3, Tues, Sept 12:
Today we spend a full day on the Giza Plateau. We visit the Great
Pyramid* (of course!) and either the 2nd or 3rd Pyramid, whichever
one is open (of the three pyramids, two will be open and one closed for
renovations - dates are not announced in advance). We also see the
Solar Boat (almost 5,000 years old!), the Sphinx* and Valley
are legends of the Sphinx speaking. Does the Sphinx have a message
for you? Camel rides for the adventurous.
* Note: We are pleased that beginning in 2005, the Egyptian
government is again issuing special permits that have allowed us to
enter the Great Pyramid with only our small groups. These permits
also allowed us to go inside the Sphinx enclosure - you can touch the
Sphinx! This privilege cannot be guaranteed, but we hope that we
will continue to have this special opportunity.
Evening visits to a Perfume Oil Shop and/or the Sound &
Light Show at the Giza pyramids this evening.
4, Wed, Sept 13:
FREE DAY WITH OPTIONS*. You may be ready for a
day relaxing by the pool as you gaze up at the pyramids. Time to
write those postcards at last or organize your things before leaving for
Upper Egypt tomorrow? Or you may choose from the following
Day trip into Cairo to see the Coptic churches in the area known
as "Old Cairo." Afterwards explore the colorful Kahn
al-Khalili bazaar. Enjoy shopping and bargaining, linger over
dinner at the famous historic Naguib Mafouz restaurant or try smoking
some shisha (flavored tobacco) at an outdoor cafe.
Take a day-long to trip to Alexandria. With the feel of a
European city, Alexandria is quite different than the rest of Egypt.
Your trip includes visits to the Catacombs of Kom el Shugafa, "Pompey's
Pillar," the Roman Amphitheater and the Greco-Roman
Museum. Or you may prefer to spend the whole day at the newly
opened Alexandria Library. Return to Cairo by evening.
Shopping in Cairo. Visit the Avenue of the Tent-makers
in the old city where you can buy appliquéd items directly from the
makers, Kerdasa - where they make a wide variety of galebeya
dresses and the Kahn El Khalili bazaar for wide variety of goods,
including belly dancing costumes. Shopping escorted and assisted
On this free day, your lunch and dinner are not included. All
other meals on the tour are included in your tour price (and you get to
order whatever you would like, we pick up the tab!).
Sufi Dancing with live music at the Citadel this evening.
A Nile Dinner Cruise with belly dancer and other entertainment.
5, Thurs, Sept 14:
This morning we head out into the desert again to visit the Nuiserre
Sun Temple at Abu Gurab and see the pyramids at Abu Sir. This
is a rare opportunity, as these sites are rarely visited by tourists.
This is by special permission from the Department of Antiquities.
The central alabaster alter of the sun temple sends out "hotep"
blessings in all 4 directions.
Or you may decide to take the morning off and enjoy the pool and a
leisurely breakfast before packing up to leave for Luxor this evening.
leave in the late morning to visit the Cairo Egyptian Museum –
mummies, hundreds of statues and the King Tut collection. We have
a good, long visit - a guided tour, as well as free time.
(10:15 PM) one-hour flight to Luxor. Accommodation: Luxor Hilton
or similar, 5 star hotel, located directly on the Nile.
6, Fri, Sept 15: Here
in Luxor our New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC) experiences begin on the West
Bank with a visit to Hatshepsut’s Temple, Deir El
Bahari, called "The Most Splendid of All" by the ancient
Egyptians. This is the oldest temple available to visit from
the New Kingdom, so we start at the very beginning...
west represented the hereafter and is where the dead were buried.
Today we visit perhaps the most colorful tombs presently available for
viewing in Luxor, the Workman's Village, Deir El Medina, gives us
a look at some of the tombs most often represented in books about
Ancient Egypt. Whereas on Wednesday at Sakkara we saw scenes of
daily life during the Old Kingdom, today we see the daily life
represented during the New Kingdom (about 1,000 years later).
we see the rarely visited Ramesseum, a favorite of many of our
travelers. This is where the fallen statue of Ramesses II
inspired a poem by Shelley.
