Ancient Lands 2022: Egypt - 11 Days

Overview

Hosted by Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan

November 9 – 19, 2022

$7,945

If you have traveled with Jim Heck before you know that one of his greatest passions is early man. This trip is the next step.

Archaeological sites in many parts of the world record a serious advance in human civilization around 7000 years ago marked by sophisticated trade and encouraged by a more comfortable climate, warm and wet. This is when agriculture developed, the first great collective human achievement.

This peaked around 3500 BCE simultaneously in Pakistan’s Indus Valley and Egypt. [China’s civilization at this point was a thousand years behind.] Just the buildings that you’ll see on this trip, from the pyramids to Petra to the Golden Dome, remain the most awesome structures man has ever constructed! And to think that they were built so long ago is mind-boggling.

Then the favorable climate began to reverse: It got hotter, sea levels declined and rain drastically decreased. Competition for good agricultural land grew fierce and we believe provoked alliances that turned into the “governments” of kings and pharaohs. Just after 3500 BCE the center of world power and politics was indisputably what is now Egypt, Jordan and Israel. The first and greatest capital in the world was Jerusalem.

I think you know what followed: endless conflict, wars, a constant struggle for diminishing good land. The relative paradise, the Garden of Eden – as simple and primitive as it was from 7000-3500 BCE – ended with human conflict and intelligence battling for an increasingly challenged natural world.

If you believe like many historians – ancient and modern – that an understanding of the present is only possible with a foundational understanding of the past, how does this work? Well, by schooling and study of course. But there’s also a more fun way: you can actually visit the places to see for yourself!

You’ll all warrant post-grad degrees after this trip! Of course these countries have popular beaches and Disneyland theme parks, even casinos. And as you’ll see on this trip, wondrous natural areas, too. But a visitor can’t go a minute in any of these places without some obvious reference to the gravitas of its past and the obvious implications for our future.

So Jim is specially pleased that this weighty task is started for us by the extremely special guide, Husam Jubran. Watch his half-hour interview with Rick Steves by clicking here. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-simplification to contend that the whole complicated struggle of the world can be reduced to the struggles between religions: Christians and Muslims, Jews and Palestinians, etc. Husam is one of only 43 Palestinian guides licensed by Israel to tell Israel’s story. Israel trusts him with their story but he is Palestinian and you’ll hear that story as you would on no other standard trip.

Join me on this extraordinary trip. Your eyes will pop; your brain might explode, but in the end I hope you’ll find the unique peace which a little bit more of the understanding of the human endeavor brings to us all.

You can choose to visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt or all three.  This page details the Egypt itinerary.

2022 Sharing Single
Israel Oct 30 – Nov 2 $ 3,645 $ 3,930
Jordan Nov 3 – 8 $ 3,680 $ 4,080
Egypt Nov 9 – 19 $ 7,945 $ 8,780

Note about the sightseeing: We’ve packed an awful lot into this tour in all three countries even though it hardly skims the surface. At the same time it’s probably too much for some people. If you’d like some free time or have certain other attractions in mind that aren’t described in the itinerary, let us know! It’s easy to skip or substitute days or half days and all the guides are prepared to assist you with convenient, quick and inexpensive ways of leaving the sightseeing early or catching up with it later in the day.

Itinerary

Day 1
CAIRO - Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Whenever you arrive in Cairo you’ll be personally transferred to our hotel downtown. It’s quite safe to wander around the area along the beautiful Nile River promenade. Nearby is the medieval market of Khan El-Khalili, plenty of cinemas, theaters presenting everything from opera to dance, and several nearby modern malls. Overnight at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.
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Day 2
CAIRO - Thursday, November 10

A professional Egyptologist guide will spend the day with the group in Cairo, starting at the spectacular new Egyptian Museum. The museum claims to be the largest museum in the world and certainly its collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts is unmatched. You’ll see the treasures of the “boy-king” Tutankhamun and much more. Continue to the Citadel, a medieval fortress perched high on limestone hills above Cairo followed by a walking tour down Muiz El-Din Allah Street, recalling the time when it was the main thoroughfare through the heart of Old Cairo. Lunch is included at a traditional Egyptian restaurant. Afternoon touring includes more of the beautiful Islamic monuments and busy markets where Egyptians buy their everyday items. The day’s touring ends with a fascinating visit to the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfumes. Overnight at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.
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Day 3
ASWAN - Friday, November 11

We leave downtown after hotel checkout and travel to Giza this morning to tour the pyramids. The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built over 4,500 years ago as giant tombs for the mummies of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, who were father, son and grandson respectively. They are truly monumental in scale, with the largest – Khufu’s – constructed from over two million blocks. Nearby sits the enigmatic Sphinx with the body of a lion and the face of a man wearing a royal head cloth, which represents the royal security for King Khafre’s enormous funerary monument, one of the pyramids. About a thousand years after the Sphinx was built it was covered in sand until a young prince had a dream in which the Sphinx told him that if he cleared the sand away, he would become Pharaoh. This story is told on the “Dream Stela” that was placed between the Sphinx’s paws by King Tuthmose IV.

Following the touring in Giza the group will enjoy lunch at the nearby Mena House before being taken to the airport for the late afternoon/early evening flight to Aswan. Note that this flight is included in the land price.

