Bucket List: The word for all the things we wish we did before we kicked the bucket, well, you know. During our Readers, we have spoken to a lot of travelers, and one place inevitably appears on nearly every one of their pre-last waltz wish lists, Egypt, especially the Nile.
We've found a way to make the dream a reality with Luxor and Aswan Travel. Their Nile River Cruise may be the best way to see both Ancient Egypt's spectacular ruins and modern life along the river banks.
We may claim that because over the past couple of years we have traveled on numerous river cruises and they have become our favorite way of traveling by far. We love the comfort and convenience of not rushing to catch flights, trains and busses to get to any new destination, and particularly not having to pack and unpack whenever we travel.
They are also persuaded that there is no better way for both towns and countryside to learn. Normally the rivers flow directly through the city's heart, allowing the ships to dock right in the center of everything. This makes them a perfect base for exploration at home.
And the boat glides peacefully through picturesque beaches away from the cities, often far from the chaotic hustle and bustle of the highways. This means a smooth passage and great photo opportunities.
Civilizations have developed along rivers all over the world, and there is no place that is more important than Egypt. The Nile is really the artery that for centuries has brought life to this land.
This is more evident nowhere than Luxor, the site of Thebes ' ancient city. It is often called "the largest open-air museum in the world" because of the many temples on both sides of the river. The temple that gave the city its name was constructed about 1400BC, but the region was already well established long before that. Early building probably started some thousand years before on the nearby Karnak Temple.
The Kings Valley and the Queens Valley are just outside the city, some of the most important burial sites in the ancient world.
Scores of royalty tombs have been found, including pharos and queens from the 17th to the 20th dynasties of Egypt. Maybe the most famous of these was King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, but here were also interred Ramesses II and his wife Queen Nefertari.
Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, is often depicted in the film The Ten Commandments as the pharaoh of the Exodus. Although there is no archeological evidence to determine which ruler actually opposed Moses, the belief remains.
But since he was one of the longest reigning pharos of the Egyptian Empire and the timing is plausible, there is a reasonable chance that this is real, so we could hardly consider checking the box on our bucket list without seeing his temple as well.
With its iconic sculptures of giant seated figures on the shrine's side, this is certainly one of the most famous landmarks in Egypt and luckily there is no problem getting there, the boat will float right on Lake Nasser.
The lake stands out as a modern marvel among all these ancient wonders. It not only controlled flooding on the mighty river when the Aswan Dam was completed in 1970, this built one of the world's largest man-made lakes.
The lake covers an area that once belonged to Ancient Nubia, a lesser known civilization that once rivaled Egypt as the region's supreme power, and some of its ruins are also visited by Luxor and Aswan Travel Nile River Cruise.
It is findings like this that succeed in stopping us from ever completing our list. The more we explore and learn, the more it always develops.
But we're still hoping to see it all until we grab our last bag, cash in our chips, sleep with the fish, bite the dust, shuffle off this deadly coil, buy the ranch, push up daisies, kick the bucket, you know.