J&E Petra to the Pyramids Sept. 26th 2021 tour. My experience....... By Mil.



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    edited October 2021

    People with iPhones, don’t forget you have the facility to take panorama photos. When we have been taking them on tour, some people had no idea you can do this. If I could figure out how to access them from my phone to show you, I would.

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    edited October 2021

    Finally figured it out, here’s a quick one

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    Mil...I did carry a DSLR took 2 lenses, wide angle & oom, which was the one I used most. But if I get next year the Iphone 13 I will leave camera home... to heavy

    British...People with iPhones, don’t forget you have the facility to take panorama photos. When we have been taking them on tour, some people had no idea you can do this

    Mil & British...I've always taken my DSLR (heavy) camera on tours and the last few years have started to complain to myself of how heavy it is to carry. I decided to purchase a lens that had both wide and zoom capability which at least limited the number of lenses I carry, but it still has some weight.

    Way back in 2020 when I first booked this tour, I contemplated getting the iPhone11 Pro because it had a nice camera that was great in low light conditions. I hesitated because of fear the battery life on iPhone wouldn't last the entire day - even with an extra battery pack (Mil indicated there are outlets on the coaches, so I guess battery power wouldn't be much of an issue). Also, you never want to miss that great shot where a zoom lens would capture it best.

    My trip to Singapore was the only trip taken where I only used a small Sony pocket size digital camera. It worked just fine; however, I realize the sights to capture in Singapore pale in comparison to what I will want to capture in Jordan and Egypt.

    Now Mil has stated she would leave the DSLR home in the future and just use the iPhone.
    **Mil **do you feel you could capture the shots you took with your zoom lens with the iPhone. I know this is a personal choice, but the thought of leaving the heavy DSLR home is liberating. B)

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    We have panorama photos that of equivalent views of what you will see in Egypt. We generally take our DSLR cameras on big trips. In Africa, I’d be afraid of dropping my iPhone. And just recently in Cape Cod, I so wished we had taken our cameras because I was taking photos of seals over a deck and was so afraid of dropping my phone on the sea, that I didn’t want to lean over so much. I do have a rubber contraption on a neck strap especially for photo taking, but did not have it with me.

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    edited October 2021

    Here is a link, I hope

    Gear Beast Cell Phone Lanyard - Universal Neck Phone Holder w/ Card Pocket and Silicone Neck Strap - Compatible with Most Smartphones, Arcadia

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    Hello AlanS.
    so, question #1
    . Yes, the cruising to Kom and Edfu started around 5:30 am- we docked some where in between, so the guess could sleep; we docked around 10:00 pm at the unknown port. .. next morning we docked at the port on time... No commentaries while cruising, but on day 8th during our leisure time at the pool, general manager Shamdin did showed us a site that was of great importance to the Egyptians... I cannot recall the name.. I know I wrote it, somewhere.

    2 I cannot answer... I have no Idea, I haven't done any river cruises before.

    3 not really- it looks super busy, but in reality doesn't feel like it , of course weather will be a factor... for us it wasn't too hot.

    4 too far.

    5 Yes, disappointing.. I would have taken Amazing pics. the colors are incredible and almost perfect shape.

    6 photo stop at Hatshepsut's temple in Deir el Bahari, YES! 5 min.

    7 -suites are at the Old Cataract hotel, NO!, hotel has 82 suites - they remodel the hotel and now it's "only suites" most of all facing the Nile.

    8 Lolol!! not if you do all the walking we did.

    9 Yes on both countries... and they did work very well.

    10 heads up, if you're using your phone.. it is open photography as long as there's no flash. If you are using a camera, most places will charge you about $20 , the TD will always advice and will buy tickets for you. No Tauck doesn't cover cost.

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    not sure why everything is in Capitals..... maybe I do need glasses. :) AlanS, I hope this helped.

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    edited October 2021

    Mil - I'll bet you typed your response to Alan's questions outside the forum and then cut and pasted into the forum. Something in that process likely resulted in the large font.

    AlanS - Anywhere in your planning spreadsheet have you calculated how many seconds of just relaxation time you will have for things like enjoying a drink in a bar or on your deck, etc. I'm sure it is less than 3600 (one hour) otherwise you would find something else for the TD to arrange for you to go see. :D

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    edited October 2021

    Smiling Sam HI!
    well... I can assure you, there was always time for drinks . We had a micro-group of 6 friends travelling together- 3 couples, that you could find them at the bar.. every single arrival or departure time.... of course they were always on time.. the TD just had to go and get them.. :))
    Fun group!

