Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cheap Flights to Egypt

I just had two people arrive tonight who booked at the last minute using the link on my website They got return flights for £175 GBP which made a trip to Egypt the best value holiday you can get. With winter weather hitting the UK and people looking for a bit of winter sunshine it seems booking at the last minute can get you some great bargains.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The House of Companions Abydos

I have blogged this on my Luxor News blog when I read about it through Iris. she is a Dutch resident in Luxor and has a blog Hidden Egypt. She reported her visit there and it sounds wonderful.

So now you can actually stay the night there. There are 6 rooms including a triple. The price is 150LE for a single room and 250LE for a double and that includes meals. I have the contact details of the owner Amir and he speaks good English and seems quite friendly.

So now there are more options about visiting Abydos

Road convoy with 90 minutes in the temple

Train travel with half a day in the temple

Overnight with travel there being by road with the convoy or by train.

Isn't great to have some choices at last

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Birkbeck Egyptologists recommend Flats in Luxor

Birkbeck Egyptologists Service 1 Comment from a Birbeck College student

REVIEW: Flats in Luxor - When I was in Luxor this March, I stayed in one of Jane Akshar's flats on the West Bank. We had a fabulous balcony with views of the Theban Hills and plenty of room - the flat sleeps 6 people. Having stayed in hotels in the past, I found that having your own space after a day of tombs and temples was wonderful! There are plenty of places to eat in the village, the ferry was a short walk away and there was no problem getting a taxi to pick us up each morning. Jane Akshar can also arrange trips, guides and taxis for you. Link to Flat's in Luxor website ( Jane, March 2007)

Swimming pool update - painting the wall

We are getting our painter Sherban to paint the walls of the swimming pool. I love what he is doing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Donkey Ride over the Ridge

One of our most popular family tours isthe Donkey Ride over the Ridge. We have had everyone from 4 year olds to 80 year olds do this trip and everyone seems to enjoy it. The views are spctacular. Here is an old story of mine originally published on Tour Egypt giving my view of the experience.

I now know where the expression, "walk like an Egyptian", come from. Whoever first said it almost certainly had taken the donkey ride over the ridge on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes), Egypt. It is an amazing experience following in the steps of the workman that built the tombs on their daily commute from their homes at Deir El Medina on one side of the mountain to the Valley of the Kings on the other side.

We started really early as it is much cooler then and easier on both man and beast. I had asked for and been promised a nice quiet animal. It had to be very strong as well as I am no light weight. I went with my daughter and some friends and we started at my home on the West Bank of Luxor. The donkey man, Ashraf, managed to get us all on board which was an accomplishment in itself. My saddle seemed to be really insecure but off we went. This is an amazing way to travel with the soft clip clop of the donkey's little hooves plodding along. Exchanging greetings with locals on their way to work, we got to the cross roads where the big tours busses have right of way. Well actually they didn’t because our donkeys were determined to keep on going and we couldn’t stop them. The policeman was in fits of laughter as he stopped all the big coaches so this group of middle aged ladies on uncontrollable donkeys went across. Our guide was laughing too hard to be of use. Actually he told me afterwards he always lets that happen because the guests enjoy it.

We went passed the Colossus of Memnon and up to the workman’s village at Deir El Medina. One can appreciate the site of Amenhotep III's mortuary temple so much better from this vantage point and we were going slow enough to take note of all the current excavation work. It was very interesting.

At Deir El Medina we started ascending the mountain. The donkeys needed little guiding as they had done this route many, many times, which was just as well because hanging on required all my concentration. The path ascended quite quickly and within a few minutes one can see the village laid out beneath. It is truly an amazing way to view this site, looking almost like a plan drawing.

Just to the right looking back one could see the Valley of Queens and even in the distance the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. Only 10 minutes and already we had fantastic views. However, the ascent started getting steeper and my saddle more insecure. Whoops I started to slip and gracefully, I like to think, descended to the ground. I told the guide that saddle was wrong and we got it sorted out and were off again.

There were a couple of places where we had to get off and lead the donkeys but we were able to ride most of the way. There were some people doing the same route by foot, which if one is young and active is a great alternative, but I am neither, so I was sticking to my donkey. Well at least I was trying to. It was interesting to think about treading in the footsteps of the tomb builders who traveled the same route so many thousands of years ago. One wondered if those steps cut in the rock were from ancient times. The views were spectacular, the landscape and in the distance a hazy glimpse of cultivation. But it was the sites that I couldn’t get over. We had already seen Medinet Habu, Deir El Medina and the Valley of Queens, and wasn’t that the Ramasseum in the distance. Down below us there was the temple of Hatshepsut and to the side the Valley of the Kings.

Actually at the top one realizes the relationship between the Valley of the Kings and Deir El Bahri much more clearly. It is only a short distance between the two. It made it much easier to understand the relationship between Hatshepsut’s tomb and her temple. The Valley lay beneath our feet and we could see what looked like small ants scurrying around going into tombs, the entrances of which we could see clearly. On the other side we could look straight down on the top terrace of Hatshepsut's temple and the ramps of the lower levels.

At the top my daughter amused herself looking for fossils and we found loads. At this point the donkeys left us as it is very steep. They descended by themselves in no time but we took ages as we walked down by the side of Hatshepsut's temple getting the most fantastic views. Stumbling across rock cut tombs and small burial pits, we found even more fossils and came back with bulging pockets.

I guess one could call this trip the poor man’s balloon ride as the views we got were similar but the price was a lot cheaper. Of course, the tour took a little longer than the balloon rides as well, which themselves take only a little more than an hour.

But we hadn’t finished, we now went back through the villages and roads with the donkeys picking up pace as they sensed their stable lay ahead. Our feeble cries of “hush hush” had no affect and actually we were a lot more confident by this time and rather enjoyed racing along in our donkey derby, though I can't say now who won..

But I know I am going to regret it tomorrow, my poor muscles, yes I shall definitely be walking like an ancient Egyptian.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Flats in Luxor has listing on Trip Advisor

At last Trip Advisor has responded to my requests for an inclusion on their listings page. I am wanted to get on totally legitimately and not get round things by pretending I was a hotel and not flats. So after a lot of lobbying by myself and you my guests I have a listing.

Flats in Luxor Trip Advisor Listing

Now it is just about my flats so if you had a fantastic felucca holiday then if you want to add a review you must do an honest appraisal of the flats even if you were only there for a cup of tea after a tour (no harm in adding a btw we also did xyz with Jane and Mahmoud). Loads of you have done great reviews on the forums and if you added then to our listing I would be so grateful.

And thank you, all of you for all the lovely things you have said and please know it makes a terrific difference to our business.