Feb. 14 - Cairo is considered the gift of the Nile! As soon as you step off of the airplane, its atmosphere hits you without warning. Cairo's bustling streets, vibrant markets, and congested traffic might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but they're all part of the city's charm. Within moments, you will find yourself enthralled as you step back in time to discover some of the world's most impressive wonders. Cairo is an international city overflowing with the juxtaposition of different cultures. It is a city steeped in the early civilizations of the ancient pharaohs and blended with the history of Christian and Islamic cultures. It is all brought together by the modern sights and luxuries of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city. Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the fifth largest in the world.
Upon arrival, your local Nubian tour escort will meet you at the airport for the hotel transfer by private coach. You will have a short time to freshen up before your Valnetine's day orientation lunch then off to the Pyramids of Giza. Upon your entrance to Giza, you will stop to climb on top of your camel for a guided tour. Standing at the base of the Great Pyramids, it is hard to imagine that this monument, which remained the tallest building in the world until early in this century, was built in less than 30 years. It presides over the plateau of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo and is the last survivor of the Seven Wonders of the World.
You will also have time to explore the the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, considered by many to be the true heart of Cairo before a special "Welcome to Egypt" dinner with discussion including Q and A with a famous Nubian Egyptologist. Later, return to the hotel. For those that can hang, head poolside for a relaxing evening under the Egyptian stars.
Feb 15h- Today you are back in Cairo. After breakfast, you will spend time at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, commonly known as the Egyptian Museum. The Museum is one of the greatest in the world and houses the richest collection of ancient Egyptian art; the most famous of these treasures is Tutankhamen's tomb. The museum is organized into seven sections, which expose artifacts of the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom. Stepping into the opposing atrium, you will see monumental statues from Amenhotep III to the giant-size sculpture of King Djoser. The galleries on the ground floor take you on a journey through time. Each room displays the splendor of a large kingdom. The 5,000-year old palette of King Narmer is an artifact of major importance for art and history. The galleries dedicated to Tutankhamen consist of more than 3,500 pieces, of which 1,700 objects are displayed in the museum. It includes: the famous sarcophagus, discovered in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes (today's Luxor), the famous Gold Funerary Mask, an ancient trumpet, and thrones. During the tour, you will also visit the museum's Royal Mummy Room containing twenty-seven royal mummies from pharaonic times, including those of Ramses II (picture above) and Tuthmosis III. Visiting a museum of such historical magnitude can be a very personal experience, so we have built in some time for you to explore on your own or in small groups. After this visit, your life and history as you know it will never be the same.
After your museum visit, you will board a Felucca, a traditional Egyptian boat, to float down the Nile while having lunch. Sailing the Nile on a Felucca is the most beautiful thing to do while in Egypt. Your ride will end at Zamalek on the Gezira island for free time and shopping before your evening flight to Aswan.
The construction of the High Dam in the 1960s and subsequent formation of Lake Nasser behind it (picture below) flooded old Nubia. The dam saved Egypt from severe drought but also forced the largest migration to occur, taking the Nubians to villages in Aswan, known as new Nubia.
With a civilization that dates back to about 8000 BC, Nubian culture and traditions are very closely linked to the Nile. Nubia is a region that stretches from Aswan in Egypt to Dongola in central Sudan. While all Nubians trace their lineage back to Ham, the son of Noah, or to one of his descendants, there are two distinct groups of Nubians based on language differences: Kenzi (Matoki) and Fadija (Mahas).
Feb 16 - A true FlyGirl never stays in one place for too long! So this morning pack your bags because we will be jet setting off to the airport for your flight to Aswan, known as Nubia or the "Land of Gold" in ancient times. Aswan is a timeless land of feluccas, rocks, and river. With all the evidence of ancient times, Aswan is a magical and unique departure off the typical Egypt touristy route. It is the home of Nubian authenticity!
After Breakfast, meet your new guide on the island of Elephantine, home of three Nubian villages.
