Bucket List: The term for all of the things that we hope to have done before we, well, you know, kick the bucket. We have talked to a ton of travelers through our years of GypsyNesting, and one place inevitably appears on almost every single one of their pre-last waltz wish lists, Egypt, especially the Nile.
With Memphis Tours we have found a way to make that dream a reality. Their Nile River Cruise is perhaps the best possible way to see both the incredible ruins of Ancient Egypt and modern life along the banks of the river.
We can say this because we have sailed on countless river cruises over the past few years, and they have become by far our favorite way to travel. We love the comfort and convenience of not scrambling to catch planes, trains, and busses to get to every new destination, and especially never having to pack and unpack each time we move on.
We are also convinced that there is no better way to experience both the cities and the countryside. The waterways usually flow directly through the heart of the towns, allowing the ships to dock right in the center of everything. This makes them a perfect home base for exploring.
And away from the cities the boat glides quietly past scenic landscapes, often far from the noisy hustle and bustle of the highways. That means a peaceful passage and great photo opportunities.
All over the world civilizations formed along rivers, and no place is that more significant than Egypt. The Nile is truly the artery that has brought life to this land for millennia.
There is nowhere that this is more apparent than Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes. Because of the many temples on both sides of the river it is often called “world’s greatest open-air museum.”
The temple that gave the city its name was built around 1400BC, but the area was already well established long before then. Early construction on the nearby Karnak Temple likely began some thousand years prior.
Just outside of the city, the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens are some of the most significant burial sites anywhere in the ancient world.
Scores of tombs belonging to royalty, including pharos and queens from the seventeenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt, were discovered. Perhaps the most famous of these was King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, but Ramesses II and his wife Queen Nefertari were also interred here.
Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, is often portrayed as the pharaoh of the Exodus, most notably in the movie The Ten Commandments. The idea persists even though there is no archaeological evidence to definitively determine which ruler actually opposed Moses.
But because he was one of the Egyptian Empire’s longest reigning pharos and the timing is plausible, there is a reasonable chance it is true, so we could hardly consider the box on our bucket list checked without seeing his temple too.
With its iconic statues of huge seated figures on the face of the shrine, this is certainly one of Egypt’s most famous landmarks and luckily there is no problem getting there, the boat can float right to it on Lake Nasser.
Among all of these ancient wonders, the lake stands out as a modern marvel. When the Aswan Dam was completed in 1970 it not only controlled flooding on the mighty river, it created one of the world’s largest man-made lakes.
The lake covers an area that was once part of Ancient Nubia, a lesser known civilization that at one time rivaled Egypt as the supreme power of the region, and Memphis Tours Nile River Cruise visits some of its ruins as well.
It is discoveries like this that manage to keep us from ever finishing our list. It is always growing with the more we travel and learn.
But we still have hope that we might see it all before we pack our last suitcase, cash in our chips, sleep with the fishes, bite the dust, shuffle off this mortal coil, buy the farm, push up daisies… you know, kick the bucket.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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