Egypt – November 2011

An all-time GS favorite!

 What made this trip so special?  A terrific itinerary that got us off the beaten path as well as to the iconic sites, outstanding guide and great team throughout, and fantastic travel companions who embraced the adventure and who love to learn and laugh!

TRIP SUMMARY

 

Cairo

  • Egyptian Museum (amazing!), private presentation by Dr. Manal Kelig on contemporary history of Egypt, Khan El Khalili market at night, El Fishawy coffee shop, henna hands, visit to Memphis, Saqqara, Pyramids of Giza, camel rides, great food

 

Abu Simbel & Aswan

  • Lake Nasar, Abu Simbel temples, felucca ride, playing in the sand dunes, Egyptians on holiday having great fun

 

Nile

  • Private dahabia (traditional boat) for our journey, Tuk Tuks, visit to Daraw town and its market and camel barns, visit with Nubian family in their home, Kom Ombo & Edfu temples, visit to local mosque, basket maker, sandstone quarries, dancing and singing on the boat, gorgeous sunsets and full moon, R&R, yoga, laughter

 

Luxor

  • Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, temple of Queen Hatshepsut, excavation site, alabaster, wine shopping

 

Desert

  • Ahhh… the White and Black Deserts- outstanding!  Wonderful people, oases, ancient town, sand dunes, poet, artists, sheesha, luxury camping Bedouin style, hikes and… sundowners.  The photos tell the story…

 

TRAVELERS’ COMMENTS

Egypt is alive!  From its forefathers’ meticulously carved and painted tombs to today’s friendly populace, Egypt touched our hearts.  The Global Sojourns’ trip showed an overview of everything- pulsating Cairo, isolated villages, rare home visits, quarries where stone for pyramids was cut, early morning and late night tours to temples, cruising the Nile under a full moon, hikes in the White and Black Deserts.  Global Sojourns’ meticulous planning, excellent guide and drivers, engaging fellow travelers, vast variety of experiences through the country made this a trip of a lifetime.  We would encourage everyone to come and visit Egypt.            –Sandy and Linda

______________________________________________________________________________________________

This was my first trip with Global Sojourns, and truly one of the best trips of my life.  The Egypt itinerary Priscilla put together was really perfect: seeing the ancient wonders and antiquities for which Egypt is famous, sailing the Nile on our private dahabiya, and then heading out to experience the serene and spectacular beauty of the White Desert.  Each day provided an unexpected adventure – such as a wild tuk tuk ride in search of purchasing camel meat, running down steep sand dunes with enthusiastic Egyptian youth, being taken for a ride, literally, by a carriage driver in Luxor in our attempts to find the souk, and last but not least, finding what appeared to be the lone liquor store in Luxor and having the owner (a Coptic Christian) open it up, especially for us, on a Sunday afternoon – he recognized desperation when he saw us (and a big spike in his wine sales!!)

My fellow travelers were absolutely the best.  I had not previously met anyone going on this trip (other than Priscilla a few times) but each one of you was so open, warm and engaging, I felt right at home very quickly.  Thanks to each of you for being such good sports about my travel “rookie moves” including my large luggage (“the beast”) and also a frantic search for my passport, which I could not locate in my purse and was sure I had left in the “middle drawer of the desk on the dahabiya” but finally found — safely packed deep in the bowels of “the beast.”  I promise to be better next time!

Lastly, I can’t say enough good things about our Egyptologist guide, Walid.  He is incredibly knowledgeable, and was also extremely patient with all of us, and very responsive to our “special needs” (which were many!)  I will always remember his laugh, endearing smile and smooth dance moves.  Our guide,Tamr, was also extremely helpful and proved to be game for whatever our group was up for.  And, hats off to our drivers, especially Amr, who was as comfortable navigating the sand dunes of the desert as he was the streets of Cairo (no small feat!) -Jean

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Cairo:
In your face
Drivers honking in constant communication
A labyrinth
Call to Prayer = rhythm of the day

Eid al-Adha 2011

Giza:
Enduring lessons in building with stone

Upper Eygpt:
Fertile Nile: land + water = green; land – water = brown
Village life unrushed/untouched
Thebes/Karnak – complex, enigmatic
Valley of the Kings & Queens, Hatshepsut – secret and mysterious, magnificent, vivid, desolate

Dahabia:
Ideal vehicle for group travel
Yoga class ++
Long, deep conversations
The hunt for red wine

GS:
A privilege to be part of this great group of travelers. So thankful for all the organization, planning and energy that went into making the trip amazing!  -Michele

______________________________________________________________________________________________

So thankful the Egyptians took a break in the Revolution so our group could visit. Also thanks to the Cairo drivers for giving me lots of tips to add to my commentary for teaching defensive driving in San Francisco. It was wonderful to be part of the group of EXPERIENCED travelers. I gained a wonderful new perspective on Arab and Muslim life and culture.   -Jude
______________________________________________________________________________________________