As we leave the West Bank of Luxor we see the "Colossi of
Memnon," the two large statues of Amenhotep III that still
stand, even though their temple is long ago destroyed.
we arrive on the East Bank we may have the privilege of being invited
for lunch at our bus drivers' house. A chance to meet some
of the villagers and see there lives "up close."
the late-afternoon and early evening we visit to the Luxor Temple
when the lighting is optimal for seeing the wall reliefs. The
dramatic lighting also helps give the temple a special feeling in the
evening. Both gently beautiful and full of awesome grandness, this
temple was the "Bride of Karnak" during the annual Apet
7, Sat, Sept 16:
For those who would like, we have a second visit to the Luxor Temple,
this time in the early morning. It's a wonderful setting for an
early morning meditation, or perhaps you would rather photograph, sketch
or just wander around. It is a pleasure to be there before the
crowds of tourists arrive.
Another option is a sunrise Balloon Ride over the West Bank of
Luxor. See the temples we visit from the air!
After breakfast back at the hotel, the splendors of Karnak fill
the rest of our day. Each Pharaoh wanted to leave something
impressive at Karnak. The largest temple complex in Egypt, we see
multiple temples, obelisks, great gates and the famous hypostyle hall -
unequalled to this day. Also at Karnak, we visit the fascinating Open
Air Museum where we view the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut
(Karnak's original Holy of Holies), Senwosret's White Chapel with
its famous finely-carved hieroglyphs (Middle Kingdom) and other
Visit a jewelry shop where you can buy custom-made items in gold
Sound & Light Show at Karnak.
8, Sun, Sept 17: A
full days trip in our own private A/C bus to the Temple of Seti I (with
the renowned Osireion) at Abydos and the Temple of
Hathor at Dendera. Our bus passes the hills of Nag
Hamadi, where the scrolls were found that contain some of the
Abydos was the place of pilgrimage during Ancient Egyptian times
and still holds much of the mystery of the past.
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.
9, Monday, Sept 18:
You may choose to visit Karnak temple again this morning, either
to catch the stunning photos provided by the early morning light or to
do a meditation with the fiery lioness, Sekhmet, in her chapel
there. Or you may decide to sleep in and meet the others afterwards at
we make a second visit to the West Bank of Luxor. The
famous Valley of the Kings (where King Tut’s tomb was found). You
will get to go inside a number of tombs, but we never know until we get
there which ones will be open that day. The newly opened tomb of
Ramesses I has been beautifully restored and rivals the now-closed tomb
of Nefertari in the vibrancy of the colors.
the afternoon we finish our explorations of the New Kingdom with the
last great temple to be built during that period, Medinet Habu.
Second only to Karnak in size, built by Ramesses III on a site that was
seeded by a temple built by Hatshepsut at the very beginning of the New
Kingdom, it is a fitting way to finish our tour together. There is
a wonderful hall of pillars with colored reliefs of the many gods &
goddesses that you have come to know through your lectures with Ruth and
Ehab. How many can you identify now?
will also stop at one of the local Alabaster Shops, if there is
an interest. (Better to buy this sort of thing at the very end of
afternoon/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. Again, a chance to test chance your
present knowledge of Egyptian history, and where and when the artifacts
displayed here fit into it.
Return flight to
Cairo this evening, so that you will be ready to take the Tuesday
morning flight back to New York, or another destination. Or board
a Nile Cruise boat to continue your Egypt tour with a Nile Cruise &
Abu Simbel extension provided by our affiliate, American Express
10, Tuesday, September 19:
Flights home or spend more time enjoying the riches of Egypt. See
options at Day 4
There may be changes to this itinerary due to circumstances beyond our
and What Is Included in this September 10-19, 2006 Tour