For years we talked of taking a trip to Egypt – it’s been on the list for ages, you know the “let’s write down all the places that we want to visit and see how many we get to” list. It had to include a trip down the Nile though, to fulfill all those childhood tales of pharohs and pyramids, of desert and mystery!
After reading lots of brochures, talking to friends who had done similar trips and hearing their tales of things that had gone wrong, we decided to push the boat out (no pun intended) and we booked a holiday with Cox and Kings. We flew to Cairo and had two nights at the Mena House Oberoi hotel in Giza, I was told that I would be able to see the pyramids from there and was disappointed when we arrived to find I couldn’t see anything. “Wait till morning ma’am” said Mohammed our guide,” you’ll see pyramid”. As you will see from the photos, he was right and then some!
The Mena House is a fabulous hotel, standing in 40 acres of beautifully tended gardens, in the shadow of the great pyramids. I was proudly told by the duty manager that the hotel had entertained countless heads of state and many, many film stars and, looking around me, I could quite believe him. I had hoped that we would have a room in the old part of the hotel, but our garden wing room was just lovely. The staff were kind, courteous and very friendly and were delighted when they saw how pleased we were with everything.
We had a trip to the pyramids and learnt again all the things about them that we thought we already knew; the Museum in Cairo was unbelieveable. They have more artefacts stored in cupboards, cellars, spare rooms and under benches than they have officially on display. I have never seen so many ancient, beautiful treasures anywhere before. There is no air conditioning, or if there is it wasn’t working the day we visited and because of all the hundreds of people milling around, the place gets very, very hot. Then on the The Citadel. Standing on top of a limestone crag, looking out over the city of Cairo, the building takes your breath away. It was a governor’s pavillion many centuries ago, built to take adavantage of the cooling breezes that wafted round the hilltop; then Saladdin fortified it to prevent attacks by the Crusaders. Today, it houses many museums and is home to the Mohammed Ali Mosque. The views from the walls are quite spectacular.
Leaving Cairo behind, we flew to Luxor to join our boat the Oberoi Zahra . We were told that we would cruise the Nile in luxury and we did! The cabins were amazing and so was the freshly prepared food. There is a spa on board and a swimming pool on the top deck. There are just 25 cabins and 2 suites all with panoramic views of the Nile, the service was outstanding. An Egyptologist travelled with us and he led the daily excursions to the Temples of Luxor, Karnak, Dendara, and the Valley of the Kings. For seven wonderful days, we cruised from Luxor to Aswan, before flying back to Cairo for one night and then home. It is one of the best holidays I have ever had, that I would go again tomorrow says it all I think.
Pyramid from gardens of Mena House hotel
The Citadel, Cairo
View from the sun deck of Oberoi Zahra
Row of Sphinx at Luxor Temple
View of the Nile
Street market Luxor
Street market Luxor