It was truly and incredible trip folks. Egypt really does live up to the hype. Nick did a great job crafting our 8 day/7 night trip. We worked with a tour company called Cleopatra Tours out of Cairo and were quite happy with their guides and overall service throughout the trip.
We started out of the gate strong our first day, visiting the Egyptian Museum, the bazaar in Old Cairo and the Pyramids. We had a blast taking a short camel ride near the pyramids and getting a few family photos. I couldn’t get over how tall the pyramids were. The largest one was just shy of 500 ft. And just ONE of the pyramid blocks was as tall as Nia (see pic below)!
The Great Sphinx of Giza, in comparison, was only 66 ft high, just 13% of the height of the largest pyramid.
Despite its beauty and fame, I truly was very disappointed by the Sphinx. In fact, when the guide pointed it out at first, I couldn’t even find it! It was the only thing I found underwhelming on our whole trip. I’d be curious to hear what others thought of the Sphinx after visiting Egypt. I felt deceived since many of the pictures I’ve seen of it make it look larger than it actually is (like this one I took below).
We also swung back through Cairo for our last night. On the morning of our last day (flight was that evening), we enlisted our guide to help us find the hospital that Nick was born at in 1979. I am still in awe that his Mom was brave enough to give birth in Egypt – GO JOYCE! And what do you know, the hospital was still standing. So of course we had to get some pictures in front of it! Very tiny and sweet. We wrapped up our morning by also looking for the apartment building his parents lived in. That, unfortunately, was no longer there (or had changed names) but we did drive up and down the street that it would have been on.
After our 1st two days in Cairo we took a flight to Luxor. Immediately upon touchdown we met our new guide, threw our luggage in the car and headed to our first site of the day. We began at Karnak Temple, which is believed to be the largest religious building ever constructed. This picture gives you a sense of the scale. We were absolutely dwarfed by the columns!
Immediately after was the equally impressive Luxor temple in downtown Luxor. The modern town of Luxor was once the site of the famous city of Thebes. One interesting story about this temple (shown below). There were two granite obelisks (structures that look like the Washington Monument) flanking the entrance. One still stands in Luxor. The other is now in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Ottoman Turkish military leader (and ruler of Egypt) Muhammad Ali Pasha gifted it to France and it was erected in 1833. I haven’t been able to substantiate this anywhere, but our guide said that the obelisk was such a pain to move that although France was offered both, they decided not to return for the 2nd. It took 8 or 9 years to move the 1st, I believe.
Amusing, huh? This post has gotten longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to stop for today and write about the second half of the trip in my next post. Hope you’re enjoying learning about Egypt along with us! :)