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Two weeks in Egypt

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We are just back from an amazing 2 wks in Egypt. Highlights were Abu Simbel and the White Desert. Quick recap.

We ditched the Nile Cruise in favour of a shorter 3 day trip to Abu Simbel, Aswan & Luxor. I could not have been happier with the decision as we booked with SeeEgypt and enjoyed the personal attention of a car,driver & guide for 4 of us compared to the full bus load of tourists from the cruise liners we saw at every stop. At places like the Unfinished Obelisk & Aswan High Dam we appreciated the flexibility to tell our driver we wanted to depart early and at the Temple of Philae we waited for the setting sun to get some of our best pics.

We stayed at Move'n'Pick in Aswan which was nice and at Maritime in Luxor which was great. We went to the Old Cataract in Aswan for high tea and were disgusted by the attitude of the serving staff. After charging an 82LE cover charge we were still treated badly.

Don't miss the hot air balloon ride over Luxor - call 2-3 operators and bargain. I got an initial quote of $100 per head and finally we did it for $60 per head.

In Luxor don't miss the tombs of the commoners. This was our last stop at 4:30 and we were the only ones there - a lovely change after the crowds at the Valley of Kings. Well worth a dekko.

Cairo highlights over 6 days - Coptic Cairo, The Citadel, wandering the Khan el Khalili including Egyptian Pancakes for lunch, Naguib Mahfouz for dinner (don't miss the kobeba kebabs) and El Fishway for a tea break at the Khan, the Pyramids which we saw with a guide then about half a dozen times while passing including late evening from the Mena House, buying jewelry at Azza Fahmy (see her website - stunning), traditional food at Abou El Cid, the museum with the Tut exhibits

We used the time we saved from the cruise to go to the White Desert. We left around noon, got to the Baharia Oasis around 5, overnighted then left the next morning around 11 for the desert. We got to the desert at 2, broke for lunch, then drove further into the desert where our Bedouin guide and driver set up camp. The desert is bizarrely beautiful with almost white sand and snow white limestone formations. It feels like a different planet. Don't miss it. We saw sunset and sunrise here and also spent the night under a canopy of more stars then I have ever seen in my life. This trip could be done at a more hurried pace over 1 night with no oasis stop. The oasis is a bit of a dump so worth missing but it would mean leaving Cairo around 9, getting to the desert around 3, camping then leaving the next day around 10 to get back to Cairo around 5.

We had an amazing trip and I loved Egypt - for me it was the second time but more memorable then my first.

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