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Trip Report -- Morocco, Egypt and Jordan

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Mar 16th, 2009, 09:22 AM
  #1
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Trip Report -- Morocco, Egypt and Jordan

Just returned from a three week trip to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. We had an outstanding time. I'll link the pics for each destination. We used two different travel companies, one for Morocco and another for Egypt, Jordan. Here's the itinerary:

Flew US to Casablanca via Paris and drove straight to Marrakech
2 nights in Marrakech, exploring this fascinating city
1 night at the Kasbah du Toubkal in the High Atlas
1 night in Ourzazate
1 night in the Sahara at the Merzouga Dunes
drive back to Ourzazate fro flight to Casablanca, overnight
early flight next morning for Cairo

3 night in Cairo
early flight to Luxor, 1 night
early balloon flight and touring, drive to Esna for dahabiya
5 nights aboard a sailboat/dahabiya to Aswan
fly morning to Abu Simbel for overnight
flight to Cairo via Aswan and onward to Amman, Jordan
drive to Petra, two nights
up to Dead Sea for a night
full day up to Jordan River and then Jerash before late night flight home

One thing that I'd say is that we tried to use a couple US companies to arrange Egypt and Jordan and with one, we were told all dahabiya's were sold out (we really wanted to do this) and another had a dahabiya connection but were were told we'd have to take the whole boat (there were only three of us) which was cost prohibitive. With a little trepidation, we used Gateway to Egypt which is Egypt-based and easily found on the internet. They were able to do for us everything we wanted and at a significant cost difference. Great english-speaking guides/Egpytologists, a Nile dahabiya which was outstanding, and great hotels (Mena House in Cairo, Winter Palace in Luxor, etc...). The cost savings were about a third from the US-based groups. The only thing I can figure is that they are local and therefore can do things that can't be done from afar.

Opinions about Nile cruises would be varied according to personal tastes, but we LOVED the slow sail along the Nile. As we would drop anchor on a Nile Island for the evening, a parade of monster cruise ships one after the other plied the river. With a big fun group maybe that wouldn't matter and it would be fun, but it just seemed too canned and cookie cutter and crowded to us. The dahabiya is a good option and we appreciated the pace as well as the off times we would hit the temples along the way. We even visited a couple villages as well. Bring some good books along and enjoy! pS the cook aboard was fantastic and we ate like kings!

Pictures say a 1000 words so, enjoy!
Morocco:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=d8dc7c3b1f

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=4c34a893a2

Egypt/Jordan:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=c3ac4c443f

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=3b2e1275e9

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=2762b51aae

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=bb2ab7dbec
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Mar 16th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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gatoratlarge - I just finished looking at your fantastic photos. They were fascinating, thank you so much for sharing such beautiful pictures. I was thrilled to be in Egypt in January, what a wonderful job you did of capturing it!
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Mar 17th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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Thanks Susan! It's a very photogenic place, no? : )
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Mar 17th, 2009, 03:24 PM
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Thank you for the lovely pictures. Brought back happy memories also.
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Mar 17th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Wow - you got some really great shots! Thanks for sharing. It's always fun to see a place you've visited through someone else's camera lens Very nice. We were on one of those big river boats, yes, with a group. We had a blast, but I must say your relaxing dahabiya cruise looked fabulous.
Karen
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Mar 18th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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Some might go stir crazy on a smaller boat and there are many amenities like a pool on a bigger boat(in the summer heat this would be especially nice!) Plus travelling with a larger fun group also has its appeal...it's a matter of weighing all those things out. Egypt is a great destination especially this time of year as i imagine it gets incredibly hot pretty soon!
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Mar 18th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Thanks Joel-we are going next year. Where was that hotel in Jordan on water with day & night shots of a beautiful pool? Was the hotel nice? What was its name-Thanks Chris
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Mar 18th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Thanks, I only looked at the Jordan photos (I'm headed there, plus Syria and Lebanon in May). Great photos of Petra -- I hope to capture much of the same.
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Mar 19th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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I was running out of digital pics so I was a little limited in Petra--glad you liked the shots...I think you will be blown away by Petra. At least I was...was much more than I anticipated---how long will you stay there? I think at least a full day is needed (we only had a half day due to a missed connection in Cairo) It is quite a site (lots of hiking and walking for sure)...

The Dead Sea hotel was the Marriott. It was a beauty. There are a couple of other hotels adjacent that are nice as well (the Movenpick I think it is called, and the Kempinski? all of which looked great) It's a good place to relax for a bit. And of course, I was a bit ignorant of exactly how "in the middle" of history Jordan was/is...there's a lot to see within a short distance.
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Mar 20th, 2009, 05:48 AM
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Great pictures!
Was it warm enough to go for a float in the Dead Sea? That was an interesting experience.
Petra was mind-blowing. We were only at the site a half day also and you're right it's not enough. I hope to go back in a year or two to take my husband - it's a must-see.
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Mar 20th, 2009, 07:20 AM
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you know we're Florida folks so it seemed a bit chilly to go floating : ) Some Japanese tourists seemed not to mind as much---just had to be satisfied with sitting on a rock with my feet in the water LOL

Agreed on Petra---wasn't prepared for how spectacular that was going to be....it is wonderful and a deserved "Seven Wonder of the World"
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Apr 9th, 2009, 11:36 AM
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added a few more pics in the albums
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Apr 9th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Just curious about the weather... seemed cooled by the way you were dressed. What time of year was that? A good time to be in Egypt for that sort of weather? I can't stand the heat.
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Apr 10th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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We were there in early March till the 11th...it was chilly at times...I think those days are over for a while...we enjoyed it rather than sweltering heat. I can imagine Cairo makes its own stew during the summer! : )
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Apr 15th, 2009, 02:27 AM
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Dear Joel, thanks for your feedback and we are glad to know you have enjoyed the trip.
Happy Easter to all.
Basem from Gateway To Egypt
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