Journal: Monday 14 November 2005
Another year, another trip to Egypt, this time with a group of five friends from our Egyptology discussion group. The itinerary has been organised by my good friend Sam and we are all looking forward to some interesting discussions between us in situ at the sites, rather than the ‘armchair Egyptology’ we have enjoyed over the past year. My travelling companions this year are Sam, Jim and Jane, Malcolm and Fiona.
Our group met up at Heathrow airport for the weekly Monday Egypt Air flight to Luxor, which for once left almost on time. We even managed to get seats fairly close together and spent most of the comfortable flight chattering excitedly about our plans. Because we had all been to Egypt before, we knew what to expect and I think we all have our own agendas about where we want to go and what our priorities are.
We finally arrived and got through Luxor airport by 10.00pm. As always, as I left the aircraft, the warm Egyptian night air enveloped me with the unmistakable smells and sounds of Luxor. Although it’s November the night was still mild and the distant orange glow in the sky that is Luxor town was beckoning. In the terminal building we bought our visas and collected our luggage without too much of a scrum. Abdul, our faithful driver, was waiting outside in the car park to pick us up us in a minibus he has organized which is ideal for a group trip, and we spent some time admiring it enthusiastically. Another twenty minutes and Abdul had dropped us off at our hotel.
This year we are staying at the New Winter Palace on the Corniche. Although I’ve been into both the Old and New Winter Palace many times, I’ve never stayed here before and I am quite impressed by the standard of the hotel room. We got a really good deal on the flight and accommodation and I’m sharing a room with Fiona, which helps enormously with the cost of the holiday. Although I do like my own space when I’m away, I am always penalised as a single traveller in hotel rooms. Our room is at the back of the hotel with a long balcony overlooking the gardens – a wide expanse of vivid green lawns and palm trees. It’s great to be back!