The best falafel in Luxor!

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You know when you just fancy something? We were wending our way home this evening, on the arabeya (local 'bus to the uninitiated) when Freda said that we should get off and have a falafel sandwich for tea. Of course I didn't take any tempting!
We jumped off the 'bus at the corner of our street and Rameses St and walked up to the railway crossing, hoping to be able to see the lights from the falafel stall along the street. (Karen, if you read this, he's moved across the road onto the corner.) WE were hoping, because it is Friday, the Muslim holy day and we're never sure which days they are open or closed. When we first started to buy our falafel here we were told that of the two partners, Ibrahim and Osman, one was Christian and the other Muslim. This being the case we would expect one to work on Friday while the other worked on Sunday, so that each one could have his "day of rest". But, of course, this being Egypt it doesn't work like that! They were both on duty tonight.

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So here we are on a Friday night and they are both here!

On approaching, Ibrahim saw us first and immediately offered me a cigarette. Not wanting to offend, I felt it to be my duty to accept. Then he was pleased to show us that he was frying potatoes "Chipsy, Mr Edward, chipsy". He knows that I cannot resist his chips. So we got two sandwiches, Freda's was stuffed with falafel, aubergine, baladi salad and chips, mine was the same but without the rabbit food. Being high-class customers, we were given metal plates with pieces of printed paper on them. Freda sat on the step, near to the gas burner, to eat hers and to keep warm at the same time. It was a bit pricey for a falafel take-away at 5LE, but maybe he had charged us VAT as we had plates and sat down to eat it? (I think not.)
Osman and Ibrahim can hardly keep up with demand at mealtimes, they often have serious queues, which shows just how good their falafel really is. They work behind the new 9000 capacity Coptic Church which is just up our street, in the back lane.

Trip Advisor's loss is my blog's gain!

Yes, the people at TA are making it difficult for dummies like me to do certain things on their site.
Trip Advisor have a "Destination Expert" for Luxor who goes by the name of eLaReF. L, R and F being his initials. He always stays at the Winter Palace, but I found a sign near to our bakery which I think tells us how he can afford to stay there. His secret income is derived from his Rachman type tendencies involving this flea pit.
I tried to put the picture on my profile page where he would have been revealed for what he really is, but they wouldn't let me!

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Egytpian Experience? I don't think so.

As some of you will know, I’m a Trip Advisor addict. If you don’t know about Trip Advisor, it’s an internet site which travellers and holidaymakers use to ask and answer questions about their proposed/favourite destinations. It’s quite useful for first time visitors in particular. They can get loads of information from the people who either live there or those who regularly visit.
Today there was a question about the new holiday village development to the South of Luxor known as “The Egyptian Experience”. Well, funnily enough, The boss and I were invited to have a guided tour of the place the other week, and being inordinately nosey; we went! I suppose I should have told you about it at the time, but these things slip the mind when you get to a certain age.
We were picked up by a car at the Sunrise Tours office on the Corniche and whisked away along past the big hotels and up through Awamaya onto Movenpick Road to Bogdady and past Luxor bridge (with its big pictures of our beloved President doing a passable impression of the plump one of the “Blues Brothers” without his hat on). Just past the bridge is the Nubian Craft place with the huge cafeteria next door. We passed Mr. Mohamed Ayad’s farmland, where we spent last Easter Monday at the “Sniffing the Breeze” festival, and the land belonging to Mr Hamada (Mr Viking, that is) where he has a dying cruiseboat moored in the Nile. The man who owns Travco, whose name I cannot recall, also has a piece of land bordering the Nile hereabouts. Anyway, the Egyptian Experience is just next door to Mr Viking.
The site is a fair size and there is a barrier through which everything and everybody has to pass. Our driver told the security man that we were invited etc. and we passed through without being strip searched. It’s just like a proper building site! Big holes and equally big humps, piles of sand and gravel, stacks of bricks and timber. Everything was there.
Our guide was the English chap from the Egyptian Experience office in town, very pleasant and accommodating. He first showed us a “Studio” apartment of 45 sq. mtrs. (including the balcony). It was very nice, compact but ok. The furnishings were all quite modern and Western style, which was how all the viewed apartments were furnished. The Studio was on the ground floor and a short walk from the pool area. Biggest problem was the £31,000+ price tag! All the apartments were nice to look at but very small for the prices they are asking. Even the three bed two bathroom version was only 6 sq. mtrs. bigger than our one bedroom apartment. The four bedroom duplex apartment was the exception, with 226 sq. mtrs. over two floors, very nice indeed but at £170,000 it sure wants to be!
Each section of the development has its own pool and sunbathing area, but it will be quite some time before it is all finished. Along the main road, on the edge of the site, the owners are planning to have a row of shops to service the whole place. Anyone who buys or rents there will have no need to come into town. So this is something else which will not bring much benefit to the residents of Luxor. But as long as tourists are frightened to engage with the locals, developments like this and other walled “compound” type places will flourish in Egypt. It’s such a shame, and the irony of the name was not lost on me. Egyptian Experience, indeed!

