Egypt (January 2010)
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Our tour was with Overseas Adventure Travels (our fourth with that organization). There were 14 in our group and we had a certified Egyptologist with us the entire time.
We mostly explored the ancient civilizations and their artifacts, but also got a glimpse of contemporary Egypt. It was a long journey to get there (about 20 hours in transit), with an 11-hour flight across seven time zones from JFK to Cairo on Egypt Airlines. It would have been nice to have a glass of wine with the in-flight dinner and doze off, but Islamic religious policy prohibited alcoholic beverages on the plane.
Christians were present in Egypt beginning in the 6th century AD. The earliest monastery was built by St. Simon. Its ruins are still there.
The Nile seemed relatively narrow, even at Cairo. We could see the palm trees and activity on the shore on either side of the boat. We didn't spend much time on the boat, basically it got us to stopping points along the river. We celebrated new year's eve on board the boat, dancing and celebrating with the crew. Many of our group bought and wore galibias for the party
The Cairo Museum had many artifacts covering the entire ancient history,
some, especially from King Tutankhamun's tomb, remarkably preserved.
We saw the mummified remains of several kings and queens - 3500
years old. We actually looked at the well preserved remains of Ramses II,
who is credited for building many temples of ancient Egypt.
It was like looking at the remains of St. Peter, Moses, or George
Washington - a thrilling realization! Picture taking was not allowed
in the museum.