On arrival in Aswan transfer to the Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel.
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Day 4
ASWAN - Saturday, November 12

The day is free so that those who wish can enjoy the optional day-trip to Abu-Simbel. Overnight at the Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel.
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OPTIONAL DAY-TRIP TO ABU-SIMBEL
Abu-Simbel is located west of Aswan in the desert. Depart the hotel around 6:30a for the hour-long morning Egyptair flight to the site. It’s one of the most dramatic ancient sites of early Egypt and includes the two temples of Ramses II with their colossal statutes (some nearly 70′ high). Built around 1300 BC it’s also one of the oldest existing sites in such remarkable condition.

As the Aswan dam was being built it was understood that some of the site would be submerged. UNESCO organized a worldwide campaign that raised enormous funds and other assistance so that much of the temple could be cut into blocks then raised piece by piece before reassembled on the site above Lake Nasser which you’ll now visit. After the professionally guided tour clients will enjoy lunch near the site before flying back to Aswan on the 2 p.m. flight which arrives just before 3 p.m.
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Day 5
NILE CRUISE - Sunday, November 13

Much of the morning is free, but those eager to do something before hotel checkout can enjoy a safe walk in the area of the hotel along The Nile. The Nile is at its most beautiful here, flowing around huge granite rocks and palm tree-studded islands. Not far away is the souq for an endless variety of spices, scarves and baskets. The group will be transported to the docks to board our yacht in time for lunch. In the afternoon, take a ride on a felucca (a typical Egyptian sail boat) around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Garden and the Agha Khan Mausoleum. Afternoon Tea is served on board. This evening we enjoy a welcome reception with the other passengers booked on the yacht, featuring Egyptian wine and beer with a selection of local canapés. This is followed by a gourmet dinner, then a folkloric show with Whirling Dervishes. Meals and overnight aboard the yacht “The Nile Adventurer.”
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Day 6
NILE CRUISE - Monday, November 14

A breakfast buffet is served on board followed by a short motorboat ride to visit the romantic and majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. Next it’s on to the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples. Here you see the Unfinished Obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries. Enjoy lunch while cruising to the magnificent Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. Afternoon tea is served while cruising to Edfu. Meals and overnight aboard “The Nile Adventurer.”
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Day 7
NILE CRUISE - Tuesday, November 15

After breakfast visit the extraordinary Temple of Horus. Despite being built by the Greeks, this impressive structure is the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic temple in Egypt. Enjoy lunch while cruising to Esna. Afternoon touring includes the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna. The beautifully preserved Great Hypostle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius; it was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about nine meters lower than present-day street level. Afternoon tea is served while cruising to Luxor. Meals and overnight aboard the “The Nile Adventurer.”
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Day 8
NILE CRUISE - Wednesday, November 16

Morning tour of the Luxor Temple dedicated to the god Amun, followed by a tour of the nearby Temple of Karnak, one of the great sites of antiquity. Return to the yacht for lunch before the afternoon tour of the Valley of the Kings which includes the tomb of Tutankhamen, although which tombs will be open to visits are not determined by Egyptian authorities until much closer to the time. After lunch back on board the yacht the touring continues in the afternoon to the Valley of the Queens and Temple of Queen Hatshpsut. Return to the yacht in time for late afternoon tea. This evening’s farewell dinner is a gala affair with white-gloved waiters serving gourmet cuisine. Meals and overnight aboard the “The Nile Adventurer.”
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Day 9
LUXOR - Thursday, November 17

After breakfast the group will transfer to the city’s most legendary hotel, The Winter Palace, for a final two nights.

Please note that occupancy can’t be guaranteed before 1 p.m., so that after depositing your luggage you may wish to amble down the nearby promenade for lunch.

The Sofitel Winter Palace is a five-star luxury hotel built in 1886 by British explorers and sits perched on the River Nile amid luxuriant tropical gardens and ancient temples. This opulent Luxor hotel blends rich colonial design with the glory of Pharaonic times. The 19th-century palace was the winter retreat for the Egyptian Royal Family and the location where Agatha Christie wrote her famed 1937 novel “Death on the Nile”. In the crystal-lit Victorian Lounge savor afternoon tea with decadent pastries and delicate sandwiches and in the historic 1886 restaurant enjoy fine dining with gourmet French cuisine.

This would also be the day to schedule your hot-air balloon ride. The entire day is independent.
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Day 10
LUXOR - Friday, November 18

Nothing is scheduled, today. There is much more that you can do including visiting the nearby modern souks or returning to a number of ancient sites in the Karnak Temple area that weren’t yet seen. While a full overnight is included today at the Winter Palace, most people will leave this evening for the late night/early morning departures home. This provides occupancy at the grand hotel until virtually leaving for the airport. Overnight included at the Sofitel Winter Palace.
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Day 11
LUXOR - Saturday, November 19

Hotel checkout is at 10 a.m. Private transfers are available for everyone as needed to begin their journey home. These flights are not included in the tour land price but will be bundled into your international air fare. EWT will work with you to make your journey as simple as possible including any additional services you might need to mesh with your flights in Luxor and/or Cairo.
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Cost Includes

  • Accommodations and meals as named
  • Professionally guided sightseeing as described
  • Entrance fees for all included attractions
  • Private transportation for the group
  • Private transfers for international arrivals and departures
  • One intra-country commercial flight from Cairo to Aswan

Additional Expenses Not Included

  • All other necessary air fares, including international, regional and intra-country
  • Visas
  • PCR testing if required
  • Tipping (Jim & Kathleen do not accept tips)
  • The costs of obtaining requisite inoculations and documentation
  • Some meals
  • Most beverages
  • Upgrades and options whose prices and details change and are described on request