Aswan is my most favorite city in Egypt, “ Home of the Nubians”. This is where I feel most at home. It has it all for me : The warm and friendly people – “my cousins, the Nubians”, the food – I swear the best chefs in Egypt get down right here, great accommodations – I love being on Elephantine Island at the Movenpick Aswan Resort and last but not least, the unparalleled relaxation is second to none. My biggest regret is that it has taken me 6 years to return for visit #3.
There is no question this country has had more than their fair share of internal political problems. The problems that keep tourists away. Tourism, one of their leading sources of income was at its peak in 2010 with 14 million visitors compared to Paris with 8 million. Since then it has declined severely, impacting the livelihood of so many. Some years ago, a taxi driver in Jamaica said to me, “ We know when Kat brings her groups here, there will be food on our table”. I’m happy that we are here in Egypt making a difference. I would love to bring a group here a few times a year but for now, the next tour is scheduled for Nov 5-19, 2019. The team I’ve worked with throughout the country from Upper Egypt to Lower Egypt since 2011 are top notch providing the best of everything, including “safety first”.
After, saying goodbye to the wonderful crew on the Royal Lotus, luggage loaded on the bus; we headed to the landing to board a ferry that would take us on a 10 minute ride to our hotel, Movenpick Aswan Resort. Everyone seemed to be excited about their accommodations with their spectacular Nile views. The layout of the property and the landscaping of the grounds is fabulous. Since my last visit they have added a new building which appears to be a separate hotel, they have their own everything. You know I was curious and had to take a look. The best thing going for them is that it’s brand new but in my opinion lacking warmth and ambiance, it’s a bit sterile and the rooms are on the small side. Thank you, New Bldg 2, but I’m standing pat.
Many were looking forward to visiting the Nubian Village. It was quite an educational experience but can be a challenge getting there if one has mobility issues. We traveled by falluca and then transferred to a larger boat, then trekking through sand and gravel to reach one of the homes. I vividly remember visiting in 2012, the ground was muddy that day and that was the end of my Louis Vuitton sandals and my white fit was definitely done for the day. The Nubians in the village speak a dialect of the many Nubian languages
Day 2 the group visited the Nubian museum and the Unfinished Obelisk. I decided I would sit this one out and wait til it’s “finished”. I was anxious to spend the day at our gorgeous pool and then down to the lower level for my Swedish massage. Planning for the remaining time in Aswan was done over a late lunch with our guide, Mo.
A word about Mohamed Mansour, “Mo”… a licensed Egyptologist, an historian and an all around great human being. He goes above and beyond what his duties are as a guide. He’s been with this group since day 1, beginning with presenting each Lady with a rose as we left the airport. Before leaving the cruise, Zandra Harris wanted to add to his tips and others followed suit. At our last group dinner, Joey Smith had words and they presented Mo with a cute little box filled with US dollars and Egyptian Pounds; Mo, who was sitting at my table, was deeply touched by this act of kindness. He said to me, “I feel strange accepting this. You don’t take tips from your family”. I look forward to working with him again next year.
Today is the optional tour to Abu Simbel (the temples of Ramses II and 1st Royal wife Nefertari). Quite a magnificent site to behold!
When we leave Aswan Monday, we fly back to Cairo for a one night stay in Heliopolis so we will be close to the airport for our flight back to New York. I’m sad already… I love it here and can’t wait to return. There is still very limited space if you plan to join us next year. Surprise: There will be an optional 3 night tour to the Holy Land. It’s only a mere 1 hr flight away.
Well my friends, Hopefully, you enjoyed this journey through the land of the Pharoahs. In 2 weeks, we’ll be in Dubai. See you then,
Peace and blessings