Cyprus Life – in pictures

My new life in Cyprus in images and words. I'm a British 50 something female, originally from a small mill town in Heywood, Lancashire (United Kingdom) and came to live in Limassol, Cyprus in March 2004. This is my photo blog about my new life as an expat on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Plus other things which catch my attention every once in a while…. Enjoy!

Luxor – excursions, places or recommended companies.

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Following on from our visit to Luxor, Egypt in September 2010 here is a list of the excursions we did and our recommendations.

Sindbad Hot Air Balloons – booked through a Ahmed Balal, a local agent.
Cost: LE325pp includes pickup and return to hotel, small motor boat across to West Bank with coffee, tea and cake, minibus transfer to launch site and back to the river crossing, safety drill, certificate and a t shirt.
We had to wear lifejackets to cross on the Nile, we were constantly advised to “mind your head, watch your step” through the process of getting on and off all forms of transport! We had a safety drill before getting in the basket and again inside the basket where we each had to practice the landing position in case of a hard or tilted landing. Neither was needed – we came down soft and gentle and then manoevered whilst we were about a foot off the ground to the final position.
This was a truly excellent excursion and highly recommended. Our pickup was at 06:10 as we were the closest to the river crossing point and because sunrise is a little later towards the end of September. In the main summer months it can be as early as 04:30. Take a hat! The heat from the burner is tremendous. Recommended? A MUST DO trip! Even my hubby who doesn’t really “do” heights loved it…

Petra Travel - Ahmed Balal.
I found this man totally by accident but it turned out this was a blessing in disguise. :-)

As our flight arrived into Luxor after 01:00hrs we didn’t fancy the idea of haggling over 2 taxis at that time, particularly as we were only on a domestic flight on a non-international arrivals day.
We had a number of emails between us over the ensuing months and he agreed to collect us and take us to our hotel in his new airconditioned minibus at a cost of LE10pp (Total LE60). He was waiting inside the arrivals hall and his driver, Jimmy was in the bus waiting. He told us not to pay for our travel there and then but to come and see him the next day as we wanted to look at hiring him for some other trips.

The next day we arranged 2 half day itineraries with him:
1) Hatshepsut temple, Howard Carter house, Medinet Habu and the Rameseum. He already had tickets, so we paid for the airport transfer and the tickets for Hatshepsut and Medinet Habu. Howard Carter house is free* just now and he recommended to wait to see if we still wanted to do the Rameseum after the other stuff. A wise warning – we were all nackered and decided against it!

Valley of the Kings and Queens Valley. Again, we purchased our tickets in advance from Ahmed and he advised we could return any unused tickets for a full refund. We did our usual “favourite” tomb Tuthmoses III so our claustrophobic friend could experience possibly the best tomb for adventure without it being too tight. There was one part she wasn’t so sure of but her hubby came through with us and then realised once down the short enclosed steps she would be fine. She was really pleased she did it as the others were quite tame after that. Only 12 tombs were open in the Valley on the day we visited and 2 of those required to purchase an extra ticket. Recommended? I would definitely recommend Ahmed Balal.

He was always where he said he would be or contacted us when requested and at the appointed time. His driver Jimmy was always on time and very obliging when we needed to stop off at shops en-route. We were never pushed into anything, the decison was always down to us after Ahmed’s recommendations and his prices were excellent, particularly when you bear in mind there were just 6 of us in a private 12 seat mini-bus.

He does have a website and apparently he worked with Jolleys Travel for many years before setting up on his own. You can be contacted by email: balaljolley@yahoo.com

If you mention that Michele from Cyprus told you about him, I know he will be very pleased to hear it! :-D

The itineraries we did are most certainly recommended but then you wouldn’t be thinking about going to Luxor just to sit by the pool, would you? The Howard Carter house is a MUST DO!

* Addendum: there is now an entrance fee to enter the Howard Carter house. It’s quite small so probably no massive coach parties will visit. The hologram experience is definitely worth seeing. ;-)

 ★ Cyprus Six go to Luxor – Sept 2010 Slideshow ★ via Cyprus Six go to Luxor – Sept 2010 Slideshow.

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Author: cypruslifeinpictures

My new life in Cyprus in images and words. I'm a British 50 something female, originally from Heywood in Lancashire and have been living in Limassol, Cyprus since March 2004. Although this is a blog about my life as an expat in Cyprus you will also find anything and everything else that takes my fancy whether it be in the news or on the internet. Enjoy!

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