Luxor Entertainment (or, The Products of Sad Imaginations)

As some of you will know (or at least guess) Freda and I love to watch “the tourists”. As we don’t have a telly, this is our main entertainment. Luxor has all types coming to visit, young, old, smart, unkempt, drunk, sober. If you can categorise them, we’ve seen them!
Although we visit five of the popular hotels in search of our entertainment, only three of them are really up to scratch. Obviously I cannot name these three, as you might recognise yourself as one of the tourists mentioned in the following anecdotes. Mind you, hotel staff sometimes come in for a bit of scrutiny as well.
For instance, there is Mr Hercule, (not his real name, you understand) a long time waiter at one of the “better” hotels. When we first saw him in 1997, we thought that he was absolutely perfect. Hair parted down the middle and plastered onto his head with some sort of oil, a round face beneath sporting a pair of lovely waxed moustaches and his wing collared waiters uniform, he was the epitome, the ultimate example of his profession! He is now a broken man, a shadow of his former grandness, reduced to wearing a flowered shirt like some Hawaiian cocktail shaker. However, even in this humiliating garb, he has not lost his polite and professional manner which has endeared him to hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors to one of Egypt’s top hotels. Bless him!

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This was the New Winter Palace Hotel, and used to be one of our favourite hotels for "people watching". However, it is one of the eyesores to which the Governor has dealt the "death blow".

In another hotel, this one on the “hotel strip” (which many tourists think is the centre of town) we see the strangest things. A while ago we were sitting in our usual seats, which have the best view of the comings and goings, when I was flabbergasted to see two real life Geisha girls! Well, to be honest, they were Geisha old women. I would judge their ages to be around the 70 mark (being generous) and they were trailing behind an old oriental gentleman. They were the proper job too, hands folded into their sleeves, little rucksack-like things on their bottoms, white faces and black hair with big wooden pins stuck through. They shuffled along, instead of walking. It was truly astonishing!
About the same time, in the same hotel, we noticed another “shuffler”, but this time it was an old man. We took to him straight away and nick-named him Mr Dick. You know who Mr Dick is, don’t you? Well, this Mr Dick was the same one who played the part in the old black and white version of “David Copperfield”, Aunt Betsy Trotwood’s companion. (David was played by Freddie Bartholomew.) Although he didn’t shuffle in the film, this Mr Dick in Luxor reminded us of his film alter ego in many ways, the fly-away hair and the look of being nearly lost, which seemed to be always apparent.
The following week, he was replaced by another star of the silver screen; one Mr Buzz Lightyear! I know, I know; Buzz Lightyear is a cartoon character. But you didn’t see this bloke, all he needed was the space suit!
Actually the hotel in question is probably our favourite for people watching. We saw Joanna Lumley sitting there one evening, and yes, it really was her, no imagining this time!
Another non-imaginary figure is that of Pinocchio’s sister! Who would have believed that? I’m sure you’ve seen the odd local TV weatherman whom you thought was as “wooden” as our little friend from the Disney movie, well we have a girl in Luxor who was fashioned by the same bloke, Geppetto! (She is actually very charming, and we like her a lot.) When we first saw her, neither of us could figure out what was strange about her. Then it suddenly clicked; Geppetto had put her knee joints together back to front or something, it was the only rational explanation! Shortly after that she started wearing trousers all the time, so you will never find out who we are talking about. Only Freda and I really know the full story of Pinocchio’s sister, so there!
I’ve been prompted to write this little piece because of whom we saw tonight on one of our little jaunts to an hotel a bit nearer to our home. I was quite taken aback to see a man who was obviously a renegade from that strange place “Royston Vasey”. No, I don’t mean their erstwhile Mayor, the foul mouthed Roy “Chubby” Brown. This man must be a relation of Edward and Tubbs, the facial likeness was uncanny! (If you know what I mean)
Talking about Royston Vasey has reminded me of the furtive way in which I carry my little parcels of smoked ham from the small Christian shop in the souk. I feel just like the Royston Vasey characters with their little parcels of “specials” from Mr Briss the butcher. If only all these Muslim friends, which I pass, knew what I was carrying!!!!!
Before I go, if you’re wondering what happened about getting pictures of the harpist and singer at the Winter Palace? Well, I did manage to get back but only for a few minutes, and I missed the song I’d hoped to record (Shenandoah). But I did get some video to put on here. Only problem, is that every time I try to load it the stupid internet connection starts to run really slow and eventually kicks out. I’ll get it some day, don’t worry!

