We are traveling on an 11-day cruise and tour of Egypt, one of the places that’s been on my bucket list for a long time. So come with me and allow me to transport you to the mystical land of Egypt, where ancient history and modern life merge seamlessly. We’ll start with three days on land in and around Cairo, along the lower Nile River. Then we’ll fly to Luxor, farther up the Nile and board our AmaWaterways cruise for seven nights.
We start with the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. This place that’s nestled in the heart of Cairo is a treasure trove of artifacts that will take you on a journey through the ages. It’s like the ultimate treasure hunt for history buffs. With over 120,000 ancient artifacts, it's like a giant playground for anyone who loves old stuff. There are mummies and statues and ancient burial tombs everywhere you look, and the hieroglyphics on the walls are like something out of a sci-fi movie. We marvel at the beauty of the Golden Mask of Tutankhamun and stand in awe before the Colossal Statue of Amenhotep III. But let me tell you, there's some creepy stuff too. You might have to hide behind your spouse when you see the human and animal remains at the museum. But don't worry, it's all in good fun.
You could spend a couple of hours or a couple of days here (we opt for a couple of hours). Now just fair warning, as you leave the museum, like any good museum you have to go through the “gift shop”. Here you can pick up everything from postcards to replica artifacts to mugs and t-shirts. In fact, I’d just call it the "ancient Egyptian Walmart".
After a great lunch at the Nile Ritz Hotel, we visit the Citadel of Salah Eldin, a magnificent fortress that has stood the test of time in the heart of Cairo. This grand structure was built by the legendary Salah Eldin in the 12th century as a defense against the invading Crusaders. Today, it serves as a testament to the rich history and culture of Egypt. It has huge, imposing walls and towers, ancient mosques and museums.
Here, the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali is a unique gem in the heart of Cairo. It was actually built to compete with the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, Turkey. It seems Egypt and Turkey were always competing! It has towering minarets and white façade, and upon entering, you'll be greeted by a grand courtyard. The interior of the mosque is just as breathtaking, with intricate tilework and ornate calligraphy adorning the walls and ceiling, as well has 365 light globes hanging from the high ceiling.