After returning from her private guided tour of Egypt, this happy Kensington traveler was kind enough to share her blog article with us...
I always told my daughter that if she graduated college with honours we’d go on the mother- daughter trip of her choice. She picked Egypt. Although we’d been to Europe many times, neither of us had ever been to Northern Africa or the Middle East so it was with some trepidation that we anticipated our adventure. Once my friend told me about touring Egypt with his own private Egyptologist, we decided to skip the stereotypical packaged group tour where we’d have to travel with a bunch of strangers, ride buses (I get rather car sick) and follow someone else’s schedule to the minute! I knew that this may be the only time we visited this exotic land and it was important to do it right!
Our travel agent planned a customized adventure that enabled us to be more connected with the real Egypt, yet still feel safe. He had listened to our thoughts about what we wanted regarding hotels, touring and of course – shopping! Then with his expertise he worked with Kensington Tours to put together a fabulous itinerary just for us in literally two days!
From the moment we arrived in Cairo and were met by our Egyptologist Hanny, we knew that we had nothing to worry about. He was extremely articulate and friendly. He asked if we were hungry after our flight and took us took us to a lovely little restaurant where he ordered us a selection of delicious traditional Egyptian dishes for us to try. Even my daughter who is always a little tentative about trying new foods enjoyed it. Afterwards he took us on panoramic tour of Old Cairo which was a great introduction to the culture and people before dropping us off at our hotel. They managed to book us one of the desirable rooms overlooking the pyramids – it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you can’t really put a price on.
Cairo was amazing! In the expert company of Hanny, we rode camels around the pyramids and felt the heat on our skin as we trotted along on paths that slaves had built thousands of years ago. The sense of antiquity was hypnotic. The museum was like a college course in itself and having Hanny beside us narrating the entire way and answering our many questions was spectacular. So much to take in – I don’t know how it can be managed on a group tour! Afterward he took us to a wonderful shopping area that we never would have found. Needless to say, my daughter was entranced by the colourful souvenirs she found.
After a quick flight a day later we embarked on our cruise down the Nile. Our spacious room provided a riverbank window even though the boat was one of the more intimate ones. My daughter and I would swim in the small roof top pool, suntan, listen to music and read our Lonely Planet Egypt out loud to each other as we glided past dunes of burnished sand. Watching the river banks pass by was like something you might see on the Discovery channel or in a movie. While the décor of our boat was elegant and colonial, the nightly entertainment and our delicious dinners were very Arabic. When they noticed that my daughter wasn’t eating her meal the first night, one of the staff showed up at our table with simpler western fare and continued to do so for the rest of our voyage.
At every port we were met by the same private Egyptologist guide for tours of the legendary sites. When exploring, he guided us away from the large group of tourists. He knew just how to time our visits to correspond the departure of the masses. Luxor, Philae Temple, Valley of the Kings and the Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amun are monuments that imprinted in our memories for ever. He steered us through the Al-Deir Al-Bahari and Kom-Ombo Temples and told us facts, lore and legends. We were busy exploring, yet there was always time to become part of the place.
I don’t know if it would have been as enjoyable trip if it had not been for the personalized attention of Hanny. What a worry free way to travel! My daughter is now talking about going to grad school. I wonder how she’d feel about going on another mother daughter adventure when she graduates? I’ve always dreamed about going on safari!
A BIG thanks to Deborah for sharing her adventure with us...
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