Look out Church!!!!!

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Yes, look out church! I took this pic a day or two ago and have only now got to put it on here. It's the Avenue of Sphinxes again, the Kabesh Road, the destruction of so much of Luxor's more recent history.
Sharia Karnak, between the Emilio Hotel and the Oasis Cafe. The old St Mark Hospital and the "Government Shop" building have been gone for a few weeks, and a rather large hole has been excavated in their place. I had a look in, but cannot see anything of interest yet.
The buildings which are currently coming down, look to be of the same period as the Pasha's house on the Corniche. They were well matched by the building across Sharia Karnak on the corner by the Oasis Cafe. It's such a shame! From my photo, and following a logical progression, it looks like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church will get it next, although I don't think it is actually on top of the Kabesh Road, but certainly within the 76(?) metre width of the area which our beloved Governor wants cleared for tourist use. You can see the Churches twin steeples in the picture.

A touch of Western culture in Luxor.

Well! We've just got back from visiting the Old Winter Palace, I even wore my linen jacket and proper shoes.
If you know Luxor, then you'll know the Winter Palace Hotel on the Corniche, and you will also know it's reputation of being a bit "posh". We go there occasionally for a special treat, birthdays and the like, and have "Afternoon Tea" in the Victoria Lounge. It is a rather grand affair with smoked salmon sandwiches, cakes and a jam and cream scone etc. The problem is that Egyptians prepare it in a French managed hotel, so that it is never quite right. Still lovely, mind you, but the scone is a bun and the jam is invariably orange marmalade!
Today's special treat was to go and see and hear the live, award winning, Irish harpist lady and her singing friend. The harpist was Lynn Saoirse and she played some delightful pieces as well as accompanying Donna Roche singing a variety of songs from different genres. It was a good break from our usual rounds. Donna's voice is as clear as a bell, and Lynn's soft touch on the harp balanced it perfectly.
If you are in Luxor now, and get the chance to read this, then take my advice and get along to the Old Winter Palace to enjoy this pair, they're only here for one week. In the afternoon, they play and sing in the Victoria Lounge between 4.30 and 5.30. Then they are in the bar from 6.30 till 7.00, but with the piano then.
If I have the opportunity to go again, I'll remember to take the camera!!!
I had a strange telephone conversation recently. "Hello Edward, what would be the English term for mougoff? My wife says it would be the 'bus depot, what do you think?" "Well," says I, "the 'bus depot is where the 'buses actually live, but my limited understanding of Arabic leads me to believe that mougoff is the 'bus station, or terminus, or both." "Thanks," said the caller, "so the big mini-bus place that they've just built on the West bank should be called the Luxor Bus Station?" "No, not really, as it's only for the West Bank 'buses, I would suggest Luxor West Bank Bus Station would be the best" I replied.
The result of the conversation is there for all to see. I'm so glad that I've had a bit of input on the Governor's modernisation programme, even this unofficial one which is so small. lol.

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Out with the Old.....Part 2

The other week I took the following picture of the demolition of the old Mosque, which the Police Station used to stand next to, just off Sharia Karnak. Of course it stands on top of the Kabesh Road (Sphinx Avenue)and so must be removed.....hence "Out with the old......and in with the older!

