Sunday, 2 June 2019

Turbopass London City Pass - Your passport to London attractions.

London City Pass
London attractions are expensive, very expensive. David and I have travelled together for 35 years visiting many of the world's leading cities. I struggle to remember a single one which surpasses London for the cost of its attractions - except perhaps my home city of Sydney. You have to see the irony in that. But what do you do! We have come half way around the world (22 hours in the air) to get here, we can hardly stand in front of the Tower of London or the London Eye or the Shard, look at each other and say - no its a bit pricey, we won't go in. Luckily we found a solution.  After a bit of internet research we chanced across the London City Pass issued by Turbopass.⃰

Monday, 29 April 2019

What to see in 3 days at Luxor: A 2019 itinerary

Luxor Temple
Ancient Egyptians loved to built things - pyramids, temples, tombs, monuments and statutes, and much of this architectural flair found its expression in the ancient city known today as Luxor. Ancient Egyptians knew it as Waset and to the Greeks it was Thebes but whatever you want to call it Luxor is place you do not want to miss. There are no pyramids in Luxor, for these you need to head to Giza, just outside Cairo but for temples, monuments, statutes and tombs Luxor is unsurpassed. As the city where Nile cruises begin or end Luxor may already be on your itinerary but don't let the tour guides rush you. Luxor is a place to slow down, explore on your own and absorb some of the magic of one of the world's greatest ancient civilisations.

Friday, 12 April 2019

How to Visit the Valley of the Kings: What you need to know in 2019!

There are more than 60 royal tombs in Egypt's Valley of the Kings - that we know of! Many more may lie undisturbed beneath the desert.  Let's face it you are not going to be able to visit them all in a day. You probably only have a few hours - it will be hot, even in winter, and there is a fair bit of walking, mostly uphill. You need a plan! David and I went to the Valley of the Kings in 2006 and again in December 2018. We have put together this guide to give you an idea of how to get there, what to expect when you arrive, what it will cost and a few other things which are useful to know.  If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment here or send us an email. We love to help out fellow travellers.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Cruising the Nile on a Dahabiya with Nour el Nil: 5 days of luxury in Egypt

It is winter in Egypt and we have taken advantage of the coolest time of year to indulge ourselves in a Nile cruise. Dozens of boats ply the route between Luxor and Aswan. Mostly they are diesel powered cruise ships - river boat behemoths like floating hotels. Then there are dahabiyas - if you want slow travel or to channel your inner Cleopatra (or Marc Antony perhaps) then a dahabiya is for you. More Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot than Cleo and her lover, David and I have splashed out on a Nile cruise on the Meroe, a dahabiya operated by Nour el Nil.

Friday, 15 March 2019

What do you mean you left your passport on the plane!

We are in Egypt. After two weeks exploring Cairo, Alexandria and the Pyramids of Giza, Luxor is our final stop together - click the links to read my posts on each destination. David and I are to join a dahabiya (sailing boat) for a Nile River cruise to Aswan while Andrew, our son, heads home to Australia.

Andrew has already left the hotel. He has an early flight to Cairo where he will connect with another flight to Dubai and then, after an overnight stop, fly home to Sydney. David and I have just been collected from the hotel for the hour and a half's drive to Esna where we will join the dahabiya. The other cruise guests are coming from hotels on the opposite bank of the Nile River so we have the mini-bus to ourselves - just me, David, our driver and a guide.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Cruising the Nile on a Dahabiya: slow travel in Egypt

Meroe Nour el Nil
Our dahabiya is under sail, propelled along the river by a soft breeze, in a rhythm unchanged for thousands of years. I have woken early and have the deck to myself on the first day of our Nile River cruise. The sun is still low in the sky glistening to the south as if pointing the way for our journey. We left Esna, an hour's drive from Luxor in Egypt, yesterday afternoon. Our five night dahabiya journey to Aswan will be not much longer than a Nile cruise on board one of the large diesel powered passenger ships also plying the route, but there are thousands of years between our experience and theirs.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Howard Carter House and the Tomb of Tutankhamun

During the years he searched for the Tomb of King Tutankhamun, Howard Carter lived in a modest adobe house a few kilometres from his work site. The house is still there, as if waiting for Carter to resume his work. When we first visited Luxor in December 2006 we glimpsed the house from the road as we drove past on the way to The Valley of the Kings. It wasn't open to the public then but in recent years it has been restored, and on our most recent visit in December 2018 we were able to see both the house and a replica of the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun's Tomb tucked away at the back down a garden path.  If you have the time, Howard Carter House is well worth stopping at, if only to give you an idea of how the man who made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times lived.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

11 things to do in Alexandria, Egypt - one is a bit weird!

Citadel of Qaitbey
Me - 'Why are we going to Alexandria?'
David - 'Because we have a few days to spare and Andrew wants to go there.'
Me - 'Egypt is a huge place I'll bet I can find somewhere much more interesting than an old city founded by a dead conqueror'.
David - 'It is too late. I have already booked the hotel and transfers.'

This is what happens when you travel with children (even if they are 26 years old and several metres taller than you). You go places you have barely heard of to see things you won't be interested in. Wrong! Andrew, our son, as often happens, pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Our three days in Alexandria were the most fun of our whole trip. Partly it was lack of expectations and partly it was that Alexandria, with its mix of Ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman heritage is a great place to visit. Take my advice. If you get a chance - go there!

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The 9 & 1/2 best places to visit in Cairo - and one to avoid!

Great Sphinx
You arrive in Egypt, surviving a long haul flight in the process.  If, like us, you have come from Australia you were in the air for 20 hours or more - half that time if you are lucky enough to live on the east coast of the United States. You spent interminable hours hanging around airports, lining up to check-in, lining up to go through security, lining up to board the plane. You waited while your fellow passengers boarded, stowed their over-size cabin baggage and took their seats, then you waited while the pilot 'just waited on paperwork' (does anyone know what that paperwork they wait for is - couldn't they stay back at the office the night before and clear it up like everyone

Saturday, 12 January 2019

A complete guide to visiting the Pyramids of Giza and my tips to avoid the scams.

Pyramids of Giza
There is nothing in the world quite like the Pyramids of Giza. Built more than 4,500 years ago, they are the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world in existence today. To say the feeling of standing in front of them and looking up is awesome doesn't come anywhere near to describing it. Sadly however, the one thing most difficult to do at the pyramids is to stand back and soak in the atmosphere.

Lonely Planet describes it as 'the pyramids hustle'. There is no getting around it - once you set your sights on visiting the pyramids you might as well put a target on your back because you will be fair game for every tout, shonky tourist guide, cheap trinket seller