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    Bravo Mil. Thank you so much for your amazing trip report and photos. This just proves that Tauck does an exceptional job with their tour and taking care of their customers. While Egypt and Jordan are not currently on my bucket list, too many other countries I want to visit first, this was indeed an incredible tour. I was exhausted just reading about everything that you did plus the amazing Hotels and food.

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    Thanks again.

    You may be able to fix the font in your earlier post- go into edit (little gear icon at the right of your post), and see if there are any strange formatting symbols at the beginning of the larger text and delete them- it looks like you entered a hastag symbol which yields a "Heading 1" sized font (see "Test" below. The formatting option is listed under the paragraph tool). You can also copy the text from your post, and post it again over the original (or in a new post then delete the original.) If it doesn't work just exit the edit without saving.

    Smiling Sam
    11:12AM edited 11:31AM
    Anywhere in your planning spreadsheet have you calculated how many seconds of just relaxation time you will have for things like enjoying a drink in a bar or on your deck, etc. I'm sure it is less than 3600 (one hour) otherwise you would find something else for the TD to arrange for you to go see.

    Finding time for drinks is no problem unless it is Coke, Dr. Pepper, or Ginger Ale- I'm not a drinker, quit a few years after college.

    I'll rest between eyes closed at night and eyes open in the morning! :D Remember, this is not a vacation, it is an adventure. I can rest when I get home! :D

    I'll spend free time aboard ship planning, organizing photos, in the pool, and if needed napping. :)


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    Mil: I just downloaded all of your video attachments. OMG, what an amazing adventure and to be invited to a wedding and also receive gifts. This is a once in a lifetime surprise event that doesn't happen too often. The wedding looked amazing and I loved the music and energy. Thanks again for posting your report plus the amazing images and videos.

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    edited October 2021

    Day 9th:
    Busy day... but also very interesting and educational.

    Now.. Valley of the Kings, which it was closed to the public and all for our selves. Yahoooooo

    The Valley of the Kings is a burial ground for pharaohs who ruled Egypt during the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (the New Kingdom of Egypt). Famous kings from this time period include Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Tuthmosis III, and Seti I

    We visited 3 tombs and Tut's as the last.. Now I'm 100% sure of the name of the last tomb-Tomb of King Merenptah.
    He was the son of king Ramsses II (The Great). Tomb number KV13 .Per the TD confirmation.. (thanks David)
    This tomb it's the one closest to Tut's ...one that you go up the hill- enter and them 5-6 floors down, which is not a problem till you have to go up out again.. not everyone visit this one.. and there wasn't any sign visible... but it was beautiful inside.

    Pics to follow... I'm at work and having issues to upload them... LOLOL!

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    If it was KV9 it may have been for both Ramesses V & VI.

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to an excellent illustrated article about many of the VOK tombs: https://www.planetware.com/egypt/thebes-valley-of-the-kings-egy-qena-valkng.htm

    FYI, KV5 which belonged to the sons of Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great) is still being excavated- at least 130 rooms or chambers have been discovered as of 2006 (only about 7% of which have been cleared). It is not open and excavations are continuing.

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    Those of you who are really into King Tut might find this book interesting, I read it a few years ago, her husband was The Lord Caernarvon and their are details about his adventures in it.


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    Okay here are the Tombs we visited... @ the Valley of the Kings. I could not make it happen at work! to busy....
    we visited Ramses III, Ramses IX and The Tomb of King Merenptah ( who was the son of King Ramses II ( The great) KV13

    Ramses III


    remember as you go down... you'll have to go up... to exit the tomb- It almost killed me - It's about 5 floors down.

    ** video as I go towards the entrance... my comment in Spanish is.. another Tomb, here we go.. they are going to kill us... :) **


    ** as we go in... **


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    next... Day 10th.
    Depart to Cairo..

    Warning! security still as tough as all the privious ones... which I totally appreciate, I want to be safe...

