This report seems rather dull now I look at it again but I am posting it in case it helps anyone.
My friend Karin and I stayed at the Sofitel Karnak (see separate review) which was perfect for the occasion. Karin had been to Egypt on a cruise some years ago and not since then. It was a Thomas Cook package and we thought the TC staff were very good, though the plane was rather cramped. Picked up at the airport by Hassany, who was recommended by people on this forum.
The evening we arrived we went to Snobs for a meal. Very good as usual.
Day 2 – Karnak, especially the open air museum, with a guide for the first hour. We got him at the gate because I think Karnak is hard to take in on your own, and actually he was quite good. When he realised we knew something, he showed us slightly more unusual bits. We did everything else on the trip using the guidebook by Kent Weeks, which is the best one for the sites IMO. Guide cost 50 LE. Then a cruise on the hotel boat to the town and back. Watched sunset over the Nile. Dinner at Casablanca, very good, and the staff are delightful. Egypt were playing Cameroon in the Africa cup, won 3-1. Everyone in the streets very cheerful. Took in the whirling dervish show at the Nile Palace, which had changed a bit since December - a pantomime horse dance is now included.
The Avenue of the Spinxes is being excavated like crazy. You could see it from wherever you went. Apparently Mr Mubarak is going to open it officially in March.
Day 3 – West Bank. Tomb of Ay lovely (my first time), Rekhmire and Sennofer. Evening in the souk, bought a couple of small items, Sofra was full so dinner at Jamboree on the balcony overlooking the souk.
Day 4, Medamud. Hassany told us there were no tickets for sale but the guardian would let you in for a small consideration. This was absolutely wrong; the guardian was actively hostile, waving his arms and shouting NO, NO, NO. Hassany said the rules must have changed recently. We accepted this as we know places do open and shut without notice, while other visitors had gone not long ago. Anyway we could see most of the site from the road and there was not much of it, plus we had enjoyed the journey. Museum in the evening. Dinner Sofra.
Day 4, to Moalla and Tod. Moalla was quite an adventure – a pyramidal mound with square holes in it off the Aswan road, not terribly easy to find if you had not been there before. I was unclear whether you needed a special permit to visit – we paid for one but that might have been because we didn’t realise where it was, but who cares, it was fun. One of the holes led to a rock cut tomb a bit like the Tombs of the Nobles in Aswan, though a different period. They get about two visits a week. Tod is a nice temple in an attractive setting and they also get about two visits a week. The guardians offered us a share of their lunch and were very friendly.
I should have looked up more on the internet about Tod, Moalla and Medamud but I will have to do it now instead.
Day 5, to the West Bank again, Medinet Habu, tombs of Ramose et al, tombs of the scribes, variously spelt Al Khoka or Khauka, which I think they said had recently reopened and were quite interesting (seldom visited). Ramose is one of my favourites. Dinner Casablanca again.
Day 6, a day of rest in the gardens of the hotel. Luxor Temple by night where we met a nice American lady going round Egypt on her own, enterprising of her. She said she had been cheated with banknotes and charged three dollars instead of LE for a cup of tea but she refused to be discouraged. Dinner Snobs again.
Day 7 – rather a cloudy day. Morning a little cruise on the hotel boat, fruit for lunch, then off to the airport. Plane boarded on time but an elderly gentleman was taken ill at the gate and refused leave to fly. His luggage was unloaded. Plenty of doctors, nurses and paramedics rallied round and an Egyptian doctor turned up as well in an oversized white coat. After takeoff, another kerfkuffle and a lady was helped out of the toilet and laid down in the galley. Same clutch of medics. On landing a further posse of paramedics arrived and took her away. I hope they both recovered – and that it wasn’t catching.
Overall another nice trip, and a perfect one for January. After so many visits there are still new things to see.