Monday January 20
Your flight approaches Cairo from the shimmering Mediterranean; flying over the mosques, citadels and minarets that hug the Nile River. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport according to your individual arrival and transferred to the deluxe Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel located on the Nile. This evening attend a welcome briefing with Dr. Chahinda Karim and Temma.
Tuesday, January 21 B
The ancient monuments that stand at the outskirts of Cairo represent the most eloquent introduction to the World’s oldest civilization. We begin chronologically with an exploration of the ruins of the original capital of ancient Egypt at Memphis and Saqqara. This afternoon, back at the hotel, attend a seminar with Dr. Karim.
Wednesday, January 22 B
On the Giza Plateau, you have an optional camel ride before our visit to the Great Pyramid area; these icons of antiquity embody the mystery and majesty of Egypt. We also visit the Sphinx, and the magnificent Solar Boat. Neighboring the Pyramids is the new GEM Museum which promises the world’s greatest collection of Egyptian art and artifacts. The richness of the collection is astonishing; be among the first travelers to visit!
Thursday, January 23 B
Explore Coptic Cairo this morning, visiting the Abu Serga Church built over a crypt used as a shelter for the Holy Family, the Coptic Museum, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue where the Cairo Geniza manuscripts were found. This afternoon, take a walk through Islamic Cairo; immersed in authentic Egyptian culture and society, experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this Islamic city; visiting the new Islamic Museum, mosques, and other notable Islamic monuments. Off the beaten path (in some cases entrance is by special permission), they all are outstanding examples of Islamic art and architecture. Included in this day is the Tentmakers and Khan alKhalili Bazaar; withstanding Egypt’s glories and declines since 1382, it grew from a caravanserai to headquarters for merchants from all over the world—an open-air museum that stands as a metaphor for Islamic life.
Late afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Aswan. On arrival transfer to the deluxe Movenpik Hotel located on Elephantine Island surrounded by nature. To many visitors, Aswan is the loveliest of all cities along the Nile. Famous as a spa at the turn of the century, vintage buildings adorn its corniche, and granite islands mark the Nile’s First Cataract.
Friday, January 24 BLD
Embarkation Sonesta St. George Cruiser
The morning is free to enjoy the amenities of the hotel, or take a walk in Aswan to the Spice Market and Nubian Museum. Alternatively, take an optional morning air excursion to Abu Simbel, where the famed rock-cut temples surpass in size all other temples in Egypt. The Temple of Ramesses II, the most impressive monument in Nubia, and the Temple of Queen Nefertari, his most beloved wife, were saved from destruction by UNESCO.
At noon embark the Sonesta St. George luxury Nile Cruiser – considered one of the finest sailing the Nile. After lunch on board visit, the Temple of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis and famed for its beauty and sanctity in Greco-Roman times. On its island, temples, kiosks, a colonnade, and sanctuaries rise proudly against the skyline. We will also visit the Granite Quarries and sail by felucca to Elephantine Island.
Saturday, January 25 BLD
Sailing the Nile Edfu and Kom Ombo
Departing Aswan this morning we begin our Nile Cruise. Sailing back through time, the pace of our tour changes – our river journey begins, and we relax on deck, observing the passing scenery of the Nile’s timeless shore life. Along its banks, the rural scenes differ little from Biblical and ancient times; the farmer tends his land with a wooden plough and, uses his faithful donkey for transport. Although modern pumping devices are now used, so too is the ancient waterwheel driven by buffaloes. Spend the morning sailing for Kom Ombo. On arrival, we visit the temple; unique among Egyptian temples, it equally honors two gods, Horus, the hawk god, and Sobek, the crocodile god. Spend the afternoon sailing to Edfu. On arrival, travel by horse-drawn carriage to visit the Temple of Horus in Edfu. Begun in 237 B.C., it is the best-preserved ancient structure in Egypt. Dedicated to the hawk-headed god Horus, it is adorned with reliefs that rank among some of the finest in Egypt.
Sunday, January 26 BLD
Sail for Luxor
Early morning embark on the last stage of our Nile cruise sailing for Luxor. We have arrived in Ancient Thebes, for several centuries the seat of the Middle and New Kingdom dynasties, and the virtual center of the ancient world. The mysterious limestone mountains that rise up beyond the twisting, arid valley just above the Nile flood plain are honeycombed with treasures and curiosities; a place of secrets and legends. Dr. Karim will join us onboard for a seminar; Ancient and modern Egypt and Bible History come alive as Dr. Karim brings context and perspective to all your experiences in Egypt . At sunset, take a magical tour of the Luxor Temple illuminated at night.