    BUT! the airlines will do anything to get your money..and here was the worst one.... the airline will charge you $30.00 per suitcase.. the allowance regarless the weight it's * 1 * only 1 suitcase per person....
    there was a couple that has 7! , now those should pay... that is just wrong! 7 suitcases for a trip of 13 days, not even Elizabeth Taylor..... :0000

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    Did the TD or guide mention (with the exception of Tut) whether the site manager rotates the selection of the 3 tombs open to after hours groups?

    Since you had a warm-up you needed a bigger physical challenge- tighter corridors and steeper ramps. I will be interested to hear if you got tombed out in the VOQ and if you were given the opportunity, whether you entered any of the pyramids and mastabas at Giza or Saqqara. :D

    Was that Tut or a lookalike? I understand there has been an ongoing debate (battle) between the Supreme Council of Antiquities and local officials in the Luxor Governorate over where Tut will lie in state after the GEM opens. I don't know why they just can't pull a Disney. Who would ever know? :)

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    we have arrived- Cairo here we come......
    First impressions.. lot's of traffic- crazy driving, super crowded and in the city center.. Dirty. But the locals are alive, happy to see you, friendly a super funny! Habibi.

    Yalah Yalah Habibi!! let's continue... here we got the police to escort us while driving in Cairo, once we cross to Giza no one would escort us.. Giza is rural... you see animals everywhere as vias of transportation- horses, camels, dunkeys you will see.
    I personally love it , you feel the energy... it's intense. again the people super lovely and not to say the great photographic opportunities... I love taking pics of locals, so I was in heaven.
    So, as we drive... everyone was waiting for the first glimpse of the girls... Yes, The Pyramids... and as it happen you could hear the Ahhh's, the Wao's and the clicks or many cameras ...

    Heads up- it is very difficult to take pics from the bus... the drivers are always speeding to avoid traffic...

    So here we go... first visit the Old Egyptian Museum...
    there was more people around... must with masks.. we enter easily and proceded with security-
    phone photografy is free- Camera you need a ticket- leave camera on the bus.. if you're not planning on using it.. cus they will send you to the locker room.. free of charge. You must leave it.
    Masks are mandatory... but there is always those ones.... so keep your mask on, the local tour guide is pretty good keeping the group apart but still , leave mask on..


    Also, FYI Tut's mask is here.. as well as some funiture and jewels , so there is some nice pieces to see.

    as we where done with the exhibits we exited the museum and were given some time to shop at the museum store.. than proceded to go across the sterrt to the Ritz- for lunch. Buffet style - great food Amazing dessert!


    Once done with lunch..
    we drove infront of the infamous GEM! ... to be honest I kind of didn't care - didn't feel anything for it .. too much wait...
    it gets old and disappointing....

    and contibue to the hotel, we got to the hotel and proceedded to our rooms, all of them with Pyramids view.. but definitely aa tourist style Marriott hotel... and service is accordingly...

    I was told that at some point Tauck groups where staying at the Four Seasons.. I which they would.. I much rather wake up early to drive to the pyramids.. but stay in a fab. hotel.. than looking at he Pyramids while waiting 20min. for a coffee or having someone come to repair the AC- to cool, to hot! and even couple changed rooms 3 times.... gift shop not so good...
    Breakfast cereal in a box.. no basics... but on the possitive side the hotel is Beautiful!

    Next Day 11Th...
    Visiting the Pyramids

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    edited October 2021

    AlanS Habibi!
    it is Tut himself :) not Mickey Mouse... very small ... and as we were told.. they cannot removed him, cus who ever burried cut him in parts.. so if it get removed it will fall a part.... Again this is what we were told. by local guide inside the VK.

    By the way VK stand for Valley King - VK13- VK62 , thats how they keep records of the location of the Tombs.
    Yes, we were given the option to enter the Pyramids... I did not go in... some people did.

    Did the TD or guide mention (with the exception of Tut) whether the site manager rotates the selection of the 3 tombs open to after hours groups?
    No, they didn't say anything about rotating the tombs.. we'll only know as people do post which ones they saw.
    The VK doesn't open to any other company after hours.... only TAUCK. lovely!

