Abu Simbel temples, Ancient Egyptians, Aswan High Dam reservoir, Australia, Ayman, Cairo, Cleopatra, Egypt, Empress Eugenie, Galabeya Party, Giselle, Gods, Insight Vacations, Karnak Temple, Lake Nasser, Luxor, Luxor Temple, Mark Hastwell, Marriott Hotel, Maureen Van Metter, mummies, Napoleon, Nile, Pharaoh Ramesses II, pharaohs, Silver Award Winners, temples, Tour Director, Travellers Choice
Maureen Van Metter is Head of Marketing for Insight Vacations Australia.
As Head of Marketing for Insight Vacations Australia, I had the unique opportunity to experience the wonders and mystery of Egypt with a group of Australian travel agents, as well as valued Insight Vacations guests. Our goal as travel lovers was to discover this amazing destination for ourselves and dispel the negative media hype facing Egypt today.
I experienced some amazing highlights that will forever be remembered.
After a long and dusty journey from Australia we arrived at the Marriott Hotel, in Cairo. This impressive hotel housed European monarchs, including Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Today, the Palace is all that remains of the estate and many of its rooms and furniture have been restored to their original splendour. Sipping wine in the lovely garden setting enabled us to step back in time and ready us for our Nile journey ahead.
After flying to Luxor, we boarded our home for the next 4 nights – the MS Giselle! Talk about feeling like Cleopatra waiting for her Antony. After a sumptuous buffet lunch of almost everything you could imagine, we headed out to visit Karnak and the Luxor Temple. These structures really blew us away. How did the ancient Egyptians create such amazing monuments and temples for their Pharaohs and Gods?
On the journey our Tour Director, Ayman, kept us all enthralled by his stories and knowledge of Egyptian history and life. We were thrilled to visit this country at a time without the crowds and it felt like we were participating in history in the making.
There were so many sites that I will never forget – from the Sound and Light show at the Karnak Temple with the howling local dogs adding flavour to the show and the mummies at the Egyptian Museum.
A mesmerizing highlight of the journey, was a visit to Abu Simbel, two massive rock temples situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th-Century BC. However, in 1968, the complex was relocated in its entirety, set high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser. What a feat of engineering.
This remarkable trip to Egypt, not only brought the most incredible places to life and created memories to last forever, but the very best part were all the things that we experienced together that made us laugh ‘til we cried!