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Abydos
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Great Sphinx and middle pyramid Kiosk at Philae Isis Temple, Aswan

"Mystical Magical Egypt"
15-day Egypt Tour with Nile Cruise, Beginning in Cairo : Feb 27 - March 13, 2005
with
Ruth Shilling & All One World Egypt Tours

This is a Specially Designed Tour for members (and friends) of TAIKIT ("Truth As I Know It Today"), a group that meets in Sedona, Arizona, USA.
A slower-paced tour with some seniors, as well as younger people of varying ages.

Others are welcomed to join them.

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Day-by-Day Itinerary

CLICK all pictures to ENLARGE.  Use BACK arrow to return to page.
Travelers can begin their tour in Cairo, Egypt or New York, USA

Day 1, Sat., Feb 26, 2005: For those beginning their tour in New York, USA, our plane leaves NY City, at 6:30 PM, Saturday, February 26, 2005.  You fly direct non-stop from New York city, USA to Cairo, Egypt. Other departure cities in the USA are available as add-on's.  Contact Us for pricing.
Those arriving from places other than New York should plan to arrive in Cairo sometime Sunday, February 27.  We will arrange to have someone greet you at the airport.  

Day 2, Sun.: Midday arrival in Cairo (7 hours ahead of New York time, 2 hours ahead of Greenwich) where you will be met by Ruth Shilling and her associates in Egypt. 

Our 5-star hotel is right near the pyramids.  Check-in at the hotel, freshen up and meet in the late afternoon for an orientation followed by a welcome dinner.  You are in Egypt at last!
Mena House, Giza.  5-star hotel
, all meals are included*.

Patty_on_camel.jpg (41120 bytes)Day 3, Mon.: What better way to feel the charms of Egypt than an early morning camel ride at the pyramids?  An opportunity most will enjoy immensely.

Afterwards we drive southward through lush farmlands to the sites at the Sakkara complex where we see the Step Pyramid, the early versions of the Book of the Dead (Teti Pyramid) and some interesting tombs.  These tombs have some exquisite scenes of daily life during the Old Kingdom.

Sakkara Step pyramidLunch is specially prepared for our group at King Zoser's Lodge, in Sakkara.  You will enjoy the country setting and warm hospitality of Bakr and his wife, and probably a few of their children as well.

In the afternoon we visit the site of Memphis, the "City of the White Wall," the capital city of Egypt during the Old Kingdom.  

An early dinner so that we can get good seats for the Sufi Dancing at the Citadel tonight.  Live musicians play trance-inducing music while men in wide skirts dance and whirl.
Mena House, Giza.  5-star hotel.

Lori at Giza Pyramid PanoramaDay 4, Tues.: A full day on the Giza Plateau. We visit the Great Pyramid and the newly re-opened "3rd Pyramid" or the 2nd Pyramid, whichever is open at the time.  If all goes well we can also visit at least one of the Queens' Pyramids.  Beside the Great Pyramid we see the Solar Boat (almost 5,000 years old!).  We also visit the Sphinx and Valley Temple. There are legends of the Sphinx speaking. Does the Sphinx have a message for you?  

Late afternoon visit to a local Papyrus Institute where you will see how the ancient papyrus was made as well as what modern day artists are now painting on papyrus.

Sound & Light show at the Giza Pyramids. (Included in your tour price.) 
Mena House, Giza.  5-star hotel.

Day 5, Wed.: A FREE DAY with the following options:
Option 1: Day trip to Alexandria. See the Alexandria Library, and other sites of interest to your group.  
Cost: $50 pp. with a minimum of 5 persons.

Option 2: Day tour  into Cairo to visit the old part of the city, now called "Old Cairo." Visit the Coptic Churches and historic synagogue. St. Sergius Church commemorates a place where the Holy Family rested during their journey through Egypt. St. Barbara’s is dedicated to a Christian martyr (Barbara). 

See the panoramic view of Cairo from the Citadel and visit the famous "Alabaster Mosque" - Mohammed Ali Mosque. Afterwards enjoy an afternoon of shopping at the Khan El Khalili Bazaar (we will also visit the bazaar at the end of our tour).
Cost: $40 pp. with a minimum of 3 persons. 

Option 3:  Relax at our hotel, the historic Mena House, swim in the pool as you gaze up at the pyramids, go back to the Giza Plateau, shop in Giza or just sleep in. 
Mena House, Giza.  5-star hotel.

Ka statue.jpg (19509 bytes)Day 6, Thurs.: Check out of our hotel and head into Cairo to visit to the incomparable Cairo Egyptian Museum – mummies, hundreds of statues and the King Tut collection. One could spend a week here and not see everything.  Included in your tour is the Mummy Room, with the mummy of Ramesses the Great (the II).