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    edited October 2021

    Day 11th...

    another bucket list day ...for most.
    Of course... Tauck Style ! we were the first ones in..... bottle of water, camera, masks, glasses, hat, whispers.... did I missed something? Life of a tourist.... it's complicated. :))

    vendors!! the Americans are coming!! Habibi americans Habibi!! $1 scarfs, $1 magnets $1 hats... but don't get anywhere near the Camels next or infront of the Pyramid.. if you take a photo of them or a guy takes it ( u & the camel) that will be $10.
    We love you Americans!!... well yes, they love you dollars... but remember.. they are trying to survive... I instead of getting mad,i smiled at them and gave then the $1.00 HABIBI!

    this one with my mom wanted $15. I told him to call Brad Pitt ,I would give him the $15.... :) ... nothing for him...

    the tour guard... basictly became my mom's bodyguard.
    after spending some time right next to the main Pyramids and one the group was back together... some people went inside the Pyramid.. (xtra ticket to enter) Tour guide will ask and buy tickets for both to enter and for camera fee.
    we went behind the Pyramids to a close location inside the complex where the Camels and some vendors are... but unfortunately the Camel mafia (2 Famiglias) started fitting about us, cus our guide wanted to go with the same guide always used... and he though the opposite side was monopolizing the business.... the policy came.. the guard left my moms back and went to help.. tour guide was yelling in Egyptian.. could not understand a word .. and TD ran to the bus... he would not get in the middle... smart! and of course while all this was happening a pulled my camera... great shots!

    one camel lord
    the naughty one..
    the son! HABIBI!!!

    tomorrow more to come from the Pyramids to the Sphinx and to Saqqara for unch and another Pyramid...
    at night the Lights and Sound show- offer as an options for those that would like to do more..

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    Mil, this is great, your enthusiasm makes me laugh. But tell me, you took more than one suitcase I guess! Tauck stipulates take one suitcase, naughty!

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    Mil, I really appreciate all the information you've provided! I can't wait until my trip in 2022. Question about the bags - when you say one bag, is that a checked bag? Are you allowed a handbag or other small carryon bag?

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    edited October 2021

    British hi!
    I started with 3 suitcases ( checked bags) between my mother & I- with one carryon. came back with 4 suitcases and 1 carry on.. we paid only $30.00 to the airline because of the 3rd bag.... the 4th bag ( Tauck-Africa Duffel Bag) we pulled out at the end forthe Cairo-Dubai flight ,Emirates ( allowance is 2 -50lb checked bags per passenger) .Yes, Tauck allowance is 1 suitcase, but no one really does it... What are they going to do?... 1 couple had 7 bags. :) plus the bags were Mid-sizes... and onder 40 lb.
    also it was a group of 16 people... I'm sure the buses had the space to accommodate. :))

    Mimitravels Hello .
    So to clarified.. i'm talking checked bags.. Egyptian Air allows only 1 checked bag per person, I ask them about the weight, the counter guy told me... don't care about the weight it's only one piece.. and you can paid with cash or plastic.
    a small carryon it's fine.

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    7 suitcases?! Were they bringing some mummies home in them?

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    BKMD HI!
    The couple was going to London for few days and then back home..... I could not believe it.. but TD told me he has seen worse...

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    I have read that the internal Egyptair flights have limited overhead storage space - that the large wheeled carryon bags do not fit. Some folks then have to check an additional bag.

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    Lotusgirl hi!
    In my experience.. with a mid size carryon.. I had no problem and it went up into the overhead space.
    Normally, in other countries.. people do use the carryon as they were meant to... no big overloaded backpacks like here in US.

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    Mil and I discussed her experience with the camel (mafia :D ) guys and vendors, but I thought I would post my info here because it may
    be useful for future Taucktourians to know.

    The camel herders and other vendors who work around the pyramids on the Giza plateau have been really upset and staged a number of protests because the government tore down their houses/neighborhood (slum?) at the north end of the Giza plateau- to beautify the area and clear the sight line between the pyramids on the plateau and the GEM!!!! (You can see the difference if you Google the Giza Plateau and look at before and after photos of the area. There are also numerous plans to build high-end hotels and restaurants in the area. The title of the person in charge of the museum construction says a lot- Major General Atef Moftah, the General Supervisor of the GEM Project and Surrounding Area

    The government gave the residents no choice in the matter and while they compensated them by building and giving them new homes, the new houses are located farther away from the pyramids where they work.

    Here is a link to an article about it: https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2019/01/egypt-cairo-giza-campaign-development-displacement.html

    A sporting (gun) club and dwellings were removed from the circled area:

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