Here are some more pictures...
Let me just say this trip was great! It well surpassed our expectations. We spent two weeks in Egypt- a week in Southern Egypt, AKA "upper Egypt"(up the Nile), and a week in the Cairo area (with a day trip to Alexandria). You gotta spend at least 2 days in Cairo, since that's where the Pyramids and the Cairo Museum (and Coptic Cairo) are, but you'll want to spend most of the time away from the Cairo traffic- yikes! Don't miss doing a Nile Cruise- It's beautiful and
a very relaxing and reflective way to make the trip between Luxor and Aswan- sure beats the convoys you otherwise have to take.
It is really hard to grasp a country with over 5000 years of history that you can see, walk on, and interact with. The pyramids were built over 4500 years ago! When Moses was running around with the royal court, the pyramids were already over 1000 years old! Amazing. By the way, you can see the pharoah to whom Moses said "let my people go" at the Cairo museum. There are different theories as to which pharaoh/mummy it is, but all the choices are right there! It's your only chance to look face-to-face at a Biblical character- don't miss it!
Egypt is amazingly inexpensive (once you get there), and very tourist friendly. Hook up with a tour company and you'll have great door-to-door service and personal tour guides. The Company will have somebody meet you at the airport, run get your visas for you, walk you through customs, and help you with your bags to your awaiting van- and that's just at the airport.
We used Memphis Tours http://www.memphistours.com/, which worked great for us, but I got the sense that most companies would do fine- submit a request on the Egyptian Tourism Board website, http://www.touregypt.net/ and you'll get a couple dozen responses from tour companies. Check out the TourEgypt site's message center for good and bad company reviews).
Our group of 6 had our own van every where we went and our own guides. We particularly enjoyed Mahmoud Hassan Exlanss (email@example.com) in Upper Egypt for the Luxor to Aswan/Abu Simbel section and our guide in Alexandria, Kholoud Ghazaly (firstname.lastname@example.org). Mahmoud, the tall guy in our pictures,
has an archeology degree and tourism degree (required for guides), and is a lot of fun- be sure to hook up with him (or at least request him of your tour company). Kholoud (and her husband) work at the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria and provided an amazingly thorough whirlwind tour of Alexandria in the short amount of time we gave her to do so. While there are no doubt plenty of good guides out there, you should ask for these two guides from your tour company and consider just contacting them directly. I'm sure they could easily recommend a company to you. If you just need something specific for their areas, they could probably get you all hooked up with the needed services (via a local tour company) themselves. In fact, Mahmoud got our cruise ship switched to a much nicer choice (the NTS Grand Princess- a new or newly refurbished Italian-focused ship with great service, cabins and food!). Mahmoud was helpful too for figuring out what appropriate tips were (tips are generally expected for about everything). If you email Mahmoud (and you should), his written English is just ok, but don't worry, he is very easy to understand and will take great care of you.
I also highly recommend bringing your kids along (if they're at all travel hardy). The Egyptians loved kids and we got special attention everywhere we went. Mya learned to read and write hieroglyphs and Arabic numbers while we were there, and the educational experience overall would be very hard to beat.
Get this trip on your calendar!