Afternoon flight to Luxor.  Check into our Luxor hotel, located directly on the Nile.
Luxor Hilton, 5 star hotel.

Hatshepsut's Temple Deir El Bahari at sunriseDay 7, Fri.:  Today we begin our visits to the sacred sites of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC). We start by journeying across the Nile to the West Bank where we visit one of the earliest temples of the New Kingdom era, Queen Hatshepsut’s famous Deir El Bahari, called "The Most Splendid of All" by the ancient Egyptians. One of the outstanding features is the picturesque Hathor columns in the Hathor Chapel on the 2nd Level. We are also privileged to be admitted to the 3rd level which was only opened to the public last year.

We also visit the "Valley of the Workmen," called the "Valley of Truth" in Ancient Egypt.  This is where the artists that decorated the tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived.  Their own tombs have colorful scenes from daily life in the New Kingdom.

While on the West Bank we may be privileged to visit our bus driver's house in a small West Bank village.  Meet his delightful wife and some of his six children.

As we leave the West Bank we stop at what are now called the "Colossi of Memnon." They are actually colossi of Amenhotep III. The Greeks, however, thought they were statues of Memnon, the son of Eros.

Back to the East Bank for a late lunch at an Egyptian restaurant (with Internet café available nearby – you can check email). After lunch we visit the Luxor Temple. The late afternoon lighting lends drama to the wall reliefs. Both gently beautiful and full of awesome grandness, the Luxor Temple was the "Bride of Karnak." During the annual Apet festival a sacred barque journeyed between them along the Avenue of the Sphinxes. Now a days, in the USA, the floats of the annual rose bowl parade mimic the boats of the ancient Apet festival.

The Luxor Temple has a stirring beauty. Schwaller de Lubicz spent 20 years measuring every inch of this temple and marveled at the perfection he found there.
Luxor Hilton, 5 star hotel.

Abydos_Sanctuary.jpg (20369 bytes)Day 8, Sat.:  A full days trip by bus to the Temple of Hathor at Dendera and the Temple of Seti I and the renowned Osireion at Abydos.   Our bus passes the hills of Nag Hamadi, where the scrolls were found that contain some of the Gnostic gospels.  
Abydos was the place of pilgrimage during ancient Egyptian times and still holds much of the mystery of the past.  

Denderah_ceiling.jpg (32680 bytes)The Temple of Hathor was built during the Ptolemaic (Greek) era on a much older site that had been a place of worshiping the Goddess Hathor in earlier times.  The famous circular zodiac was found in the ceiling of a chapel on the roof of the temple.  The ceilings and walls of the main hypostyle hall are full of astrological imagery.

Optional: Sound & Light Show at Karnak in the evening.  Cost: $15-20 pp.
Luxor Hilton, 5 star hotel.

Karnak_Hypostyle_Hall.jpg (23903 bytes)Karnak southern gate

Day 9, Sun.:  The splendors of the Karnak Temple Complex fill most of our day today. Luxor was the center of government during the New Kingdom and each Pharaoh wanted to leave something impressive at Karnak. Obelisks and temples abound. Bring extra film for Karnak.  

Cube statue, Luxor museumAfter a late lunch at a nearby restaurant we make a late afternoon visit to the Luxor Museum. There is a special exhibit room for a cache of statues found in near-perfect condition. They were buried under a courtyard at the Luxor Temple and found only recently during renovations.  There is also a new wing, just opened this year, with an excellent mummy exhibit and a number of splendid artifacts.  Our friend, Rachid, is painstakingly putting together a wall from Tel Amarna (displayed at the Luxor Museum) and each time we visit he has more of it completed.

Evening visit to a gold shop, if you would like.
Luxor Hilton, 5 star hotel.

Astrological ceiling in the Valley of the KingsDay 10, Mon.:  Check out of our hotel and onto the Movenpick Radamis Nile Cruise.  A second visit to the West Bank.  This time to visit the Valley of the Kings (including King Tut’s tomb).  There are many tombs here, and excavations are still going on, as well as renovations to tombs that have been uncovered a long time. One never knows which tombs will be open, but there will be a variety to choose from. There are 3 tombs included in your ticket, in addition to a ticket for King Tut. 

We return to our Nile Cruise boat for lunch.  Time for any last minute shopping in Luxor.  Maybe a visit to Aboudy's Book Shop or the gold shop again.  Overnight docked in Luxor. 
Movenpick Radamis I Nile Cruise, 5 star.

