Egypt Travel – Luxor – The City You Can’t Afford to Miss

Grandiose structures, stunning pyramids, wealthy culture, celebrated artifacts and miscellany has placed Egypt on a platform that consistently never fails to satisfy visitors. And for a long time now, Egypt remains a lovely tourist attraction point.

Luxor, the city that many refer to as the world’s largest open air museum is unarguably remarkable. The unmatched, well maintained monuments and artifacts are some of the features that serve to draw great admiration for this city. Three different areas define Luxor as a city and people will talk about them when referring to Luxor. These are the small town of Karnak (north of Luxor), Thebes-called Waset by locals and Luxor city itself.

Tutankhamen, the tomb, which was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter, is associated with the blossoming of Luxor City. This discovery is attributed to what is now seen as hyper conversion to Egyptian roots of the place. Luxor enjoys a semi autonomous position in Egypt with no other City in the country boasting of such privilege. A variety of buildings in this city follow the code of “antique style” with the National bank, railway station and spa standing out as perfect examples.

It is these structures that grant Luxor a feeling of uniqueness and call for adventure. In addition, a sense of calm and peace is usually notable and renders attachment to time quite impossible. However if you are looking for amenities that can be located in a modern day city, then Luxor has them all: Fast energetic night flow with clubs, restaurants and hotels. There are also enough open air markets that give shoppers the opportunity to feel happy too.

Luxor is a grand supporter of Egypt’s economy though it is currently not riding on the status of being Egypt’s economic powerhouse-it once did posses the status. Its major source of income is tourism which has roots in the Greek and Roman dynasties when just like today, it pulled the global attention of tourists. Luxor hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops form the basis for this attraction.

Three streets: Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile stand out as major in Luxor which then qualify the city as relatively small. Sharia al- Mahatta is right in front of the train station along the Nile and comes to contact with the garden of Luxor temple. The Sharia al Karnak Street, also known as Sharia al Markaz meets the Sharia al- Lokanda. Colorful restaurants, caf├ęs and bazaars with a range of Egyptian souvenir line up this stretch whereas the alabaster and pottery works form great attraction.

Some of the most exciting places to visit are the Luxor Museum of Mummification which was opened in 1997 and is the first of its kind to be wholly dedicated mummification. Not very grand, the museum comprises of a big room with guides that take the tourist round while explaining the significance of each piece on display. Over 56 archaeological objects complete with story boards that explain their process of mummification are available. The story board as well narrates the particular beliefs held by the community at the time of mummification. During this tour one can acquire rich knowledge of the progress made by ancient society in the area of medicine and chemistry.

Luxor temple is another point of attraction. Built by New kingdom Pharaohs Amenhotep and Ramesses the second, this temple is found in the heart of the city. It was dedicated to the worship of the god Opet. It is well maintained and surprisingly the art on it is hundreds of years old. While inside this temple one is overwhelmed with a feeling of being in a time machine.

Luxor museum is another site worth visiting, which is more of a store house of arts and antiquities rather than a museum. It was established in the early 1975 with most of the relics and artifacts found here dating as far back as the pre-dynastic period through to the Islamic dynasty. The museum building is modern, two storied with floors connected by a ramp. Iamu Negh, one of the historic figures of Egypt is right in this museum. It is small in size but the vast experience and first-hand view that you will gain will truly remain as outstanding and will make you want to come back again.

The temples of Karnak are believed to be the largest remaining religious complexes in the world, spanning an area of about 1500 square meters by 800 square meters and approximated to be over 1500 years old. It was called Ipet-isut during ancient times which meant the most select of places, remained Egypt’s sacred place of worship for a long time and comprises of pylons, kiosks, sanctuaries and obelisks all dedicated to the native’s Theban gods.

The temple connects to Sharia al- Karnak Street through a long stone Processional Street-the dromos. The dromos were first introduced by Nectanebo, the first and was lined with sphinxes on either side. The dromos on Karnak temple are well kept. At the entrance there is a Roman chapel that was made of burnt bricks and was dedicated to the worship of the Roman god Serapis.

Kings in Egypt had a special burial ground because people believed that the status of being king was not lost in death. They were expected to rule even after passing away. The Valley of the Kings was the final ground of rest as they prepared to meet the gods in their journey into the afterlife. The tomb of Tutankhamen and Ramesses the second, that were discovered in the 1920’s are the most recent and remarkable discoveries of our time.

The burial ground for the queens and their children before reuniting with gods was the valley of the Queens. As of now only four tombs remain open to the public for viewing. One that will guarantee awesome attraction is the tomb of Queen Nefertari.

Costa Rican Cruises – Rare But Remarkable

If you’re planning a vacation to Costa Rica, why not bring along your hotel and restaurant? The most delightful way to experience Costa Rica’s marvelous beaches and coastal rainforests is from a cruise ship, and when you treat yourself to a Costa Rican cruise, getting there will be a big part of the fun!

