Things to know about Egypt:
Day 1: Traveling to Cairo
In Cairo, we spent three nights at the Mena House, which is a Marriott brand hotel. This hotel is located right next to the pyramids and has been hosting kings, emperors, celebrities and now the Curtis Family! We would be staying in a one bedroom suite which gave us pyramid views and worth every penny.
Day 2: Alexandria
Before heading to Alexandria for the day, we enjoyed our morning views of the pyramids from our hotel. We had our breakfast buffet at Restaurant 139, which is open 24 hours, while taking in the views.
Tomb of Kom El Shouqafa
Meaning "mounds of shards" in English, it is a type of catacomb burial. This tomb was found by accident by a donkey and dates back to the end of the first century AD. It consists of three floors. The lower level used to fill with water, but the groundwater lowering project has fixed this problem.
The Serapeum and Pompey's Pillar
After a few minutes drive, we arrive here and explored the area. We saw a small sanctuary and library located near the pillar.
Built on the location of the ancient lighthouse, which was one of the ancient wonders of the world.
Since it was Friday the library of Alexandra was closed, which was a bummer because I was hoping to see it. The current library is built in the the location of the ancient library. After lunch at a fish market we headed back to Cairo.
Day 3: Pyramids and Museum
Today started with thunderstorms and strong rain but cleared right as we met our guide, Dalida and driver. Since our hotel is next to the pyramids the drive was easy but super busy due to everyone else trying to get thought the security check point. The Giza Plateau is the site of 4th Dynasty Pryamids complex.
Giza Plateau Complex Map
King Khufu's Pyramid
This tomb is the largest pyramid and the last remaining wonders of the ancient world. It took about 20 years to build and made of local limestone. The outside of the pyramids would have been covered with granite which was also local coming from Aswan in the south.
To go inside this pyramid required an extra ticket. Due to the recent rains, the lighting wasn't working so it pitch dark. This didn't stop me as I climbed inside the pyramid heading towards the burial chamber using my phone's light. It was tight and hot. The burial chamber is located in the middle of the pyramid. Even in the dark, I somehow got some pictures. I would definitely love to come back and climb it with the lights on.
King Khafre Pyramid
After a short drive, we arrive at Khafre's pyramid who was the son of Khufu and the middle pyramid. This pyramid is made of limestone and was once covered with granite. You could inside, but I opted out of it. Three smaller pyramids were for his queens. Each pyramid would have had a funeral temple and valley temple but most are gone except for King Khafre’s valley temple.
King Menkaure's Pyramid
This is the smallest one and is for the son of Khafre and grandson of Khufu which was King Menkaure. The three smaller pyramids were for his queens. He died before his pyramid complex was complete, hence why the granite on the outside isn't smooth.
Panorama View of the Pyramids
It is down the causeway from the pyramids. It shows a human head and body of a lion with a false royal beard and headdress.
Khafre's Valley Temple
The purpose of this temple was for purification of the mummy and used for mummification process of the king. It is build of limestone and covered with Aswan red granite. Each pyramid would have had one, but this one only survived.
It is the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East. Our guide said it would take 6 months to see every piece! We spent a few hours and still had tons more to see. A new museum is in the works and plans to open soon.
Day 4: Aswan
We took a quick boat ride to the Philae Temple which honors the Goddess Isis. This temple used to submerged under water many months of the year but it was relocated it when the dam was built.
It was to early to check into our hotel, so we took a boat ride on the Nile River. We took in the views of Aswan and the attraction near by. We saw the botanicals garden, Nubian village and wild life.
We would be spending one night at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan. Author Agatha Christie based her book Death on the Nile and stay at the hotel often. We would be staying in the Palace Cataract Suite which provided amazing balcony views of the Nile.
After dinner, we joined the hotel tour which showed us the Christie and Churchill suites which goes for around $6,00 a night.
Sunrise over the Nile River
Day 5: Abu Simbel
It is located in Egypt's southern border. The temple is for King Ramessess II of the 19th dynasty. It is known for it's four statues, one collapsed due to an ancient earthquake. Did you know?? The temple was built that on 2 days of the year 22nd of October and February the sun rays enter the temple crosses the main hall and light up the innermost statue.
The next temple known as the "Small temple" was dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramesses II's Great Royal Wife, Nefertari.
This temple was relocated due to the building of the Aswan High Dam.
The Small Temple of Abu Simbel
Temple for goddess Hathor and Ramesses II's Great Royal Wife, Nefertari
We drove three hours back to Aswan where we would be boarding our Nile Cruise, the Le Fayan, which would travel up the Nile towards Luxor, stopping and seeing sites along the way. We opted for a junior suite which was located at the front of the boat.
Many of the temples and pyramids offer light and sound shows in the evening. We opted to go to the Light and Sound show at the Philae Temple, which we had visit the previous day. Shows are shown at different times and in different languages. The show told the history of the temple.
During the night we sailed onward to Aswan and docked in the morning.
A teacher who loves traveling the world.