Egypt & Jordan Tour with All One WorldAuthor: Dileep
Date of Trip: November 2010
This was an outstanding trip with superb arrangements provided by Ruth Shilling. The main tour was a Photographers Tour of Egypt with just 2 couples. We added on excursions to Aswan & Abu Simbel, and a 3 day trip to Jordan for my wife and me. I would highly recommend using their services.
Thurs, Nov 11 -- arrive Cairo 8:30 pm and transfer to Mena House Oberoi for Photographers Tour.
Fri, Nov 12 -- Relax at the Mena House. Watched the horse carts take people up to the Great Pyramid. Went to the Sound & Light Show at the pyramids at 6 pm. Had an excellent dinner at the Indian restaurant in the hotel.
Saturday, Nov 13, 2010
Leaving Giza (where our hotel was) we drove southward through fertile farmlands to the pyramids at Dashur, dated even older than the pyramids at Giza! The Red Pyramid is almost as large as the Great Pyramid at Giza. The surface area is the same, but the slope is gentler, so it is not as tall. The Bent pyramid was a key center of worship during the Middle Kingdom. It is also the only pyramid to retain most of its original casing stones. The Black Pyramid (Middle Kingdom mud brick) can also be seen from here.
We visited a carpet factory. We had lunch at a guesthouse in the Black Land, the farming area. It was also a chance to see some the nearby farmers and their animals up close. See Blue Lotus of Saqqara Guesthouse. In the afternoon we visited a site that is not open to the general public - the Pyramids at Abu Sir. There are 3 pyramids, each with a mortuary temple, and an interesting noble's tomb. There is also a high point here from which we can see the other pyramids in the distance.
Watched a Sufi dance show in the evening at the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo returning to the hotel after midnight.
Sunday, Nov 14, 2010
We slept in after the late night return. We left at 9 am for Saqqara after breakfast with our take out lunch. Again we drove south of Giza through the Black Land where the people have farmed the rich Nile silt for thousands of years. . Visited Imhotep Museum, Titi Tomb, and the Step Pyramid.
The Step Pyramid at Saqqara is dated even older than pyramids at Giza and Dashur. It was here that the genius architect Imhotep built the first monuments in stone. There is much to see at Saqqara, so we spent most of our day there.
A quick stop at a Papyrus Institute & Shop to see how the papyrus "paper" is made from the papyrus plants. Dinner at an outdoor restaurant close to the hotel.
Monday, Nov 15, 2010
Tried to catch the Pyramids and Sphinx from a restaurant at sunrise but it was foggy. Rode around in a horse carriage to find a better vantage point but it was not to be! It was fun to see the camels get ready for the day at the pyramids. After breakfast at the hotel, we left the desert antiquity sites for the historic downtown Cairo. We began with a panoramic view of the whole city from the Citadel, first built in the 12th century A.D. by Salah al-Din (Saladin), where we also visited the famous Mosque of Mohamed Ali, also called the "Alabaster Mosque". Next we traveled through old narrow streets to a place known as the "Avenue of the Tent Makers." It is here that the men sew the intricate applique that is one of the crafts Egypt is famous for. Leaving the Tent Makers Avenue, we passed through one of the old gates in the city wall that surrounded Cairo. This street is the local Souk, the place where the local people shop for all kinds of goods. Quick walk through Khan El Khaleli bazaar followed by a late lunch at a local Egyptian specialty, Kusheri fast food restaurant.
Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010
An early morning 8 am camel ride on the Giza Plateau gave us a chance to photograph the pyramids from the desert. The next stop was at the Solar Boat Museum followed by a visit to the Sphinx before the crowds got too bad. The Sphinx faces east to greet the morning sun, so morning is the time that the light shines on the face.
We had lunch at the Felfela restaurant near the Le Meridien Hotel -- best falafel! Then back to Giza plateau for our special permit visit to the Sphinx enclosure after the clouds cleared at 4 pm. We had exclusive access through the sunset time until 5:30 pm!
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