When I told people I was going to Egypt the response was universal-are you crazy?  Our two week Sojourn was absolutely perfect from beginning to end.  From the temple at Abu Simbel near the Sudanese border to visiting King Tut’s tomb, cruising the Nile on our own private boat and the White Desert.  How do you relate this experience to friends?  I’m just thankful to have been able to experience it all and thankful to Priscilla for all her hard work in making sure every detail was taken care of.  It was great to see old friends and make new.  I forgot to mention making fruit salad while trying to scale a sand dune and dry underwear and shorts.  Thanks Kim!  -Diane

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Egypt, oh Egypt. Them locals sure know how to build a temple! The temples and tombs riddled with so much detail were breathtaking – the carvings, the paintings, the statues – truly mesmerizing. I had no idea what to expect from the people but they were so friendly and curious, especially when the pre-teen boys mobbed me at the pyramids. It’s the most action I’ve had all winter so praise Allah!

I think cruising the Nile was my favorite part – seeing the country side, hearing the call to prayer, the sunrises and sunsets. The crew and food were amazing and I wish I could find me some Egyptian guava in NYC. Spending quality time with my mother was also a great treat, you can catch some exclusive snoring videos of her on youtube. I also had no idea she is quite the butter warmer, she apparently likes to warm her butter up in public by sitting on it. I have a strange feeling being a butter warmer isn’t her only talent.

Sunset at the white desert was also a great highlight! I had googled the white desert and saw these stunning pictures and was so happy google images wasn’t lying to me. The desert was so beautiful – full of color, dunes, sand formations – it was so peaceful I could actually hear the silence. I think what I will miss most about my trip to Egypt is the group we travelled with. We had so much fun together laughing, drinking Egyptian wine, playing hearts and sharing stories about fraternizing with previous tour guides. Oh wait, I think that was just me. Oh well. Soukran!  -Laurel

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Egypt- why visit and why travel with Global Sojourns?

-Experience a country in governing transition- hear from local experts about the events of 25 Jan. 2011 and possibilities for the future

-Experience a rich diversity in land and culture- bustling Cairo, the serenity of the Nile, the beauty of deserts at sunset.  Play in the dunes, view naturally sculpted chalk, amble over unusual rock formations, visit local village life.

-Learn of ancient history and the impact of beliefs on art

-Traveling with Global Sojourns means opening a door to Priscilla’s home- feel welcome wherever you venture and know that your itinerary has been thoroughly researched to bring you lands and people, responsibly and in comfort.  –Kim

______________________________________________________________________________________________

During the time of the sacrifice feast

We sail a dahabiyya down the Nile.

Lush palms border the river near the shore

But soon recede into high dunes above.

Colonnades of Philae loom into view

Hail Temple Isis, jewel of Hathor

Seeking succor from prayers at her feet

Her heart open to pilgrims one and all

-Trent

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Walid was laughing hysterically, Laurel and Jean (peas in a pod) in stitches, Kim also enjoying the moment  with a half full glass of red wine and Sandy’s baritone howl rounding out the latest cacophony to someone’s irreverent comment. Time and time again this was our trip’s refrain – unabashed laughter. While it may not surprise anyone that I was in awe over the ancient buildings, statues, carvings and paintings dating back 5,000 years, the tranquility and life giving blue and green Nile River and riparian vegetation, the majestic White and Black Deserts, the wonderful kindness from our Egyptian hosts, what really stood out is how 11 people came together to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company for 2 weeks. We climbed, we ate, we floated and drove, we toasted, we sat in silence watching sunsets, we played cards, and we danced and talked with such ease, enjoyment and passion. This was made possible by the fact that all the logistics were carefully planned out and executed, almost choreographed so that we could just enjoy the moment and each other. Thank you PJ, Walid, Manal and Basem! I’ve seen allot and been on hundreds of trips but this one fully meets the criteria of a “trip of a lifetime” and one that will never be forgotten because of what was seen and experienced and the warmth and joy of the time we spent together for 14 days. Finally I would be remiss if I did not also emphasize the character of our Egyptian hosts. They were professional, warm, funny, giving and protective of us – I think this may very well be more of what Egypt offers than even its rich ancient history – it’s people! Shukran, no……..that’s an ”uber Shukran!!” –Peter

______________________________________________________________________________________________

I’d like to thank everyone for the lovely time,amazing moments and sharing stunning life experiences with you.

I had a great fun and nice feelings so that I want to share some beautiful words with everyone to remember that life is short so break the rules, love truly, laugh continously, kiss slowly and never regret any moment that make you happy.

Thanks!  Walid

 

Thank you to Manal, Basem, Walid, Tamer, Amr, Tarek, Hamed and the entire team!

Shoukran!