Coata Rican cruises range from seven-or-eight night budget trips with a single Costa Rican port-of-call at Puerto Caldera on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, Seabourn’s to four-week affairs which begin at Puerto Caldera and wend their way along the Central American Coast, stopping at Puerto Quepos and Puerto Moins, before touring the Caribbean and ending at Fort Lauderdale.

These Costa Rican Cruises traverse the Panama Canal to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, but before they get underway allow their passengers a day at Puerto Caldera to enjoy the sights of San Jose. One of the most popular attractions is the National Theater at the Plaza Del Culturas. Modeled after the Paris Opera House, the National Theater houses magnificent Italian paintings, sculptures, and frescoes.

Coat Rican cruise passengers who want a glimpse of the country’s wild side before heading for the Panama canal can take an excursion to Poas Volcano National park during their day in Puerto Caldera (Caldera referring to the volcanic crater). Some Poas tours also include side trips to the Doka Coffee Estate and the village of Sarchi, the heart of Costa Rica’s artisan community.

At Sarchi you can shop for hand-carved wooden figures and elaborate canes, hand-woven wall tapestries, leather goods, and toys. You can also purchase charming miniature replicas of Sarchi’s famous hand-painted wooden carts to use as planters or decorative accents. Or you can spend your off shore day river rafting on the Corobici River, gliding along through the heart of the Costa Rican jungle and glimpsing some of the hundreds of bird species which make Costa Rica a birdwatcher’s Paradise.

Windstar is one of the two cruise lines which cruises to Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce, where you’ll find Central America’s largest rainforest and one of the few rain forests on Earth which slopes directly down to meet the ocean. Declared a national treasure by the Costa Rican government, Golfo Dulce such a remarkably diverse ecosystem that you can actually identify 100 different species of trees growing on a single acre!

During your stop at Golfo Dulce you can explore the tiny town of Golfito, established in the 1930s as a banana port, and arrange an excursion to the Corcovado national Park and the remarkable black sand beach at Zancudo.

Even Windstar and Seabourne offer only a few Costa Rican cruises each year, and they aren’t chape. Even when you arrange thses cruises through online discount cruise booking services at 50% discounts, you can expect to pay a minimum of $7500 for a four-week cruise. For your money, however, you’ll enjoy a month on one of two of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships. Windstar’s ships are actual sailing vessels, motor-sail yachts with automated riggings. The can be under full sail within two minutes of having their riggings engaged, and the largest of their four-ship fleet has a passenger capacity of only 312. Sailing on Windstar entitles you to complimentary water sports activities, including windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking right off the ship’s Water Sports Platforms.

Retro Air Travel Returns to Tanzania

When I was a little boy in the 60s and 70s, the Douglas DC-3, which, like they did in Britain we used to call the Dakota, was all the rage. I used to travel around the country in that aircraft with my mum and dad. It was an awesome experience. I used to love the way the tail dipped when the aircraft was on the ground and how it lifted as it taxied down the runway before take off. A remarkable airplane, and one I couldn’t forget even when the Fokker Friendship came to replace it on domestic routes. As it happens, the DC-3 never really went away. 73 years after the DC-3 first flew, it has remained in the skies in quite a few countries around the world… it is believed there are 400 DC-3 aircraft still in service. In this article, I will discuss retro travel and the opportunity that awaits you to rekindle vintage travel in a remarkable tourist haven and setting that is, Tanzania.

One of the most successful airplanes ever built, the DC-3 made its maiden flight on December 17, 1935. The Gooney Bird, as it was sometimes called, was one of the first airplanes built primarily out of metal, replacing the wood-framed-and-doped-fabric airplanes that had evolved out of the Wright Flyer and the many models of airplanes developed during World War I. In the 1930s and 1940s, this American fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft — generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made because of its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II — is still taking to the skies to this day in many parts of the world. Like its land equivalent, the marvels of yesteryear engineering — the steam train — offers a lap of luxury to its passengers to this present day on packaged rail safaris like the Blue Train in South Africa, aviation too brings back the the beauty and luxury of vintage travel to the skies.

Air travel in the 50s was much more regulated than it is today. All fares were fixed by the International Air Traffic Association (IATA). It seems almost inconceivable today, but IATA dictated exactly what could be charged on any particular route. Airlines could compete on standards of service, but not price. Hence a desire to offer the passenger the very best prevailed. In the early fifties there was only one class of travel: first or better than first class. Such luxuries as cocktail bars, and even beds had been provided on transatlantic flights. Fares were expensive and passengers were either very wealthy or claiming the trip on expenses. By the end of the fifties, there were four classes of travel, deluxe (better than first), first class, tourist class and economy class. The Indigo Aviation Dakota plying the Zanzibar, Selous, Pemba and Mafia routes from Dar es salaam, Tanzania, judging from the luxurious cabin alone, takes you back to the early 50s when, literally, there was only one way to travel – first class.

When I saw an ad on the cover of a local magazine (Advertising Dar) back in May 2009, I was thrilled to see the DC-3 back in action. To me, she is the most beautiful bird that ever took to the skies. My plan is to get on that plane to travel to Mafia island, a fascinating island steeped in history, and what I consider to be the ideal destination to fly to to write a series of articles on, in retro style.