I notice in the press today there are reports of a terrorist attack near the Karnak Temple at Luxor.
Having had a marvellous trip to Egypt in February this year with Viking Travel, booked through Crusader Travel Twickenham, I just want to encourage anyone considering going on holiday to Egypt not to be put off by the current political and security situation. Of course one has to be aware of what is going on around one but to miss out on what can be an amazing experience because of the remote possibility of being involved in a security incident would be a pity.
I had 3 days in Cairo followed by a seven day cruise on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. In Cairo we visited the pyramids (of course) but the highlight was the half day spent at the Egyptian Museum with its amazing collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the priceless treasure of the contents of Tutankhamen’s tomb. I also spent time in downtown Cairo both by day and at night and at no time did I see any sign of tension other than a low key military presence in the centre of town. Everyone I met was relaxed and very friendly.
The cruise, on the Viking Princess, was everything I could have wished for. There were about 30 of us on the tour, which was a good size for seeing things, and everyone got on well with each other. The temples and tombs we visited were amazing and the state of preservation of the incredibly skilful artwork, thousands of years old, was wonderful. Our guide was excellent, incredibly knowledgeable and very entertaining with a good sense of humour, and although we saw all the major places of interest the programme was well paced and not over-pressurized. One particular highlight not to be missed was the early (very!) coach trip from Aswan south through the desert, seeing the sun rise over the Sahara, to the two temples at Abu Simbel. The temples themselves are fantastic in their own right, but even more amazing is the wonder of engineering which raised the temples intact several hundred feet up the mountain from their original position to escape the rising waters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam.
On board the cabins were comfortable, the food was very good, varied and plentiful, and the staff were friendly and helpful. I found the evening entertainment a bit disappointing, relying as it did mainly on enthusiastic guest participation, but it was not compulsory and there was always good conversation in the bar or on deck as an alternative.
For me, the trip was the fulfilment of a dream and I would be happy to do it all again, Egypt’s political problems notwithstanding.