Monday, January 27 B
Disembarkation/Luxor West Bank
Early morning, we will travel to the West Bank of the Nile River. There are two Valleys of the Kings; the first highlight of the day’s itinerary is a visit to the remote, rarely visited West Valley – a huge wadi, desert canyon. Known for its’ pristine silence, it boasts untouched, astonishingly beautiful rugged desert scenery. Here we enter the tomb of Ay. The East Valley of the Kings contains 64 tombs belonging to the pharaohs of the 18th 20th Dynasties. The tombs were hewn out of bedrock and decorated throughout with scenes of the journey of the sun-god through the underworld. We’ll enter several of them and the Seti Temple. After a brief lunch stop, visit the newly restored Carter House and the stunning new replica of King Tut’s Tomb which was discovered by Carter in the early 1900s. On return to the East Bank of Luxor we check in to the deluxe Sonesta St. George Hotel, located on the Nile.
Tuesday, January 28 B
Luxor/Abydos and Dendera
Traveling north of Luxor for the day, our first stop is the Temples of Seti I at Abydos. During his reign, Seti I encouraged an artistic and architectural revival which Abydos reflects especially today after an excellent restoration. Considered one of Egypt’s most sacred cities, the temple is the cult center of its most beloved heroes – Osiris, Isis and Horus, and one of the most beautiful in all of Egypt. Dedicated to Hathor, Dendera is a fine example of Ptolemaic architecture. Its’ distinctive features include a hypostyle hall with 18 Hathorcolumns supporting a roof decorated with remarkable astrological scenes.
Wednesday, January 29 B
Luxor return to the West Bank
Returning to the West Bank today, visit the Valley of the Nobles which contain scenes of everyday life in the New Kingdom; visit the tombs of Ramose and the newly opened Menna, Roy and Shuroy. At Dier el Medina, the Workers Village which was occupied by generations of laborers who toiled in the Valley of the Kings constructing tombs for the Pharaohs, enter Senejem and Nakht Amun which beautifully portray daily life in ancient Egypt. On a walk through its old city and temple, understand how the workers lived, prayed, and were buried. Meet with Archaeolgists at the mortuary temple of Medinet Habu and explore the unique mortuary temple of Merneptah. Stop briefly at the Temple of Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon and the Ramesseum.
Thursday, January 30 BD
This morning, explore Karnak Temple, the greatest shrine of antiquity, and a supreme manifestation of ancient Egypt’s power and wealth, and the Luxor Museum – a fine collection discovered by chance in a cache in the colonnaded open court of the Luxor Temple.
Sadly, we leave ancient Thebes reminiscent of the adage: “The Nile surpasses all rivers of the earth in sweetness of taste, length of course and utility,” … Ibn Battua, a Medieval historian. Once you have sampled the Nile River, you will want to return.
Transfer to the Luxor airport for your flight back to Cairo. On arrival, transfer and check in to the deluxe Meridien Airport Hotel, featuring soundproofed rooms and direct access to Terminal 3 via a footbridge. As an appropriate end to our journey, travel to the fashionable suburb of Maadi. We’ll get a ‘taste’ of the local culture on a walk through its neighborhood and enjoy an Egyptian hosted dinner in a private home with local Egyptians.
Friday, January 31 B Cairo/USA
Depart the Meridien Hotel and enter the International Airport for your individual flights to the United States. Leaving Egypt, we are captivated by a quote from Florence Nightingale, “…One wonders that people come back from Egypt and live lives as they did before.”
Dr. Chahinda Karim of the American University in Cairo, brings context and perspective to all of your experiences.
BAS participants have called Chahinda the “Treasure of Egypt”. Egypt comes alive as she integrates Egyptology with archaeology, art, history and culture; creating meaningful connections to all of the sights of Egypt. A delightful, personable and down-to-earth lecturer, she communicates her knowledge brilliantly as she inspires real learning.
“Dr. Karim is gifted in her knowledge and ability to blend the latest archaeological theories with the spirit of ancient Egypt. She inspires a deep appreciation for the grandeur and complexity of Egypt’s art and architecture, both past and present, and is uniquely educated and experienced to meet the intellectual demands of the discerning traveler.” - S. Carey, Boston
From her earliest days in tourism, Temma Ecker, President Journeys of the Mind, Inc. has nurtured both a profound love of learning about other cultures and a belief that travel should foster an in-depth understanding of our world. Temma has designed and led more that 100 tours to Egypt and the greater Middle East for clients ranging from large cultural institutions to individuals and small groups with special interests. Traveling with her clients, she shares a passion for Egypt and offers an insider’s knowledge of its people and places and an educator’s eye for detail and design.