. Being right on Lake Nasser is really nice and the pool area at the Seti is wonderful. We had to ask them to turn down the music -it was an odd combination of Celine Dion and Christmas music blarring out over the loudspeaker! The staff was a quick study because every time any of us ventured near the pool, someone would automatically turn down the music - ha, ha. Watching the barge loaded with camels sail past and unload them on the opposite bank was like being in a movie - another highlight of the trip. I don't know how often that happens however. The Eskaleh isn't RIGHT on the lake, you have to walk through the garden and down to the lake. The photo on their website has been gussied up with computer magic. It's too much like a B&B for my husband and I to be comfortable and the beds didn't look as comfortable as I would like. For a really good set of photos, go to Tripadvisor and click on the hotel photos http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Revi...bu_Simbel.html Those photos are pretty representative of what we saw.

The souk in Aswan is a pedestrian area that is more like the "passeggiare" in Italy, where everyone strolls out for a bite to eat, a bit of shopping and just saying hi to friends. It's also cleaner than most streets I think you'll enjoy yourselves.

Keep in mind however, that we found that ALL souks, bazaars, entrances to tourist sights, will have some people yelling at you or even pushing something at you. It's part of the deal. Some places are worse (tourist sights) than others (souks and bazaars). You might be pressed a bit, but if you say "la shukran" or "shukran" and just keep walking, you'll do OK. There was one instance in the Luxor bazaar where a man just wouldn't leave me alone - he wanted to be our guide. I finally turned to him and said in a pleasant but firm voice, "will you please leave me alone" and he replied "excuse me" and then left me alone. That's a lot better than I've experienced in many other places. Actually, we had fun with that sort of thing because the Egyptians are having fun too - "Welcome to Alaska" "Come look, no hassle" -They'd joke with us and we'd joke back. There may have been one or two times we were a little annoyed, but mostly they were just people who were starving for business and trying their best. "Welcome" was the most often repeated word we heard.
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