The Best of Ancient Egypt
Day 1: Monday, January 7, 2013 ~ U.S.
Depart the U.S. today for Cairo, Egypt.
Day 2: Tuesday, January 8 ~ Cairo, Egypt
You are met at the Cairo Airport by our agents, who assist with baggage, customs, and passport control. Then transfer to the garden wing of the historic Mena House, a former palace which is ideally located at the base of the Pyramids. Overnight at the Mena House for two nights. (L,R,D)
Day 3: Wednesday, January 9 ~ Cairo
Spend the day on the Giza Plateau. In the morning visit the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Solar Boat Museum, the timeless Sphinx, and the Valley Temple of Khafra. After lunch at a restaurant near the pyramids, take a walking tour to visit the Pyramids of Khafra and Menkaura, explore the remains of their mortuary temples, the Tombs of the Noblemen—Qar and Idu—and an ancient limestone quarry. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Thursday, January 10 ~ Cairo | Saqqara | Memphis | Luxor
Today visit the necropolis at Saqqara, site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser and the Pyramid of Teti (with its ancient pyramid texts). While there, see the Tomb of the Brothers and the Tomb of the Nobleman Kagemni. After a late lunch, drive to the ancient capital of Memphis to visit the outdoor museum and see the beautiful Colossus of Ramesses II. Then transfer to the airport and fly to Luxor, where we transfer to our hotel. Overnight at the Steigenberger Nile Palace for four nights. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Friday, January 11 ~ Luxor
Discover Karnak, the world’s largest temple complex (built over the course of a thousand years), where a generous amount of time is scheduled for exploring. Then visit the small but beautiful Luxor Museum. There will be time in the afternoon to visit the bazaar. After dinner, visit Luxor Temple for a spectacular after-dark tour. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Saturday, January 12 ~ Luxor
Join an early morning hike on the ancient workers’ trail over the hill to the Valley of the Kings, or take the bus if you prefer. In the Valley of the Kings, explore several amazing Royal Tombs. Continue on to Deir el Medina, with its small Ptolemaic temple. This is the ancient village of the workers who built the pharaohs’ tombs and also is home to the beautifully preserved Tomb of Sennedjem. After lunch, we visit the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari. We also see the Colossi of Memnon, the statues of Amenhotep III that once stood before his temple. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Sunday, January 13 ~ Luxor | Abydos | Dendara
Today we will visit two of Egypt’s most spectacular and under-visited sites, Abydos and Dendara. At Abydos we will explore the Temple of Seti I, the Temple of Ramesses II and the Osirion. After lunch we will continue on to the Temple of Hathor at Dendara, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Monday, January 14 ~ Luxor | Embarkation
Today we return to the West Bank to see the Ramesseum (the mortuary temple of Ramesses II and inspiration for Shelley’s poem "Ozymandias"), and Medinet Habu, the temple of Ramesses III and best preserved of the New Kingdom temples. Continue to the Valley of the Queens, and the deeply touching Tomb of Khaemwaset, a young son of Ramesses III. This afternoon, board a 5-star deluxe Nile cruise boat for three nights. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Tuesday, January 15 ~ Nile Cruising
We cruise toward Aswan. After passing through the Esna Lock we continue on until we reach Edfu, where we dock for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Wednesday, January 16 ~ Edfu | Kom Ombo | Aswan
This morning we disembark at Edfu, where horse-drawn carriages will meet us and take us to the Temple of Horus, the best-preserved temple on the Nile. Continue sailing most of the day, and then enjoy a short walk to the twin Temples of Sobek and Horus at Kom Ombo. Be sure to see the mummified crocodiles. Our boat should reach Aswan after dark. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Thursday, January 17 ~ Disembarkation | Aswan
Disembark our Nile cruise boat this morning and board feluccas to visit the archaeological site on Elephantine Island and the 6th and 12th Dynasty Tombs of the Nobles on the West Bank. After checking into our hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the Movenpick Resort Aswan for two nights. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Friday, January 18 ~ Aswan | Abu Simbel | Aswan
Today we fly to Abu Simbel to visit the two fantastic rock-cut temples of Ramesses II (built to honor himself and his queen, Nefertari). Moved when the High Dam was built, they are a marvel of ancient and modern engineering. Return to Aswan this afternoon, where the remainder of the day is free to visit the bazaar or other sites. (B,L,D)
Day 13: Saturday, January 19 ~ Aswan | Cairo
We begin the day with a visit to the Temple of Isis at Philae, said to be Egypt’s most beautiful temple. We continue on to see the ancient granite quarry and the Unfinished Obelisk of Hatshepsut. In the afternoon, we fly back to Cairo and check into our hotel, conveniently located downtown. Overnight at the Cairo Marriott for two nights. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Sunday, January 20 ~ Cairo
We spend the morning at the Egyptian Museum, which houses the Treasures of Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummy Room. Stroll through the Khan el Khalili bazaar where we will have lunch, and then continue on to Old Cairo with its Christian and Jewish past, and the Sultan Hassan Madrasa and Mosque. Enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 15: Monday, January 21 ~ Cairo | U.S.
Transfer to the airport this morning for flights home. (B)
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