We left a drizzly grey Gatwick in the morning and 5 hours later we were coming into land with clear blue skies, the desert one side and the lush Nile valley the other.
Then the problems started - we got in the wrong queue at immigration. We needed to buy the visa first - this is supposed to be $15 but we paid $18. Everybody seemed to be paying differing amount but $18 was the minimum, this was our 'welcome to Egypt'. We went outside to find a sign for Champion but for the wrong hotel. After much messing around, I checked my email and realised it was the right hotel. I'm going senile and got confused. Needless to say the tour group was less than impressed with it's leader - mutterings about a coup!
The taxi taking us suddenly turned down a back street, not paved. Suddenly at the end of it was our hotel. We need not have panicked as the place was delightful. We settled in and had a walk to see the Nile and Luxor temple and had dinner with a view over the Nile.
The next day, our 1st day of sightseeing, we had an early breakfast and off to the ferry. (We are staying on the west bank and the city is on the east bank.) We walked along the Cornice to Karnak temple, past all the cruise ships. These looked a motley set apart from the very flash Abercrombie and Kent boat.
Karnak temple was amazing - a huge site with huge statues and columns with amazing carvings. We had expected it to be short on statues as most of them seemed to be in the British museum but not a bit of it. We were all truly impressed. There was however a little piece of discord in the Gornall household - they had lost the guide book and recriminations followed - this is only day 1!
We then had a walk back into town following the avenue of Sphinxes that is being restored. It will link Karnak with the temple in Luxor. Here we managed to be picked up by a mentally disturbed chap who kept demanding money - the other Egyptians were quite cruel to him - not a nice experience. We found our way into the souq which was very clean (for the tourists) but the guys in it had the normal patter. Ken got his shoes shined - agreed a price of £E5 - then told at the end this was per shoe!
Next was the Luxor temple - again an amazing site. I got accosted to give an interview by people who said they were from Egyptian television - Ken thought it was a scam but it didn't seem to be.
It was then back on the ferry to our hotel and then to dinner on a terrace overlooking the Nile. The food was good but it was spoilt by a rat running up the wall - that was OK but there were explosions when one went just past Fran & Ken's elbow.
News was reaching from Cairo that there were riots and tomorrow was a big day with lots of demonstrations planned.