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The minaret lasted for another couple of weeks but now it has also gone. All that's left is the Sheikh's tomb. I expect that it might be allowed to stay, and even be tarted up as it is to the side of the sphinxes and might be another little point of interest for the tourists.

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I cannot say that I will mourn the passing of that particular Mosque as it was one which added to the cacophony of simultanious calls to prayer which assailed the "Our Luxor" roof terrace on Friday lunch times, when the wind was in the West.

Out with the Old?

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Our beloved Governor, Dr. Samir Farag, is still continuing with his re-modelling of Luxor. The lovely old Pasha’s house (above and latterly used by the National Democratic Party) on the Corniche next to my wife’s temple, has lately been another of the Governor’s victims. Since first seeing this building, Freda has wanted to live there so she could keep an eye on her temple, mainly. Too late now!
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In this photo, we could actually say “Out with the Old, and in with the New!” The recently built Susanna Hotel is clearly visible to the left, and behind that are the 60 metre bell towers of the new Egyptian Orthodox Church, (9000 capacity). Although it’s very sad to see some of the older characterful buildings going, it’s also obvious that a living town must experience change and an improvement in facilities and employment opportunities for the local population.
Another slight enigma is the two-masted dahabeya in the foreground of the picture. These boats are relics of a bygone age also. The pioneers of much of what we now call Egyptology, like Giovanni Belzoni, used these vessels to get to Upper Egypt from Cairo. I still re-read Amelia Edwards’ account of her dahabeya journey in the 1800’s (1000 Miles up the Nile) some of her observations of riverside life have hardly changed in these past 160 years! It’s compelling reading. Now the dahabeyas are making a comeback, with new ones being ordered and built. They are now the Nile cruisers of the well heeled; intimate and exclusive. How many of these new explorers will experience that same thrill which drove on the trailblazers of old?

2009 Refurbishment at Our Luxor Guest Apartment.

We've been hard at work this year, painting and sourcing fabrics etc. for our refurbishment. We had the meshrabeya screenwork made and fitted in last year by our good friend and highly skilled carpenter, Mr Taha from New Karnak. We were terribly shocked, earlier this year, to hear that he and his fiancee were tragically drowned in the Red Sea. Here are e few pictures to let you see the results of our labours. They were taken at differing times and with differing lighting, I hope you'll forgive my dodgey camera work.

The Saga of the White Fridge.

Shall I tell you a little story? Go on then, you’ve twisted my arm!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin………….

Once upon a time we had a very small fridge, and it fitted inside our sideboard cupboard. As our own apartment is quite small this suited us very well for our first twelve months, or so, of living in Luxor. Then one day, Freda decided that we needed a larger fridge; one which would fit under the kitchen bench (if we had a kitchen or a bench, that is), one the same as we had in the guest apartment. She already had a ready buyer for our little dinky one, so it was duly sold and we “borrowed” the fridge from the guest apartment downstairs until we got a replacement. We had no guests coming for a week or so, so there was no problem.

The following tea time, we had a call from the lovely Geordie lady who owns the Tuttie Fruttie Café here in Luxor. She had two friends who didn’t like the apartment which they had rented and could we possibly accommodate them. Of course we could! That’s what we are here for, what a silly question! It wasn’t till we put the phone down that we remembered that there was no fridge in the guest apartment, and they were arriving the next day!

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring, don’t panic!!!! There are at least five shops in Luxor which sell fridges, we are not in the Dark Ages here you know, contrary to popular belief.

At the time, there were the two “Government” shops (they don’t belong to the government at all, but that's another story), on Station Street there is “B Tech” and the multi-storeyed shop opposite and on T.V. Street there is the small electrical shop opposite the Ahmed Abu Nakhra store. We would surely score in one of them tonight!

As you all know; the shops are open till there are no more customers, so we set off after a late tea. (Actually it turned out to be an early dinner, as we got nothing else that night!) We started off by having a look in the Government shop on Karnak St beside the St Mark Hospital, nothing there that took our fancy, none were white and all were too big. Next was the multi-storeyed place opposite B Tech, we only found one there, but the door was damaged and the staff were run off their feet with Egyptians spending money as if it were going out of fashion. We had a quick look in B Tech, but the only white one there looked cheap and nasty.

