Dream until your dreams come true
The Egypt Dream has been on the wish list since 8th grade. A simple dream, the desire has always been to visit Egypt one day. That thought was drilled into my head by our 8th Grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. Hoobing. Regular readers here may recall Mr Hoobing from a post/video I did for Gadling in 2012, titled Teacher’s Travel Promise Fulfilled, 40 Years Later. That post told the story of a high school teacher in love with the world, trying to share that passion with his students. The topic then: Ancient Rome.
The Egypt Dream
That day, it turns out, will be October 2, 2015 when I sail again with Abercrombie & Kent on an itinerary appropriately titled Egypt & The Nile. Quite comfortable with Abercrombie & Kent after experiencing their version of a river cruise with Abercrombie Connections, when this offer came along, I could not refuse.
Egypt is a common bucket list destination and has been for centuries. Right now is a great time to travel to Egypt, a country now buzzing with renewed optimism. Still, many of the fabled Egyptian sites are free of crowds and open to A&K’s savvy travelers.
I’m looking forward to discovering the secrets of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities with your expert Egyptologist. There is something that floats involved; a scenic four–night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan aboard an award-winning Sanctuary Sun Boat, stopping at off-the-beaten track Denderah, Edfu and Kom Ombo.
I like that we will enjoy guaranteed entry into one of Egypt’s legendary pyramids, which you literally explore from the inside out. It would seem a pity to visit Egypt and not see those don’t you think?
There will be much more on this as we prepare over the next few months but let’s take a quick look at the itinerary, right out of the Abercrombie & Kent catalog:
Day 1: Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Arrive in Cairo where you are met by your A&K representative and transferred to your hotel with fantastic views of the pyramids, which you explore tomorrow.
Mena House Hotel
Day 2: Cairo | Legendary Pharaohs
Visit the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including treasures from Tutankhamun and artifacts dating back to 4000 BC. The museum’s most fascinating exhibit is its famous Mummy Room, featuring the remains of ancient Egypt’s pharaohs and nobility, including Ramses II. After lunch, return to your hotel and enjoy time at leisure. Tonight, gather with fellow guests at an A&K-hosted welcome dinner.
Mena House Hotel | Meals: B L D
Day 3: Giza | The Pyramids & The Sphinx
This morning, embark on a tour of the Giza Plateau, site of the ancient pyramids of Mycerinus, Chefren and the Great Pyramid of Cheops, built in the Fourth Dynasty (approximately 2690 BC) and the oldest and only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Explore the interior of one of these legendary pyramids. Ride Like a Local on camelback before continuing to the Solar Boat Museum, site of Cheops’ funerary boat, the world’s oldest intact ship, and the enigmatic Great Sphinx. After lunch drive to Memphis, capital of the ancient kingdom and now home to an open-air museum and giant statue of Ramses II. Continue to Sakkara, home to hundreds of tombs and 14 pyramids, including the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser. Built by Pharaoh Djoser during his 19-year reign, it stands at 204 feet and was the largest building of its time.
Mena House Hotel | Meals: B L
Day 4: Luxor | Karnak and the Valley of the Kings
Fly to Luxor and journey to the Temple of Karnak, where generations of pharaohs wished to record their names. Walk through the Great Hypostyle Hall, its expertly aligned columns a sight to behold. Board Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’ and enjoy lunch onboard. Afterward, explore the west bank of the Nile and the Necropolis of Thebes, the burial site of the Great Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. Discover the Valley of the Kings, the legendary burial ground of the pharaohs, and step inside the tomb of Tutankhamun. Later, explore the lovely Temple of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s first female pharaoh).
Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’ | Meals: B L D
Day 5: Cruising the Nile | Temple of Hathor at Denderah
Today you cruise north on a scenic route — far from other ships and crowds — to the Temple of Hathor at Denderah, which is among the best-preserved temples in Egypt. This complex is a rare sight to behold, complete with a massive stone roof, dark chambers, underground passages and columns inscribed with hieroglyphs. From here, return to your deluxe Nile cruiser and sail back to Luxor. Later this afternoon, journey once again to explore the east bank of the Nile, this time visiting the city of Thebes and the striking Temple of Luxor. Along the front of the temple pylons, there were six large statues of Ramses II (of which three remain), while behind the East Tower resides the Courtyard of Ramses II. Meanwhile, the Colonnade of Amenhotep III contains 14 papyrus-headed columns, some fully 50 feet in height and 32 feet in circumference, leading to the Court of Amenhotep III.
Day 6: Cruising the Nile | Edfu to Kom Ombo
Continue cruising to Edfu and the Temple of Horus, the falconheaded god. Built in 230 BC by Ptolemy III and spending much of the modern era buried in sand and debris, this stunningly well-preserved and colorful structure reveals what temple worship in ancient Egypt was like. Join your chef onboard for a local cooking lesson. Later, disembark at Kom Ombo (hill of gold) to visit the Greco-Roman temple dedicated to Haroeris (the sun god) and Sobek (the crocodile god). The temple was so dedicated because crocodiles once basked on this stretch of Nile shore; inside, find several of these mummified crocodiles on display.
Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’ | Meals: B L D
Day 7: Aswan | Majestic Philae
Today, cruise to Aswan and ride a motorized boat to Philae Temple on the island of Agilika, painstakingly moved and reconstructed here to avoid flood damage from Aswan’s High Dam. Afterward, continue to the impressive granite quarries and site of the Unfinished Obelisk. Illustrating the skills of Egypt’s stonemasons, this monolith structure measures onethird taller than any other ancient Egyptian obelisk — even in its unfinished state. End the day sailing around the Aswan islands like a local in a felucca (small sailboat), weather permitting.
Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’ | Meals: B L D
Day 8: Abu Simbel | Temples of Ramses II & Nefertari
Bid farewell to ‘Sun Boat III’ and disembark to catch your flight to Abu Simbel. There, discover the site of the commanding twin temples of Ramses II, Egypt’s longest-ruling pharaoh, and his wife, Queen Nefertari. The former’s façade is dominated by four imposing statues of the pharaoh. All four towering sculptures — each nearly 70 feet tall — are impressive enough; but perhaps more astonishing is the fact that this entire site was disassembled and moved to its present location to save it from the floodwaters of the Aswan High Dam. Afterward, return to Cairo for an afternoon at leisure.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: B L
Day 9: Cairo | Bustling Souk
Walk from Bab el-Fotouh to Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, one of the city’s major souks (open-air marketplace), where tightly packed stalls display everything from spices and leather goods to jewelry and vegetables, and all on a street that has hardly changed for centuries. Bargaining is expected, so prepare to negotiate. Explore the Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, built in AD 1356. Among the finest examples of early Mamluk architecture, the mosque is one of the largest in the world.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: B D
Day 10: Depart Cairo
Board your international departure flight or extend to Jordan.
Here’s more on Abercrombie & Kent’s Egypt Program
All photos- Abercrombie & Kent