Andrew Griffiths of Lewis & Turner Travel Associates has just returned from an unforgettable journey to the ancient land of Egypt.
The trip began in amazing style - the A380 in the widest business class seats in the sky (at 32 inches wide) and went up hill from there. The most attentive service coupled with 5 star restaurant quality food and the best selection of wines from all over the world made short work of the trip. With a fold down fully flat spacious bed with a real pillow and quilt before I knew it we were touching down in Cairo.
A city tour including the Ancient capital of Memphis, the necropolis of Sakkara and then we were at one of the many highlights of the trip - the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Temple of the Sphinx. It does not matter if this is your first visit or tenth, you still marvel at the size of the only present day survivor of the Sevens Wonders of the Ancient World.
An Overnight sleeper train took us from Cairo to Luxor station before transferring to our luxury Nile river cruise aboard the all suite MS Antares, currently the best vessel sailing the Nile for the next 4 nights.
It was yet another amazing day immersing ourselves in Ancient history through the Valley of Kings and exploring the Tombs of Ancient Pharaoh's including Tutankhamun's. Then rising out of the desert plain in a series of terraces the impressive Temple of Queen Hatshepsut (Egypt's only female Pharaoh) that merges into the sheer limestone cliff's that surround it. We had the afternoon to explore Karnak and Luxor Temple and probably could have spent days wandering through the numerous pylons, obelisks and smaller temples. Then it was back to the MS Antares for the Captains Cocktail reception and a tour of this lavish 35 suite fully air-conditioned vessel. The vessel has a range of guest suites from a spacious Junior suite right up to the cavernous Imperial Suite. All suites have separate sleeping and living areas with LCD televisions and DVD players, the bathrooms even have their own jacuzzi. A special mention to the stunning food and the amazing variety and freshness - I certainly brought back a few extra kilo's. The cruise was overall a stylish itinerary with ample time to watch the passing parade of life from the luxury of the top deck lounges and then taking a refreshing dip on the rooftop pool while sampling the many delicious cocktails on offer or afternoon tea for those feeling peckish.
The cruise has numerous stops to explore along the way including Edfu temple, Kom Ombo and the amazing architectural feat that is the High Dam at Aswan. From Aswan we had a short flight down to Abu Simbel to the two temples of Ramses II each fronted by colossal statues up to 20 metres high that were recently threatened by the raising waters of Lake Nassar and with the help of UNESCO were cut into blocks, raised piece by piece and reassembled into a new position over 60 metres higher. I don't know which impressed me more, the size of the temples or the fact they were moved.
We then had another luxury overnight sleeper back to Cairo and then had an amazing educational experience touring the Cairo Museum and seeing the amazing treasure of King Tut's tomb and then spent hours wandering through the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East and was founded back in the 14th century as a caravanserai waterstop. The following day provided us a smorgasbord of hotels to look at. From the Mena House Oberoi in the shadow of Cheops Pyramid, the luxurious Four Seasons Nile Plaza to the Intercontinental City Stars Hotel and the 300 plus shops in the attached mall it was a day to remember.
Suddenly and some say, unfortunately we were back at the Cairo Airport for our flight home and the only thing that consoled me was the knowledge of the amazing food and service we were about to experience, the array of latest release movies and a fully flat bed that Singapore Airlines and their A380 were going to provide. This truly was the "Nile in Style".