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"Time & Space in the Temples & Pyramids"

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Hathor_Bahari3.jpg (30163 bytes) Khafare_pyramid_alone.jpg (26561 bytes)

"Time & Space in the Temples & Pyramids"
9-day Egypt Tour over New Years' 2004
Saturday, December 27 (Dec 26 from USA) – Sunday, January 4, 2004

Day-by-Day Itinerary

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Travelers can begin their tour in Cairo, Egypt or New York, USA or London, UK

Day 0, Fri.: For those beginning their tour in New York, USA, our plane leaves NY City, at 11:00 PM, Friday, December 26.  Ruth Shilling meets the group at JFK airport in New York City and accompanies the group on the flight to Egypt.  We fly direct non-stop from New York city, USA to Cairo, Egypt.Those arriving from places other than New York should plan to arrive in Cairo sometime Saturday, December 27.  We will arrange to have someone greet you at the airport.  We welcome travelers from all countries to join us on these tours.

Obelisk at LuxorTemple Day 1, Sat, December 27: Afternoon arrival in Cairo (7 hours ahead of New York time, 2 hours ahead of Greenwich). Welcome to Egypt!  We continue on with the short flight to Luxor, arriving in the evening.  

Day 2:  Our Egypt experiences begin with the Luxor Temple.  Both gently beautiful and full of awesome grandness, this temple was the "Bride of Karnak" during the annual Apet festival.  We begin with free time to let our first impressions be untainted by external opinions.  Then we gather together and go through the temple with our Egyptologist.  Plenty of time for questions.  We finish with more free time to get those important photos or to just wander a bit more.Luxor Museum's Hathor statue from the new discoveries at Luxor Temple
 Early evening visit to the Luxor Museum with its special exhibit room of 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.

Day 3:  For those who would like, we return to the Luxor Temple for an early morning meditation before the crowds arrive.  After breakfast (always a sumptuous buffet at our hotel) we visit Hatshepsut’s Temple, called "The Most Splendid of All" by the ancient Egyptians.  Karnak's Hypostyle_Hall
The splendors of Karnak fill the rest of our day.  Each Pharaoh wanted to leave something impressive at Karnak.  Obelisks and temples abound.  
Optional opportunity:  Sound & Light Show at Karnak in the evening.

Day 4:  Today is our day to journey to Abydos, the place of pilgrimage during Ancient Egyptian times.   Abydos is filled with magic, mystery and transformation.  Our bus passes the hills of Nag Hamadi, where the scrolls were found that contain some of the Gnostic gospels. 
Abydos Sanctuary On our return to Luxor we stop at Denderah to visit the Hathor Temple there.  Long a place of worship of the Goddess Hathor, the present temple was built during the Ptolemaic (Greek) era.  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. 

Astrological ceiling in the Valley of KingsDay 5: Our morning meditation is with the fiery lioness, Sekhmet, in her chapel at Karnak.   Death in ancient Egypt was seen as a transition into the afterlife.  We visit the tombs on the West Bank today.  The west symbolized the afterlife or "other side."  We explore the Valley of the Kings (where King Tut’s tomb was found) and the tombs in the Valley of the Workmen with their brightly colored wall murals.  We finish our day at the temple of Medinet Habu.  The Osirion chapel shows us representations of the story of the goddess Isis bringing the pieces of Osiris back together again, a powerful story of healing and the spiritual path.
Evening flight back to Cairo.  Our hotel is right near the pyramids! Just in time for New Year's Eve.

Great Pyramid sarcophagus - Kings ChamberDay 6, January 1, 2004: Today we enjoy a full day at the Giza Plateau.  We have time in the Great Pyramid exploring the different chambers and having time to sit and listen within (the power of such an experience is not to be underestimated).  We go inside the 2nd or 3rd Pyramid (whichever is open at that time), and see the Sphinx and Valley Temple. There are legends of the Sphinx speaking.  Does the Sphinx have a message for you?
Sakkara Entrance and outside wall We also see the Solar Boat (found beside the Great Pyramid) and  have camel rides at the Giza plateau. 
Optional opportunity:  Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids.

Day 7:  This morning we drive south through the farmlands along the canals until we reach the Sakkara complex. Here we see the Step Pyramid, the early versions of the Book of the Dead and some interesting tombs.  
In the afternoon we visit the Mohammed Ali mosque ("Alabaster Mosque") and then have a leisurely, full visit to the Cairo Egyptian Museum. The museum now stays open into the evening and there are fewer tourists at this time.  Mummies, hundreds of statues and the King Tut collection are all there for our perusal. Having experienced the different temples and pyramids, the Old Kingdom, New Kingdom and Ptolemaic (Greek) eras are now part of our common knowledge and the artifacts at the museum have more meaning for us.
Afterwards we explore the colorful Kahn al-Khalili bazaar.

Early morning horseback ride at GizaDay 8:  On our last day in Egypt we have a second visit to the pyramids, Sphinx and Giza plateau before driving out into the desert to Dashur where we spend the rest of the day in the vast quiet of the Egyptian desert.  
We go inside the Red Pyramid (nearly as large as Giza's Great Pyramid) with its unparalleled acoustics.  We also have the opportunity for an unforgettable walk across the open desert to the Bent PyramidThe Bent Pyramid at DashurThe Bent pyramid was a key center of worship during the Middle Kingdom.  We enjoy the deep peace in this place.  The next morning it will be time to face airports and all the hustle and bustle of modern life on our journeys home.
Farewell dinner at King Zoser's Lodge with a feast made of Ancient Egyptian recipes.

Sunday, Jan 4, Day 9:  Those returning to the USA depart Cairo at 9:00 AM.  Arrival in New York City in the afternoon, 3:30 PM New York time (7 hours behind Cairo time).

There may be changes to this itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.

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List of sites included in the New Year's Tour

Photo credits this page: all photos by Ruth Shilling


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