Of Kings and Queens: The Monarchy in Britain
Among the most striking features of early Egyptian painting are a subject’s eyes. They are never painted looking straight out at the viewer, but rather in profile, looking to one side or the other. Were those eyes looking toward what has already happened or what is to come? For centuries, Egypt has been at a literal and figurative crossroads: geographically and geopolitically pivotal, Egypt has also been — perhaps never more so than now — at the crossroads of preserving the past and looking toward the future. At this unique moment in the continuum of Egypt’s history, explore one of the most storied cultures through its historical, artistic and political perspectives, spanning from ancient civilization to the present day. With a team that includes a Los Angeles Times journalist, an Egyptologist guide and guest speakers along the way, gain unique insight and perspective that will span from the Wonders of the Ancient World and countless UNESCO World Heritage sites to explorations of contemporary culture post-Arab Spring. As you immerse yourself in the texture, history and perspectives of a stunning culture, discover the wonders, both grand and intimate, and the delicate balance of honoring what came before while also looking toward what’s next.
Feb 17-27, 2020
Oct 26-Nov 5, 2020
Meet with members of a Nubian family in Aswan.
Visit the ancient temples in Abu Simbel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sail around Elephantine Island on feluccas before embarking on your Nile River cruise.
Arrive in Cairo on individual flights and transfer to your hotel near Giza.
This morning visit the ancient burial ground complex of Saqqara, site of the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, as well as the Bent Pyramid and Pyramid of Unas. Then venture underground to the Serapeum of Saqqara, the magnificent burial site for the sacred Apis bulls. This evening gather for a welcome reception and panel to hear social and political perspectives from Egyptian women, followed by a welcome dinner at your hotel. (B, R, D)
After breakfast you will be met by an Egyptologist who will provide insight on the rest of your expedition. Later, drive to the Giza plateau to view its three pyramids — including the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — and the Great Sphinx of Giza. You will have the opportunity to step inside the Great Pyramid in addition to approaching all three pyramids from the back to get a unique vantage point. Then visit the Khufu Ship (known as the Solar Boat), an intact full-size vessel that dates back to Pharaoh Cheops of the fourth dynasty. This evening is yours at leisure. (B, L)
This morning transfer to the Cairo Airport for an internal flight to Abu Simbel. Though your time there will be brief, viewing the Abu Simbel temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an opportunity that cannot be missed. The two temples — the Great Sun Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Queen Nefertari — with their unique style, are considered to be the masterpieces of ancient Egypt. These temples were moved from Aswan to Abu Simbel in the 1960s when the construction of the Aswan High Dam (which you will visit on a subsequent day) threatened to submerge them. Transfer back to the airport for a brief flight to Aswan. Check in to the renowned Cataract Hotel and enjoy high tea on the Old Cataract Terrace at sunset before an evening at leisure. (B, tea)
After breakfast at the hotel, take a wooden sailing boat called a felucca around Elephantine Island, which was the crossroads of ancient trading routes from Lower Egypt, the Western Desert and India. Stroll through the Botanical Gardens, home to more than 400 species of subtropical vegetation. Then continue your sail to the nearby Nubian Village, where you will be welcomed into the home of a local family for a cup of tea and to learn about Nubian culture, which predates dynastic Egypt. Then transfer to the MS Tulip for lunch and embarkation. Later this afternoon, pay a visit to the Nubia Museum, which is dedicated to the origins, history and present of this indigenous culture and is part of the UNESCO International Campaign to preserve cultural artifacts that otherwise would have been destroyed due to flooding. Return to your ship for dinner and overnight aboard. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, journey to the rescued Philae Temple, honoring the goddess of love, Isis. Then juxtapose a visit to the Aswan High Dam, completed in the 1960s as a way to control flooding from the Nile and provide water storage for irrigation and hydroelectricity, with a viewing of the unfinished obelisk, estimated to be over 3,500 years old. Set sail at lunchtime as you begin your journey up the Nile. As the sun sets this evening, visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. A rare double temple, its design was meant to be duplicated on both sides to be shared by the gods Sobek and Haroeris. This evening participate in a lecture on board that will help contextualize the incredible impact of the Aswan High Dam construction on Egypt. Then enjoy dinner on board your ship as you sail toward Edfu. (B, L, D)
Today horse-drawn carriages, or calèches, bring you to one of the best-preserved shrines and the second largest temple in Egypt — the Horus Temple of Edfu. The construction on this temple, which combined Egyptian and Greek influences, began in 237 BC and wasn’t completed until almost 180 years later. The main building features Hypostyle Hall, the entrance to which, amazingly, still retains some pigment of its original reliefs. This evening, sail toward Esna, arriving in Luxor for overnight on your ship. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark from your ship to explore the West Bank of the Nile. Your first stop will be the Valley of the Kings, the stunning royal burial ground for almost 500 years during the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. In nearby Deir el-Bahri, visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most striking monuments in Egypt, celebrating the historic female ruler who posed as male to ascend the throne. Then view the Medinet Habu, a well-preserved temple on the West Bank. It is remarkable for the amount of its original pigment still visible, and it is best known for its inscribed reliefs of the battle of the “Sea Peoples.” Explore the ruins of village of Deir el-Bahri, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where artisans worked on the royal tombs during the New Kingdom era. This afternoon check into your Luxor hotel. Then experience the beauty of Luxor Temple at night, followed by a festive reception and dinner. (B, L, D)
Today is devoted to the temples of the Nile’s East Bank. The largest of Luxor’s temples, Karnak was one of the most sacred sites in ancient Egypt. It marked the ascendancy of Thebes (present day Luxor) as the capital of the New Kingdom, with construction beginning in the 16th century BC and continuing under myriad pharaohs, all of whom incorporated their own design influences into the original structure. You will also view the Temple of Amun. Dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god of sun and air, it has the distinction of being the largest place of worship ever constructed. This afternoon fly back to Cairo and check in to your hotel for an evening at leisure. (B, L)
In Old Cairo, explore the juxtaposition of Islam, Christianity and Judaism through its places of worship. After lunch as a group, test your bargaining skills as you stroll through the iconic Khan El Khalili Bazaar. Participate in a panel discussion moderated by your L.A. Times journalist as you discuss Egypt’s place in and influence on the world stage moving forward. Bid farewell to Egypt at a festive reception and dinner. (B, L, R, D)
Depart on individual flights home or onward. (B)