You can't really do Egypt without a guide. Well you can, but you would be mad to try it. I hate the haggling that goes on with trying to get guides at each location, but I've well and truly learnt over the years that the history is what makes these places so very special, and without a guide, you can't really get a full grasp of the story. With this in mind, we decided to do an actual tour in Egypt as opposed to trying to find a new guide at every new place. Best decision we made. I know so many people are anti-tour but in Egypt to be a tour guide you have to also be an Egyptologist - so for this trip, it was 100% the best move.
We did an On The Go Tour (Road to Jordan), which is still quite grass roots but a better level of accommodation than Brad and I would normally choose so I have to say I was a bit nervous about the other tour guests being more tourists than travellers. Nervous for no reason as it turns out. We really lucked out. A small bunch (max 9 and for Jordan only 6).
Cairo is a good place to start in Egypt. Cairo is a very big city and between the pyramids and the Alabaster Palace, you get to go from one side of Cairo to the other. Cairo itself is not a pretty city. Its varying stages of brown and exceedingly dirty. We were right at the end of the dry season too so everything was covered in layers of dirt and dust that get washed away with the first rains.
We ended up booking a restaurant overlooking the light show at the pyramids thinking it would be excellent. Turns out (while the restaurant won't tell you) that the light show has erected these giant mirrors so you can't see the light show from the restaurants that are trying to cash in on it. Thank goodness we mentioned to our guide where were planning on spending the evening. Well that's what we thought......
He insisted that a Nile dinner cruise would be ideal so we bit the bullet and booked one. Hmmm - think a floating ugly house boat with freezing cold air con on the "dinner" level, broken plastic chairs on the top "viewing" level, a meal that seems to be left overs from last night, invisible service and a fight to get ANY food at all. It was like the reverse best 50th ever. Thank god we had a sense of humour about it. From the very first step on to the wobbly gang plank we kind of knew this was going to be one of "those" stories.
But to people we don't know, we cruised the Nile for sunset for Les 50th birthday. To those of you who know us - what a piss poor way to celebrate half a century on this earth. Thank goodness the trip exceeded our expectations in every other way and lets face it - it's not worth it unless you have one food poisoning story....