Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
In the Valley of the Kings, an epic adventure looms. My summer knee replacement limited me to only several hundred-mile radius escapes, finally, pharaohs beckon and I can’t resist!
Geography was my favorite grade school subject, ancient Egypt with images of Pyramids, and white robed Bedouins; golden King Tut regalia has traversed the world several times, featuring coins graced with the profile of Cleopatra, references abound if your eye is transfixed with this area. And I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the original Mummy movie – Egypt has been bundled up in years of enticing promises. The Great Sphinx summons, and I obey!
Along with the Grand Tour of Europe, a trip to Egypt was one of the most exciting Journeys available to the 19th Century traveler. Disembarking in Alexandria wealthy Americans and European tourists were transported to Cairo – in earlier days by boat, later by steam train. After several days visiting the treasures of Cairo, passengers would board a dahabiya (large sailboat) or steamer and set off for a trip up the NIle. At a languid pace, a steamer took three weeks to reach Aswan, while a sailing boat could take six to twelve weeks. Lazy days on deck alternated with desert treks to marvel at the newly discovered secrets of ancient Egyot. Expeditions were led by local guides, while servants trudged supplies consisting of food and drink for picnics amid the ruins.
Many of my long-time clients communed with the Sphinx, enjoyed private candlelit banquets in the shadow of the looming pyramids; one was certain the guards drew more attention than if they dined without the army nearby. This was pre-Arab spring uprising, tensions have subsided somewhat, but events can transpire in a moment. Friends have visited Egypt and Jordan in the last few years and marveled at the lack of crowds, the friendliness of the locals, it’s time to return to Pharoland.
One aspect I love of travelling in a Muslim country is waking up in the middle of the night to the ethereal echo of the adhan (call to prayer). These days guides and drivers have a phone app of the prayer, they frequently move to quiet their phone, but I encourage them to relish the moment. We should all be quiet and reflect six times a day.
I will begin my adventure in Jordan and make my way to Cairo. Arriving to the capital city of Ammam, the Four Seasons will host my Journey of discovery. At the conclusion of my first day of touring, I will visit the Royal Auto Museum – it may be the kind of place that you are unlikely to have on your list of places to visit, who new Car Girl could find vintage classics in the middle of a desert kingdom? King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan ruled the country for more than 46 years, until 1999. He took four wives, not simultaneously, and changed his will in his dying days to make his eldest son Abdullah the heir apparent. The King was also apparently a car nut like me. His collection at the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman, Jordan is rivaled by few — the Sultan of Brunei, Ralph Lauren, and Jay Leno.
A brief listing of my activities as I make my way to Petra and onward to Cairo and the Nile. Day tours of the ancient Roman City of Jerash , Mount Nebo Drive to Madaba, visit St. George Church. This rather modest 19th-century Greek Orthodox church houses a treasure of early Christianity. Imagine the excitement in 1884 when Christian builders came across the remnants of a Byzantine church on their construction site. Among the rubble, having survived wilful destruction, fire and neglect, the flooring they discovered wasn’t just another mosaic but one with extraordinary significance: to this day, it represents the oldest map of Palestine in existence and provides many historical insights into the region. Crafted in AD 560, the map has 157 captions (in Greek) depicting all the major biblical sites of the Middle East, from Egypt to Palestine.
Lunch at Haret Jdoudna Restaurant http://www.haretjdoudna.com/menu.html
and a scenic drive to Petra via the high desert, I can’t wait to visit Petra, a pinnacle on my must go to Journey list.
Ancient Egypt is one of the founding civilizations of the world as we know it, over 5000 years with a mysterious complex belief structure involving the supernatural and science. Pyramids of Giza were built for some of the mightiest Pharaohs – Cheops, Chephren, Mycerinus. The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for 3,800 years.
A luxurious cruise on the Nile will deliver me to the ancient island of Aswan, noted evening event: a Nubian show. Sailing on to Luxor where we will explore Valley of the Kings including Tut Ankh Amun Tomb and Hatshepsut Temple.
On my horizon: site inspections of five-star hotels in Cairo, Aswan, Ammam, Petra, it’s work after all!
The remake of the thriller Death on the Nile is scheduled to be released in October 2020 by director Kenneth Branagh, with a cast of stellar actors.
Egyptian themed movies you should watch before visiting Egypt.
As-salam alaykom” – “Peace be upon you.”