Next we trailed along to Television Street to the little shop at the bottom on the right. We’d bought stuff from here before, so were reasonably confident that we would make a good deal if he had what we wanted. Had a look in all the boxes in the shop, but there were no white ones. Well, you have to have white really, don’t you? “I have white in my warehouse, the boy will take you.” Right enough; two boys took us, on the arabeya, up to the “New” Television Street and around the corner to the man’s lock-up. No lights, of course (are you mad?) so we spent about 15 minutes, with four mobile phones as torches, moving boxes containing fridges and looking for a white one. You guessed it, no white fridges tonight!

Time was getting on, and we were starting to forget Corporal Jones’s encouragement to not “panic”! We got back on the arabeya and the two boys jumped off at the shop (at least they had paid the fares lol) and we stayed on till Station Street and went back into the shop opposite B Tech. It was a lot quieter now, the Egyptians must have “spent up”. After a bit of discussion with the girl, it was decided that they would have another white one at their warehouse, undamaged and still in the box. Hurrah!!! We paid the girl in the little booth, and the manager told us that the man with a van (little mini-truck actually) just outside, would charge 25le to take it to our house. Freda went off to open the doors and await our arrival, while I got in the tiny truck and went off to the warehouse just around a couple of corners. We seemed to have collected another man by the time we got there; I’ve no idea where he appeared from! A stern looking lady was shaking her head at the van man’s order form. “No problem, no problem” he kept saying as we drove off. We didn’t get very far, actually a bit closer to our house, when he stopped at another warehouse in a back lane. They went in with the order form, and came out with a large, fridge sized, box. “Are you sure it’s white?” asked I. “Yes, yes, Don’t worry Mr Edward.”, came the reply. It became apparent that the second man was there to “hump” the fridge up the stairs; he was a “humper”. After all, why pay only one man when you can pay two? Stupid question, really.

The strip light in the guest apartment kitchen had been working itself for a while and I had forgotten to get it fixed. After it had been on for an hour or so; it would go off, and then come back on after it had cooled down. It had just gone off before we arrived, us being so long. The humper managed our 63 stairs very well with the fridge on his back, so I was feeling quite generous when everything was in place. I got out the 25le for the van man and another tenner for the humper! Freda arrived from upstairs just as they started to laugh and demand 100le for their services. I didn’t get the chance to argue with them ‘cause Freda was chasing them down the stairs “Get out of my building you clifties!!!” She’s good at things like that, it’s where her natural talent lies.

Relieved that I no longer had to bargain with the workmen, I got the fridge out of the box, screwed on the feet, and slid it into place under the bench. Put the plug in and made sure it was working. Close to midnight, but everything was OK, we’d managed it!

As Freda got back up the stairs and into the guest apartment, the kitchen light came back on to reveal a lovely BEIGE fridge. As you can imagine after all that, it’s still there!

Only in Egypt!!!!!!!!!

Balloon rides in Luxor

Balloon trips start early in the morning, you are collected from the flat and taken over the River Nile into the fields, where, to the excitement of all concerned, the balloon is inflated and released, and your journey begins.
You will see Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple, the Ramesseum and Medinat Habu along with several other of our historic monuments. The highlight of the trip is to watch the rays of the rising sun as they spread over the earth, bringing again warmth and life to all of this ancient tableau. Usually the balloons land on the West Bank, but occasionally the wind drives them over the river and they have often flown over our roof terrace as the pilots look out for a safe place to land near the Eastern edge of town.
As with all of the excursions and trips, you are delivered back to Our Luxor.

The Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple, the earthly home of the god Amun Ra

One of the most dramatically enjoyable experiences in Luxor is to visit the Sound & Light Show during the evening at Karnak Temple.(Different languages at different times each evening.) You can arrange to be collected from the apartment and taken to the Temple either with a group trip or by taxi, or by caleche which is a pleasant journey by horse and carriage and adds to the enjoyment of your enlightening visit to the temple of the god Amun Ra.

contact :Edward & Freda for our flat enquiries email

Our website http ://

Souk In Luxor - beat the hassle shopping with Edward & Freda

We have devised a beat the hassle tour to help people with their shopping as haggling here in luxor is a part of life, I came across this video of the souk during the call to prayer, which offers a real glimpse of the sounds and sights of the souk.

contact :Edward & Freda for our flat enquiries email

Our website http ://

Art in Luxor - Susan Weeks at the Oasis Cafe & Art Gallery

We really love this painting of the Old Colonial buildings in Luxor, we saw it on display at the Oasis Cafe and Art Gallery, the painting is by the artist Susan Weeks, who is the wife of Kent Weeks the Egyptologist who discovered KV5.

