not exactly a travel guide, per se, Budge's Egypt is subtitled "A Classic 19th Century Travel Guide".
It was originally published in 1890 as "The Nile:
Notes for Travelers in Egypt" and is meant to
be a gentle introduction to the culture and history
of Egypt for those gentle Englishmen and Englishwomen
venturing out into the wilds of the Sahara desert.
They came to see the wonders of Egypt, which gained
a tremendous amount of attention from the antiquities
coming to England and the rest of Europe.
The book focuses on the major sites on the nile, and
spends quite a bit of time talking about the country
of Egypt and its history. I have a penchant for picking
up old travel guides -- I love the view of the world
that these early travel writers had, and the more
relaxed and elegant travel style they seem to have fostered.
Nowadays, you can fly to Egypt from New York in about
11 hours, and trains and cars make the long drive
along the Nile a quick jaunt.
When travelers were reliant on ships or overland to get
to these remote places, the pace of travel was
quite a bit more sedate. But what interests me the
most is the often patronizing and colonial view that
travel writers had about the lands they described.
The Egypt described by Budge is one of English opulence
and poor, backwards natives who needed the influence
of "the world". It's an interesting view. Budge - a renowned scholar of his day-- obviously
has tremendous respect for the ancient culture that
he is describing, but he does reflect the view that
"modern Egypt" is backwards, unsophisticated,
But the history doesn't change much, despite being colored
by the hindsight of our current culture, and Budge's
detailed description of the temples and tombs is interesting.
It is especially interesting for the sites that are
no longer open, or those that have changed dramatically
(Philae, for example.) The esteemed Cook Travel Agency
-- the first to organize cruises down the Nile --
provided a copy of this work to each and every guest
traveling with them around the turn of the century.
Much of Budge's work in translating hieroglyphs has
been dismissed fairly recently as inaccurate, so his
translations and historic timelines shouldn't be taken
as gospel. Most of his scholarly works can be found it
the Dover reprints.