Debra Olson on Nile cruiseDay 11, Tues.:  A day to relax, enjoy the timeless-ness of the Nile and watch the landscape glide slowly by as we begin sailing up the Nile towards Aswan.  Afternoon tea on deck.  There is often excitement on deck as we pass through the lock at Esna.  The locals come out in boats to hawk their wares while the cruise boats wait their turn in the lock.   

Entertainment on board in the evening.  Overnight docked in Esna.
Movenpick Radamis I Nile Cruise, 5 star.

Day 12, Wed.:  Morning visit to Edfu’s Temple of Horus, the best preserved temple in Egypt. Like Denderah, it was built during the Ptolemaic era on an older temple site. Edfu and Denderah were paired and there was also a festival where a sacred barque was carried from one to the other.

Kom_Ombo temple.jpg (31310 bytes)In the late afternoon we visit the Ptolemaic temple for Sobek and Haroeris at Kom Ombo. The god Sobek is represented as a crocodile. Haroeris is a form of the hawk or falcon deity Horus. If you are on deck at the right time you will to see, as we round a curve, this temple overlooking the Nile. We dock in front and walk up to the temple.

There are mummified crocodiles and some beautiful wall reliefs. There are also surgical instruments represented on the walls, so it is assumed that it was a healing temple.

Overnight docked at Kom Ombo.
Movenpick Radamis I Nile Cruise, 5 star.

Day 13, Thurs.:  Visit to the Nubian Museum in the morning if we arrive in Aswan in time.

Philae KioskA wonderful treat is visiting the beautiful Temple of Isis at Philae. Situated on an island, we approach by motorboat and the photo-op’s are not to be missed! The last place to practice the ancient Egyptian religion, the Isis Temple was closed in the 6th century AD by the Emperor Justinian (the same one that built St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai). It was later used as a Christian church.  Afternoon is the perfect time (fewer crowds) for a long, full visit at the Temple of Isis. 

Aswan market streetYou may want to spend the evening adventuring at the ancient market place in Aswan.  Try your hand at bargaining or just enjoy the sights and smells, like stepping into a storybook of the past.

Overnight docked in Aswan.
Movenpick Radamis I Nile Cruise, 5 star.

Day 14, Friday:  Check out of our Nile Cruise boat.  Those who choose to take the Abu Simbel excursion will leave the cruise boat early this morning. There are two temples, one for Ramesses II and the other for his queen, Nefertari. The temples attracted a lot of international attention when they were moved by UNESCO during the construction of the High Dam. The original site was flooded by Lake Nasser (which formed when the High Dam was built).

Those who do not go to Abu Simbel will have a leisurely morning on the cruise boat and then getting settled at the New Cataract Hotel, situated directly on the Nile, overlooking the archeological site on Elephantine Island.

Afternoon tea on the veranda of the Old Cataract, followed by dinner in the Moorish-style dining room of the Old Cataract.  Feel a bit of the past and some of the romance that inspired Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.  A good chance for us to be together as a group and begin to bring together our many experiences over the past 2 weeks.
New Cataract Hotel, 5 star hotel.

Nubian boatman on fellucaDay 15, Saturday, March 12:  Felluca (the traditional sailboats of the Nubians) ride to the archeological site at Elephantine Island.  The island was a key center of trade throughout all of the 3,000 years of Ancient Egypt, so there is a lot to see. The cataracts made large boat passage impossible, so this is where the traders from the Mediterranean met those coming from deep in Africa.

Here is an opportunity to see a site that is in the process of being excavated. We see new things each time we go. They are excavating temples of the goddess Satet and the God Khnum. This is also where the Ark of the Covenant is said to have rested for a time.   There was a Jewish community here from which there are now a number of artifacts on display at the Boston Museum.

Afternoon flight back to Cairo.  We journey into Cairo where people can do their last minute shopping at the bazaar.

Farewell dinner together at an historic restaurant in the Khan El Kahlili bazaar, the Naguib Mahfouz Café. With an interesting menu of traditional Egyptian foods it gives us a chance to taste dishes not usually found. Maybe you would like the oxtail soup? The menu tells us some of the history of the place, complete with photographs.

Returning back to the Mena House where our adventures together began, it is time to pack our bags before meeting one last time at one of the Mena House restaurants.
Mena House, Giza.  5-star hotel.

Day 16, Sunday, March 13:  Return flight to the USA this morning.  Late afternoon arrival in New York - same day but with an increase of 7 hours for the time difference between Cairo and New York.

There may be changes to this itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.
* As with our other tours, 3 meals a day are included in this tour.

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Photo credits this page: all photos by Ruth Shilling

 


 

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