Hear about travel to Egypt as the Amateur Traveler talks to Sally Elbassir from PassportAndPlates.com about this unique and wonderful country.
Sally says, “I think that anybody who has ever studied history in the world is fascinated by the ancient Egyptians. It’s a bucket list place for many people. But I have to add that Egypt is really a country that has something for everyone. I think a lot of people don’t know that. Yes, it’s very rich in history, but at the same time, it also has beautiful beach resorts. If you are a diver, there’s tons of diving spots that are famous, really great food, just amazing culture, music, art. No matter what you’re interested in there’s something cool and fun to see there.”
Sally starts us in Cairo with the mandatory trip out to see the Pyramids of Giza. Egypt is in the process of moving the Egyptian Museum to Giza in the next couple of years, closer to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid.
Sally also recommends we visit Coptic Cairo with its churches like the Hanging Church as well as some of the must-see sites of Islamic Cairo like the Mohammad Ali mosque, the Cairo Citadel, and the bazaar of Khan el-Khalili. But she also recommends lesser-known sites like the Museum of Islamic Art, Al-Azhar Park, and the Palace of Mohamed Ali. Take the time to get out on the Nile on a felucca for a sunset cruise as well.
We debate seeing Egypt on your own vs taking a small group tour. Sally took a tour from Intrepid Travel in one of her recent visits and recommends having a guide as a way of enhancing your experience.
We then head up the Nile (down the map) to Upper Egypt. You can take a Nile River cruise, a plane, or an overnight train to reach the sites of Upper Egypt like Luxor and Aswan.
Some of the most interesting sites in Egypt can be found in and near Luxor including some amazing temples like the Luxor Temple or the Karnak Temple. Sally is less enchanted with the temple of Hatshepsut, even if she is interested in the story of ancient Egypt’s only female pharaoh. A stop at the Valley of the Kings is a must-see but unless you have more time you can probably skip the less-visited Valley of the Queens.
In Aswan, there is the dam itself to see but more interesting is a visit to a Nubian village.
Near Aswan, there are at least 3 temples that are significant and were relocated when the dam was built. The best known of these are the two Abu Simbel temples dedicated to the pharaoh Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari. These temples are over 3 and a half hours from Aswan, nearly at the other end of Lake Nassar and not far from the border with Sudan. They are worth the trip.
Another relocated temple worth seeing closer to Aswan is the Philae Temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. Getting there is half the fun as you must take a boat ride in a colorful boat to get to the temple.
We also talk about side trips to the Black and White desert, the diving spots, and the beaches on the Sanai Peninsula.
Egypt is a one-of-a-kind destination. If it is not already on your bucket list… why not?
right click here to download (mp3)
Old Kingdom of Egypt
Mohammad Ali Mosque
Wekalet El Ghouri Arts Center
Museum of Islamic Art
Intrepid travel Egypt
Palace of Mohamed Ali
Valley of the Kings
Colossi of Memnon
Abu Simbel temples
Black Desert (Egypt)
Blue Hole (Red Sea)
30+ Best Things to Do in Cairo, Egypt: The Ultimate Cairo Travel Guide
Places to Visit in Egypt – There is No Place Like Egypt
I am going to give you some feedback on two recent episodes.. As usual, enjoy your show and keep up the good work.
Just finished listening to the Kanchanaburi episode. I spent half a day there in January 2019. I wish I had more time but due to a number of constraints, I had to join a guided day-tour from Bangkok that made a stop at the Damnoen Floating Market en route. My interest is in WWII history and glad I made the trip. By the way, January is a great time to be in Thailand because its winter is dry, warm, and comfortable.
I did visit the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery that your guest Michael mentioned. Similar to other cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, a Cross of Sacrifice is surrounded by rows and rows of tombs.
I went to the JEATH (Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand, Holland) museum, the one that Michael didn’t recommend. He is correct that the museum is not well organized or curated. However, if you are interested in that part of history, there were plenty of artifacts to be discovered. For example, there was a room filled out with stacks and stacks of Japanese War Currency. Also, lots of newspaper clippings from that period.
Walking across the Bridge over River Kwai was surreal. In fact, this was my second visit to River Kwai. The first time was almost 30 years ago and I recalled having to step aside to a small platform in the middle of the bridge so that a train could pass!
I got a few ideas for my next visit to Wales.
Your guest didn’t mention two destinations in Wales that I think should be on the list for any bibliophiles: Hay-on-Wye and Gladstone Library
This small town is known for its bookstores. Since the advent of online booksellers, the number of bookstores has gone down to only 20+. The main one is housed in an old castle. Every June, Hay-on-Wye hosts a Book Festival. The town is a popular spot for day-trippers. To experience the tranquil morning before the arrival of day-trippers is worth staying overnight.
Second is The Gladstone’s Library.
Gladstone’s Library is located in Hawarden in North Wales. I took a train from London to the town of Chester and hopped on a local bus to get there.
As a former librarian, it was a dream come true to be able to spend a couple of nights in a library. One of the privileges of staying at Gladstone’s is visiting the reading room in the evening. Gladstone’s also has a lovely gourmet restaurant and there is a local pub just down the road.
Please take our listener survey