Next stop is Luxor, a place where people referred as world’s most impressive open air museum, and even that an understatement. Luxor is a paradise of pharaonic temples and grandeur monuments – The spectacles of the ancient civilization. The setting of the city is perfect with the Nile river flowing in between, dividing it into west and east banks. Here are the temples that you must visit; Temple of Hatshepsut, Temple of Karnak, Valley of The Kings, Luxor Temple, The Ramesseum. We spent two nights there and staying at the beautiful Sofitel Legend Winter Place. I was so happy to be woken up into by birthday blowing candles, eating the surprise cake, and popping champagne from our balcony perched on the Nile River against the background of the valley of the kings with colorful hot-air balloons gracefully flying by. Then at 11.00 AM our driver from Nour El Nil cruise came to pick us up from our hotel, Sofitel Legend Winter Place. Birthday celebration continues on the cruise, I’m the luckiest!
On route to Nour El Nil Cruise, we drove from Luxor to Esna and visit The Temple of Khnum which used to be fully covered by sand as it is 9 meters below street level. After that we were taken to the pier to board our breathtakingly beautiful Meroe boat, the largest of Nour El Nil’s four dahabiyas. Meroe is the crown jewel of Nour El Nil offering guests with the most space cabin, lounging area, and the elegantly never-crowded deck. There were only 10 guests (us included) on board and we are being looked after by over 15 wonderful crew members. Some of the Egyptian hardest-to-reach natural wonders can only be seen by riverboat. On board we got to first handedly experienced beautiful ways of lives along the Nile. Chasing the sunset in majestic style from Esna to Aswan with these red and white stripes twin sails, opulent deck fills with daybeds and their matching pillows, colorful hammocks, Victorian style salon lit by dazzling chandeliers. Because of the shallow bottom hulls, Meroe can drift into hidden water areas larger boats cannot.
Another beautiful thing about Nour El Nil is its passengers. There is something about this cruise that draws amazing group of people together. We really enjoy the company from each and everyone of the people on board. Something you would never thought possible. The gourmet was fantastic, they kept all of us very well-fed all the way through. Kicking off your morning with freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly pressed coffee, warm French crepe with home made fresh fruit jams, cheese with baguette, eggs serving your style of choice, and my all-day-favorite their home made ice cream (You can ask the crew to make it with your favorite fruit, mine was Banana, Can I eat all of that by myself? hahaha It’s that great!!!). Then we’re off to daily adventure, once we are back there was fresh fruit juice of the day waiting for us – the truly refreshing lemonade (made with their special recipe), sugar cane juice (very exotic and traditional), and dome juice (this is the first time we’ve tried this and it got us hooked!). Lunch varies everyday but you can expect these daily “Tahini” (Our daily highlight) dipping this with bread/ putting in on the salad/ or anywhere really! Between lunch and dinner comes the tea time with the delicious pastries. Dinner varies everyday but you can expect 4 courses; Soup/ Entree/ Main Courses/ and Dessert. Again do ask for their home made ice cream! Nour El Nil is definitely the best and most exclusive luxurious boat cruising on the Nile. This is the reason we chose Nour El Nil.
After 6 days on the cruise we arrived at Aswan then we go straight to Sofitel Legend Cataract, this is definitely the most beautiful hotel in Aswan. Feeling the warmth of the Nubian desert upon our skin as you inhale the beauty of the might Nile. The food is fabulous. Classical al fresco dining at the terrace is a must, sipping your piña colada as you enjoy the view of Elephantine Island and Khnum Temple. Then cross the river to the Nubian village on Elephantine Island to cool down, stroll down the alleys, and get lost in the village. Our favorite experience is Animalia, The Nubian Village Museum. The owner is very kind and knowledgeable, we have learned so much but the Nubian beautiful culture. You are not pressed to buy the souvenir at the museum. And if you decided to buy some souvenir you can. It is the very first time we’ve seen that everything has fixed and reasonable price so no need to bargain your way through. After that hired a sailing boat to the sand dune where Kubbet el Hawa is. Climb up all the way to the top of the sand dune and voila the best view of Aswan is before your eyes. You must not miss this!
From Aswan we traveled back to Cairo, it is finally time to visit the city and wrap up our explore mission through Egypt. There are many places to visit but our favorites (besides Giza Pyramid and The Step Pyramids) are The Egyptian Museum, Khan el-Khalili (Night Bazaar Market), Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Egyptian is definitely a safe destination to travel to , many wonders await for your to discover, and a perfect plan to explore the ancient history. We are still in awe with everything we saw and did. Thank you for such a wonderful experience. We will miss you Egypt, until we meet again.