In 2003 was one of the years we had with Baha our taxi driver. He had 6 children and I think he was struggling against a year of money inconsistency. I know that a few years later he had to give up taxi driving & drove one of the small local buses of the city. I know he appreciated our steady business throughout the two weeks that we used him & invited us to his home in the centre of Luxor. You have to be careful, if you don't insist on just cake & drinks, you find you will end up with this lovely family trying to showing they can feed the five thousand on their own.
We know this happens because Abdu asked us to his home in Karnack and he gave us a "small" meal. Egyptian hospitality knows no bounds. In fact, I think it is true to say the the less money they have, the more generous they try to be. Going to see Abdu is such a pleasure. We always get taken to meet all the relatives & gather children round us like the Piped Piper of Hamlin. Everybody remembers you and it is just like going to meet your family. I have lots of brothers in Luxor! The houses and narrow street have a biblical look. You meet the real people of Egypt and get a glimpse of real life. I have to admit that although we don't go every year, these visits are the highlight of me holiday.
When your in Luxor, there are constant weddings along the Corniche. Wedding cars hurtle up & down, horns blaring and the ubiquitous wedding band drumming up a storm. Unlike England, where there is a guest list, everyone seems to be made welcome in Egypt. We were invited, by the lads around the pool, to go at night to Eide's reception. It was wonderful! As it was a Muslim wedding, there was no alcohol & all the better for it too. The noise of the band, that accompanies the bride & groom everywhere, is more deafening than a cotton weaving shed! (For non-northerners, that is LOUD!). As usual, Egyptian hospitality was everywhere. The children were all over the place, having lots of fun & wonderfully well behaved. Every one danced (not together, but the ladies were stunningly good!) There was a dais with thrones for the happy couple and it was wonderful that there was no drunken Uncles falling about all over the place.
Amoun's is the place to eat in Luxor. We have tried other places, which have been excellent, but to shear quality & value for money is so hard to beat. Air-conditioned, great food, in the centre of town, real family people & great prices! We were eating a lovely meal for about £2 a head. Try the lentil soup & the Chicken casserole or the Egyptian meal balls in tomato sauce, Dawodbasha. Because we are so used to pre-prepared packaged food at home, its sometimes hard to remember that Egypt was three growing seasons a year. Everything is fresh & prepared there & then. What you see on your plate was probably in the ground a few hours ago! Any taxi driver will take you there & pick you up after your meal. Walking is a great idea too! You'll meet the people of Luxor. Take their little hassle with a smile, they are only trying to make a living but no one is never offensive, the Luxor smile is famous! You will have disappointments too, like seeing a MacDonald's opposite the Temple, full of Egyptians thinking its trendy ... just like G.B. Someone must have pulled the right strings to get that location. I have recently heard that Amoun's is on the move, after a bit of mass alterations in the centre of Luxor. I found this on an Egypt discussion site; "Amoun & Hussein restaurants and the surrounding bazaars are being moved to a specially constructed 3 floor building on Savoy Street (some are moving in this evening). One of the restaurants will be overlooking the Nile and the other will have a view of the Avenue of the Sphinxes" How true & accurate it is, I have no idea ... watch this space.
Roshdy was very keen to show us the new hotel on the West Bank, the "Hotel Al Moudira". It is located south of the village of Daba'iyya; about four km to the south the Luxor bridge, near to the temple of Medinet Habu. Officially opened in July 2002, this unique super deluxe boutique hotel was inspired by the style of old oriental palaces. "Al Moudira" has one of the very few swimming pools on the West Bank. Each of the elegant 54 spacious double rooms is furnished and fitted out in a special oriental or pharaonic style and decorated with artistic handmade wall paintings and tiles. The large bath rooms are inspired by Turkish bath houses. All rooms have air-condition, satellite television, telephone and mini-bar. The owner visited to Alexandria & Cairo to find pieces of architectural salvage to dress this place like a film set. Its location, taste & probably price, sets it apart from the normal life of Luxor. There is no doubt you live in the real West Bank area. Whether you actually met & greet the real West Bank people may be debatable. I think the hotel has a good following with German clientele.
We had a spring holiday for one week at the St. Joseph hotel. It is a two star with a consistently good reputation that is well deserved. Away from the centre of town but near the other large hotels. It is on the other side of the Corniche, it has no garden area and a small roof top swimming pool. None of these facts should put you off from going to this very nice hotel. The staff, food & views are outstanding, even the water tower can look good at sunset! Our room had air-conditioning that needed adjusting & we wanted a fridge. I have never had such fast service in an Egyptian hotel. Everything was done is a jiffy and with a big smile. This place comes highly recommended.
I guess it could get a little noisy & crowded in the summer months. Finding shade around the small pool might be a little difficult with too many guests, nevertheless, value for money, superb staff and lovely food, we all thought it deserved a higher rating than it got.
We met people there who have been many times, they all claim that the standard of service & food is always excellent.
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