The Mystique of Egypt
By Linda Bendt
It's hard to believe, but November 2022 marks 26 years since Jim and I last visited Egypt...the first international trip we ever took together! And, might I say, a bit different exploring it through the eyes of a travel agency owner (rather than a 20-something backpacker!).
I think for most curious travelers, Egypt is a mystical, far away land that seems historically rich, culturally diverse and like nothing else this world has to offer. If you believe any of those, you're right. And then some! In our opinion, it should be on everyone's Wanderlist and is sure not to disappoint.
We started our journey in Cairo, like we do as we plan client trips there. It's hard not to visit the Pyramids early in the itinerary because it's such a highlight within the country. We did the iconic Pyramids of Giza, as well as the Dahshur area (where the Bent Pyramid is the most well known!). We were able to go inside these mind blowing structures (the scale of them is incredible) and it's fascinating to learn about the construction process knowing modern day equipment wasn't available to move/lift the 1-15 ton boulders that were used to create them. Check out this video recapping our time in Cairo.
After a couple days in Cairo, we ventured along the Nile River to Luxor and Aswan. Luxor, which is known for the Valley of Kings/Queens and Luxor Temple, was particularly interesting as we learned the true difference and significance between the pyramids, tombs and temples. We experienced Luxor Temple at night, which was a notable highlight of the trip for us. And, while it was an early wake-up call the next day, we did a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. So memorable and highly recommended! Check out our little hot air ballooning video.
In Aswan, we ventured out to the Aswan Dam (which has created the impressive Lake Nasser) and Philae Temple. We were able to get on the Nile several times (a felluca boat ride is a must!), but an actual Nile River cruise was not on the itinerary for us (due to time constraints). Side note: Many clients inquire about a Nile cruise and we're happy to explain when/if it makes the most sense for you.
A fun story about Aswan...we stayed in the incredible Old Cataract Hotel right on the river. A truly stunning place. I happened to mention to the partner we were traveling with that I was in the midst of reading Agatha Christie's book "Death on the Nile." The next thing I know, Jim and I are checking into the Agatha Christie Suite, which is where she wrote the book! I finished reading it IN the suite it was written. So cool!
Check out this video from our time in Luxor and Aswan.
We returned to Cairo for a few more days exploring Old Cairo, the Egyptian Museum and so much more. A definite highlight in Cairo for us was the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC). This relatively new museum is now home to 22 mummies that were transported in an elaborate parade earlier in 2021 through the streets of Cairo (from the Egyptian Museum). If you missed highlights of the parade, view it here. Now inside NMEC, these mummies are amazingly well preserved and oddly intriguing to view.
There are far too many stories to tell and superlatives to use about our days in Egypt. I can easily say it's a lot to take in...the historical significance, the unique mix of religions and cultures and the amazing tastes of local foods are just a few elements that will stay with us forever.
Email me if you'd like to talk more about the possibilities that await you in this awe-inspiring land!