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    January 6, 2005

    Islamic Cairo and the Khan-al-Khalili: Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Rafai Mosque, and the Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, the Citadel, Muhammad Ali Mosque

    The following day we set out in the morning to explore Islamic Cairo. We started out at the Mosque of  Ibn Tulun. This Mosque is very photogenic, although different from others we’d seen. Most of the Mosque was outside – or at least most of the Mosque that we saw. […]

    January 5, 2005

    Lotus Hotel, Cairo

    We wandered around looking for a new hotel having left the Berlin Hotel when they switched us to a new room without asking while we were out during the day.  When we found the Lotus Hotel, a member of the ‘hotel staff’ followed us up to the reception. We have […]

    Berlin Hotel, Cairo

    The hotel we had tried to book in advance, the Berlin Hotel , refused to give us a reservation unless they personally picked us up at the airport to guarantee we would keep our reservation, and also to avoid taxi drivers demanding a ‘finders fee’ for bringing us to their […]

    January 1, 2005

    Luxor’s West Bank: Medinet Habu, Tombs of the Nobles, Tombs of the Artisans, Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple Again and Finally Catching the night train for Cairo

    The next day we woke up early and headed back to the West Bank. Although we’d visited it already on our “tour” with Hamis Travel, we wanted to head back and actually see some things. We got a local ferry across the Nile (by the way, this is much faster […]

    December 31, 2004

    Edfu, Kom Ombo and Discovering the Ancient Egyptians used ice compresses…

    Edfu was our first stop as we made our way south towards Aswan. Here was where we met our new guide. He spoke English better than our first guide, but overall was not much more competent then the first guide. The temple is located at some distance from the port, […]

    Abu Simbel, the High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple and Staying at the Arabesque Hotel (or “Using Towels the Ancient Egyptians Might Have Used…”)

    Early the next morning, we left for Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel borders Sudan, and there is heavy security. Tourists from Aswan are forced to join an early morning motor convoy to the site, several sleepy hours away. All manner of tour buses jostle for position as they race to the […]

    Kom Ombo to Aswan: Ditching our Tour Guide for Good, Tombs of the Nobles

    Kom Ombo to Aswan isn’t a very long trip. At this point, we’d had it with our tour guide. We were supposed to be taken to the Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam, and Philae Temple. However, these three things could be easily combined with a trip to Abu Simbel which […]

    December 30, 2004

    Karnak Temple Sound and Light Show, Ditching our Tour Guide and Getting Stuck in a Cruise ship Line Up

    Vaguely re-assured, we headed out that evening by ourselves to the Karnak Temple sound and light show. There are various shows throughout the evening in various languages – although to be honest, the language was sort of irrelevant. As is typical for sound and light shows, the narration was over […]

    December 29, 2004

    Our Nile Cruise Begins…

    The next day the horror of our cruise began. We were surprised that the guide was supposed to pick us up only at 10 – quite late, considering that this was to be our only day to actually see Luxor. He took us to the boat, which was moored not […]

    December 28, 2004

    Getting from Hurghada to Luxor and the Happy Land Hotel

    The bus to Luxor was half an hour late. We were lucky to get seats. You can’t buy seats in advance (as it’s not an originating point), so there’s just a mad scramble to get seats as the bus pulls in. A family we met on the bus told us […]

    December 27, 2004


    The Sheraton had arranged a taxi for us to get to the fast shuttle boat to Hurghada. We had to go through security as if we were getting on a plane. The boat, run by International Fast Ferries(http://www.internationalfastferries.com/html/index.htmll) was modern and nice, but it rocked a fair bit. Ian was […]

    December 26, 2004

    Sharm-el-Sheikh: Sheraton Sharm-el-Sheikh and Snorkeling in Ras Muhammad National Park

    There are no direct buses to Sharm-el-Sheikh from Mount Sinai- it’s necessary to go through Dahab. The one bus for Dahab leaves at 1pm. We took a taxi down from the Monastery (which doesn’t accept credit cards by the way, but does accept US$), and instead of taking 2 buses […]

    December 25, 2004

    St. Catherine’s Monastery and Mt. Sinai

    We took the Upper Egypt Company direct bus to St Catherine’s. It’s a 9 hour trip. It took us about 2 hours to get out of Cairo, owing in large part to a 1 hour stop at another bus station on the edge of the city. No one seemed to […]

    December 15, 2004

    Terrible Nile Cruise experience with Hamis Travel (Cairo Dan Tours)

    We arranged a 4 night cruise through Hamis Travel in Cairo. They came recommended by the Lonely Planet. It was a planning disaster. After several email exchanges (with long periods of silence from them), we had arranged a price of $500 US for a 4 night cruise (per person). We […]

    Cairo, Egypt: Victoria Hotel, Dashur pyramids and Memphis, Saqqara, Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx, Khan al Kalili

    We visited Egypt over Christmas 2004. Our vacation started in Cairo, took us to St Catherine’s and Mount Sinai, over to Sharm-el-Sheikh for some snorkeling, then on to Luxor where we had arranged a 4 night Nile River cruise down to Aswan. From there, we took a daytrip out to […]

    January 5, 2004

    Cairo: Egyptian Museum (Tutankhamen), Coptic Cairo, City of the Dead, Mosque of Qaytbay, Khan-al-Khalili, Restaurant Felfela

    During the day, we had visited the Egyptian Museum. It’s big. Really big. The building itself is pretty plain, and filled to bursting with ancient artifacts. The English labeling is pretty scarce, so make sure you have a good guidebook. In order to get into the museum, it is first […]

    Back in Cairo

    Arriving in Cairo for our last few days, we headed out of the train station towards the taxi rank for the inevitable fight with the taxi drivers. They wanted to charge us quadruple the local rate to drive us to our hotel. When we objected and offered the local rate, […]

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