You first stop will be a pre-school to give toys and sweets. Get ready for the most adorable babies. Next an elementary school for kid 6 - 10 to give school supplies, clothing and other goodies like sweets, hair accessories, sunglasses and baseball caps.
After visit another village. The homes are built of stone, clay, and sand; most bottom floors are sand. The walls of the house, especially the façade, are brightly colored and decorated with ornaments and paintings of flags, flowers, birds, and animals. Crockery is often used for wall decorations; a plate usually occupies the center of the facade. Nubians are known for their extreme generosity, cheerfulness, modesty, and youthful spirit. Nubians also cherish a matrilineal tradition, which sees property passed down through the mother's side of the family. You will meet families and sit at the feet of elders while learning about the history and modern life of the villagers. Get your taste buds ready for multi family potluck type lunch in a private home. The food will be prepared with fruit, herbs, and vegetables from the family's own garden
Return to the hotel for some R and R before meeting in the bar for a special BGT party.
Feb 17th - This morning we will start with a visit to the Nubian Museum, which is ranked as one of Egypt's best presented museums. The museum presents Nubian history through more than 6500 years. Arranged chronologically, it takes you through Nubia's prehistory, the pharaonic dynasties, including the Kingdom of Kush, when Nubian kings ruled Egypt and onward through its Christian and Islamic periods. The museum's harmonious architecture incorporates a Fatamid tomb. Later, you will have time for lunch before heading to the Old Aswan bazaar.
The Aswan Bazaar is renowned as the best in Egypt outside of Cairo, both for its wares and its atmosphere. Popular buys include colorful Nubian skullcaps or long scarves, baskets and trays (some semi antique and others new), jewelry, and spices. Galabiyyas and embroidered Nubian robes can be bought off the peg or tailor-made. Aswan is also famous for its henna powder. You will have free time to wander the many shops along the tiny streets for items to take home.
You will want to save some room on your credit card because your next stop is the private gallery of a Nubian Painter, where you can buy original hand paintings that capture the essence of your time spent in this amazing place.
Feb 18th - This morning at 4 AM head to the lobby with your flight pillow to grab your box breakfast before boarding a private coach heading to Abu Simbel, the location of the most famous temples of Ramses II. One of the two temples Ramses II built to honor himself and the gods of the state. The four seated statues of Ramses are about 20 meters in height. At the feet of Ramses stand the statues of his favorite children. To the north of the Great Temple is Temple of Hathor. It was built for Ramses II's beloved Nubian queen, Nefertari. The inside of this temple shows Nefertari participating in the divine ritual in the same capacity as her husband.
For the first time, we will spend the night in Abu Simbel, featuring a special night of dinner and entertainment in the home of a Famous Nubian family.
Feb 19th - Say good-bye to your Abu Simbel family as we head back to Aswan. Time to get things cooking with a special cooking class/workshop modified for our group. It is said that cooking is the soul of a people and expresses love to family and friends. Nubian cuisine is flavorful with dishes like Kushari (brown lentils, macaroni, rice, chickpeas and a spicy tomato sauce) and Tamiya (deep fried mixture made of beans, parsley, and onions). Many meals include special bread called Shamsi. Be ready to lick your fingers! Bring little gifts for the women, like nail polish, scarves, sandals, and earrings. After the class, experience a farewell evening where you will learn traditional dances to the beat of catchy Nubian music and rhythms. Your face will be frozen into a smile because the of happy spirit of the people is contagious! THIS IS NUBIA! This is OUR Egypt!
Feb 20th Say fairwell to all your new friends until we meet again on our next international adventure. Those not taking the group busr to the airport can make transfer arrangments with the hotel. Check out is at 11 am.
As with all international travel, local changes sometimes happen that can affect plans. We reserve the right to make minor changes to the itinerary if necessary due to weather conditions and/or other factors beyond our control or to enhance your travel experience.
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