Page 7 of Trabern Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Saqqara January 24th 2013

Groan, yet another early start this morning for our flight back to Cairo. Wake up call at 6.00am, breakfast at 6.45am and ready to go by 7.15am. Ahmed accompanied us to Aswan Airport and facilitated our check-in. In fact he printed our boarding passes yesterday so we were all seated together for our flight back to Cairo. I can't remember if I recorded that we were seated all over the plane for our flight from Cairo to Luxor? Ahmed asked us if we had enjoyed our trip to Upper Egypt. When we said that we had had a great time he asked us to encourage our friends and acquaintances to travel to Egypt. We have been so well looked after here in Egypt that we wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone who has been thinking about visiting ... read more
Red Pyramid 2
Bent with Red in the background
Bent Pyramid up close

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan January 23rd 2013

Ahmed joined us again this morning when we met Hussein to arrange the transfer of our luggage to the Mövenpick Hotel on Elephantine Island and advise us that our Cairo hotel has been changed from the Hilton in the city to Le Meridien Pyramids out at Giza. Even before we left Australia we thought that this could happen because the Hilton is very close to Tahrir Square. After seeing just how close the Hilton was to the buildings that were damaged in the revolution of 25 January 2011 when we visited the Egyptian Museum, we thought it even more likely that we might be relocated to the hotel at Giza when we returned to Cairo. Of course our return to Cairo coincides exactly with the second anniversary of the uprising against President Mubarak. With our bags ... read more
Temple of Isis Philae Island
Temple of Isis Philae Island 2
Temple of Isis Philae Island 3

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Abu Simbel January 22nd 2013

So, we were up at 2.50am, had a quick shower and cleaned our teeth. Hussein rang us at 3.25am because we hadn't been down for tea or coffee and he was worried we were going to be late. I assured him that we were just about to head down. Down at reception we collected our breakfast boxes and crossed the gangplank onto the dock. We didn't have to disembark through any other boats this morning which made it quick and easy. We drove into the part of Aswan where the convoy for Abu Simbel forms up. All of the vehicles going to Abu Simbel have to be security cleared and then the convoy is escorted to Abu Simbel. I fell asleep soon after we left Aswan and woke up at about 6.15am. Good, I am sure ... read more
Abu Simbel 2
Abu Simbel 3
Abu Simbel 4

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Kom Ombo January 21st 2013

This morning we awoke docked in Edfu. After breakfast on board the boat we took horses and buggies from the dock to the Temple of Horus which is dedicated to the Falcon God. Some of the horses are terribly skinny which is very distressing because they don't look strong enough to be pulling tourists around. There doesn't seem to be any alternative though to being taken to the temple in a horse and buggy. I guess it would be even worse for the horse if its owner wasn't getting the customers. Despite being off sightseeing again by 7.30am it was worth it to be amongst the first few tourists at the temple. Hussein has been really good at hustling us along so that we can beat the crowds and enjoy most of the sites without too ... read more
Edfu Temple 2
Edfu Temple 3
We just beat the hordes

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Valley of the Kings January 20th 2013

We had breakfast this morning watching the balloons floating over the West Bank of the Nile which was very atmospheric. There is something very restful about watching balloons hanging in the sky. It's nice to see the balloons floating over Melbourne on the odd occasion that I see them, but it was spectacular to see balloons floating over the West Bank of the Nile with the mountains that surround the Valley of the Kings in the background! After our breakfast we left for our visit to the Valley of the Kings. Unfortunately no photography is allowed in the Valley of the Kings so we had to leave our cameras on the bus. We might have to download a few images from the internet or buy some postcards?! Just behind the entry to the site there is ... read more
Hatshepsut Temple
Hatshepsut Temple 2
Hatshepsut Temple 3

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 19th 2013

This morning we had a very early flight south to Luxor which is situated in Upper Egypt. For some reason the idea that Upper Egypt is south from Cairo seems illogical. Unlike most, if not all, rivers in Europe, the Nile flows from South to North rather than North to South. Therefore the part of Egypt that is upstream is Upper Egypt. We had to meet Amal at 6.30am in the foyer of the hotel. Le Meridien's breakfast buffet is open from 3.00am each morning so we were able to have a quick breakfast before our departure for the airport. After a very short flight with Egypt Air we landed in Luxor. Once again we had a Bunnik's representative to meet us and assist us with our luggage. He escorted us out to the minibus where ... read more
Luxor 2
Luxor 3
Luxor 4

Africa » Egypt January 18th 2013

The air quality in Cairo is dreadful with a pall of smog hanging over the entire city. This morning it was even worse than yesterday - we could not even see the pyramids on the way to breakfast!! Amal (it's Amal rather than Ammar) met us this morning at the hotel and loaded us into the minibus and sent us off with the driver to meet Shereen at the citadel. On our way to the citadel we crossed the Nile River. Although we crossed The Nile last night we couldn't see it in the dark, so this was our first glimpse of one of the world's most famous rivers. Our driver collected Shereen from the side of the road just outside the citadel and then drove us inside the citadel walls. The Saladin Citadel of Cairo ... read more
Mohammed Ali Mosque
Ceiling domes, Mohammed Ali Mosque
Sunlight streaming into Mohammed Ali Mosque

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Giza January 17th 2013

At last! We could see the Pyramids of Giza from the pool area of our hotel as we crossed from the section of the hotel where our room is located to the restaurant for breakfast. Our first glimpse of the pyramids was very exciting. There was an extensive array of food available from the breakfast buffet, but we were too scared to eat about half of it!! We're not sure about eating fruit that isn't peeled, dairy products and anything uncooked. We met Ammar in the lobby at 8.15am and he introduced us to our Egyptologist, Shereen, who will be taking us to the sites in and around Cairo over the next couple of days. We were taken first to the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, 20 km south of Cairo, on the west bank of ... read more
Alabaster Sphinx
Cheops and Khefem

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo January 16th 2013

Yalçin met us at 9.00am this morning for our last half day of sight-seeing in Turkey before we fly to Cairo this afternoon. Because the Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays it was not included in our city tour last Monday so our driver took us back to Sultanahmet so that Meredith and Alex could see the Hagia Sophia and we could revisit with the benefit of Yalçin's commentary. We stayed with the group while we explored the ground floor and, as expected, Yalçin shared a wealth of information with us; who knew that the crosses on the floor aren't just random tool marks, but markers that reflect the circumference of the dome overhead?!Rather than re-visiting the galleries we teed it up with Yalçin to go across the road to visit the Basilica Cistern while he ... read more
Blue Mosque
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia 2

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 15th 2013

I don't think it snowed overnight, but there was a very heavy frost because it was like driving through a winter wonderland on our way to the underground city of Kaymakli. There are eight levels of accommodation carved into the soft volcanic rock at Kaymakli and it is only one of 30 underground cities in this area. Kaymakli is the second largest of the underground cities all of which are said to be connected by underground tunnels. A few of the passages connecting sections of the city were a bit low and narrow which was a bit claustrophobic but, on the whole, it was surprisingly roomy and very well ventilated so it wasn't too unpleasant exploring it. Once again we had this amazing site to ourselves! From Kaymakli we drove to a viewpoint overlooking the Three ... read more
Underground City of Kaymakli
The Three Beauties with Mt Erciyes in the background

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