The Oasis Cafe is a short walk from our apartment, and they serve GAMMON and EGGS with LURPAK BUTTER on crusty bread ! Yipeee !!!! Its a beautiful old traditional building with great staff and food.

Oasis Cafe is a short walk from the Mercure (Etap) hotel, or the Emilio Hotel, and can be found on Dr Labib Habeshi Street, Luxor

Telephone +20 95 2372914
They open from 8am - 10pm

contact :Edward & Freda for our flat enquiries email

Our website http ://

Monitor Lizard - Neville - West Bank Luxor

Neville the Monitor lizaard lives at the side of the canal and was lazing in the sun, apparently he is fed chicken by a local to fatten him up! What a beastie! Look at the size of this, I had to look twice, I nearly thought we had got crocodiles back in the Nile !!

contact :Edward & freda for our flat enquiries email

Our website http ://

Shopping In Luxor - The Souk - Beat the hassle tour

'Beat the Hassle tour' is a service which we offer to any English speaking tourists, regardless of where they are staying, who may feel intimidated or annoyed by the seemingly constant unwanted attention from locals. So far, it is proving very popular. Our flats are close to the town centre and Souks and so all the locals already know us and so consequently we don't get hassled like the usual tourists to purchase things.

Our beat the hassle tour is basically a private, morning or evening, tour of some of the everyday Luxor which can be hugely entertaining, but that you would not normally come across, and without the hassle.
If you would like to shop, there are a few shops in Luxor where the prices are fixed and there is no need to haggle, or we can supervise you in a bargaining competition with some of the worlds best salesmen. Don't worry, we wouldn't let you be ripped-off altogether! This can be really great fun, in a safe environment.
If you're eager to see how the Egyptians get about, we'll take you on the public transport, possibly to the local version of Tescos, which is an education in itself!
We can introduce you to a very good (and very cheap) Egyptian restaurant - The Chez Omar- at which we regularly eat. Also you can try the street food and drink, which is a delight. On the odd occasion, we can sometimes wangle a home cooked Egyptian meal with the acquiescence of the mother of one of our Egyptian friends. Of course, she would need to be paid for this on top of your 50 Egyptian Pounds per head
We are the owners of 'Our Luxor' holiday apartment, which is available to rent here in luxor with rentals starting at £140 for a week, we can make arrangements for you to enjoy golf and the sights of luxor.
If you would like to know more please contact Edward & Freda Tel Mobile: 00201 0298 7993
If you would like to know more please contact Edward & Freda Tel Mobile: 00201 0298 7993
contact :Edward &
Freda for our flat enquiries email :

Direct email for apartment enquiries:

Flat to rent in Luxor from £160 per week with Edward & Freda

Are you looking for a FLAT in LUXOR with a touch of The arabian Nights and Eastern promise? then look no further than 'Our Luxor' apartment that my wife Freda has used her skills to bring a wonderful sense of Egypt to help you experience the real feel of Eypt when you stay with us here in Luxor.

Our guest apartment has been thoughtfully refurbished with the traditional arabesque work of Egypt,whilst also offering the modern conveniences of air conditioning, satellite television. Right here we have our charming apartment in the middle of the old town, where for thirty centuries and more travellers have come to wonder at the splendours of the pharaohs.
The apartment occupies the third floor of our building. We (Edward & Freda) live in the smaller roof top apartment on the next floor, where we have a generously sized terrace to which our guests are invited, and we also offer Breakfast on the terrace, which offers you a refreshing start to your day.

From here we enjoy views of the glorious sunsets over the Theban mountains on the West Bank, and the roof tops and minarets around Luxor, and early in the morning we watch the ballons all rise over the west bank, some of them starying right across the nile and over the top of the terrace before landing near karanack

If you would like to know more please contact Edward & Freda Tel Mobile: 00201 0298 7993
or visit our website

Apartment rental starts from £160