|Pyramid view from our balcony.|
|Seaside in Alexandria.|
|Alexandria is famous for seafood.|
|Temple of Karnak|
|Magnificent Luxor by night.|
|Valley of the Kings: |
Visitors welcome without cameras.
|On Luxor's West Bank, the temple built by Hatshepsut,|
the only woman to rule as a Pharaoh.
|A roadside "alabaster museum."|
|Poolside on the Royal Esadora.|
|Sunset cocktail on the Nile.|
We woke up in Esna, for a morning walk to a temple that was once used for storage and target practice. Here, I had a scary moment when I fell behind the group and found myself snapping pictures all alone, drawing unwanted attention from some guys in a passing car. They buzzed off when I caught up to my male relatives. Traveling as a woman alone is probably not a good idea.
|Horsing around in Edfu.|
|Boatmen sell their wares|
on the Nile.
Day 6 - Aswan Morning tour of a rock quarry with an unfinished obelisk, followed by a drive across the old dam to reach the High Dam and its splendid views of Lake Nasser. The highlight was a boat trip to the Temple of Philae, which was moved by UNESCO to keep it above the water in a stunning new island setting. We returned to the cruise ship with enough time before lunch to browse the bustling marketplace of Aswan for souvenirs. We also signed up for an afternoon boat trip, first on a felucca and then transferring to a motorboat when the wind died.
|Crocodile in a Nubian village home.|
Day 7 - Abu Simbel/ Cairo The astonishing temples honoring Ramses II and Queen Nefertari are worth the effort it takes to get there by plane. Travel tip: check as much of your stuff as possible and carry minimal hand baggage. There's no place to leave it while you are walking around Abu Simbel, and you'll be juggling your hand luggage as you take and pose for photos outside.
|Check your bags or you'll have to carry them around Abu Simbel.|
Le Meridien, we had a free night for dinner in Cairo. The Heliopolis neighborhood is home to many embassies as well as middle/upper class Egyptians. The hotel called a taxi, which waited as we enjoyed tasty pizza on the roof of a popular family restaurant called Bistro, mingling outside the tourist zone with Egyptians enjoying a night out.
Day 8 - Giza Having a well-connected guide and driver can make a big difference in your visit to the pyramids. We drove around to the uncrowded far side where Bedouins and their camels were waiting. Watch the video here.
|Camel and pyramids. Perfect.|
|Inside the pyramid of Queen Henutsen.|
|Most visitors in Giza are Egyptians.|
|Sharing the road with camels and donkey carts.|
|Cabin crew aims to please|
with creative towel art.
|Most people were friendly,|
curious and welcoming.
Why go NOW? With Egypt's military leader in charge, there is hope of enough stability to bring back the tourism on the scale that is needed to revive the economy. The authorities take a hard line with any type of dissent so it's best to avoid political discussions altogether. If you keep an open mind and a willingness to be a polite guest in a fascinating country, you'll be glad you came.