OSSN International Conference

"Land of Pharaohs"

September 17-29, 2002

 

 

Egypt... 7,000 years old and packed with historic,
architectural, archaeological and artistic treasures.
Discover the ancient world of the pharaohs as it exists today.
Join OSSN for their most exciting conference yet!

YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS…

Whether you will join the OSSN International Conference 2002 for the entire spectacular event or are only arriving for part of this exotic extravaganza, you are sure to be astounded by the beauty, the culture, the history and the warmth of the people of Egypt! 

OSSN International Conference, "Land of Pharaohs" will include four nights in Cairo and Giza at the foot of the Great Pyramids.

The spectacular program will also offer a five-day post conference Nile Cruise on the "5-Star" MV Tulip of Wings Group Egypt! 

You'll explore ancient temples and tombs and discover the wealth of the Nile! Also offered is an enticing 3-night Resort Stay on the Red Sea, the playground of Egypt.

If you are participating in this "pre conference" stay in exquisite Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada, you are in for many rare treats! Following is a day-to-day agenda for the OSSN Pre Conference activities.

17 SEP 02 - TUESDAY

  UNITED         24 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-AIRBUS A320 JET

  LV: SEATTLE            825A     NONSTOP       MILES- 2421   CONFIRMED

  AR: NYC/KENNEDY        429P     ELAPSED TIME- 5:04

  ARRIVAL TERMINAL-7  BREAKFAST-SNACK-MOVIE           SEAT-20A20C

 

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM:  OSSN Conference attendees will check in at the Egypt Air counter and be given seat assignments at that time. The location of this gate is in International Terminal #4 at JFK airport and agents may check in two and one half hours in advance of departure time. 

 

11: 00 PM:  Egypt Air Flight 988 departs JFK for Cairo

 

  EGYPTAIR      988 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-BOEING 777 JET  DEPART TERMINAL- 4

  LV: NYC/KENNEDY       1100P     NONSTOP       MILES- 5614   CONFIRMED

  AR: CAIRO EGYPT        430P     ELAPSED TIME-10:30  ARVL DATE-18 SEP

  ARRIVAL TERMINAL-1

September 18, 2002 Cairo Arrival
Pre-Conference "Red Sea" Resort Stay at Sharm el Sheikh

4:30 PM:  Arrive in Cairo, and be met by your hosts, Wings Group Egypt, your personal guides throughout our entire journey. You will be assisted through the passport control and customs and you will purchase your Egypt Visa for $20 US with Wings’ assistance at the Cairo airport.

 

05:30-7:30 PM: Transfer to Cairo (Airport) Movenpick hotel for  relaxation and dinner (unhosted)  before returning to the Egypt Air domestic terminal for flight from Cairo to fabulous Sharm el Sheikh.  

 

7:30-8:00 PM: Group Check in at Egypt Air Domestic Terminal 

 

9:00 PM: Group Departs for Sharm El Sheikh on Flt. MS 153

 

18 SEP 02 - WEDNESDAY

  EGYPTAIR      153 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-321                            

  DEPART TERMINAL- 1              

  LV: CAIRO EGYPT        900P     NONSTOP       MILES-  234   CONFIRMED

  AR: SHARM ELSHEIKH    1000P     ELAPSED TIME- 1:00

  

10:00 PM:  Arrival to Sharm Airport. OSSN members will be transferred from Sharm Airport by our hosts, Wings Group Egypt, directly to our seaside paradise, the Conrad International in Sharm El Sheikh.             

 

Upon your arrival to Sharm, you can relax and enjoy one of the most unique eco systems in the world, the Red Sea, during a luxury "3-Night Resort Stay" at your choice of three unique resort properties in Eastern Egypt. The Conrad International in Sharm El Sheikh will all be the perfect beginning for an Egyptian experience in the "Land of Pharaohs."

 

The Conrad International in Sharm El Sheik, the "playground of the Red Sea, is located just minutes outside of the popular international "hot vacation paradise" of Naama Bay. OSSN members will be transferred from the Sharm airport on the evening of September 18, by our hosts, Wings Group Egypt, directly to our seaside paradise!

 

Located across Tiran Island, on an area considered one of the best diving spots in the world, Conrad Intl' Sharm El Sheikh Resort offers extensive scuba diving, water sports and recreational facilities.

Conrad International Sharm El Sheikh Resort  

5 * * * * * Luxury

Address: Marsa El Dekheila, Ras Nosrani South Sinai, Egypt

Phone: +20-69-670585

 

Wings Hotels & Resorts - Conrad International Sharm El Sheikh

 

The Hotel is situated on 37 acres of landscaped gardens fronting a stretch of over 1600 feet of pristine beaches. The Red Sea is home to some of the richest coral reefs on the planet. Ras Nosrani's National Park is right across from Tiran Island and one of the best diving spots in the world.  It has been said that this is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts.  There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani.

 

Ten food and beverage outlets featuring international cuisine, including fine Italian dining and garden terrace dining.

For those who live to shop, the Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books. 

 

The simplicity of sun, sea and sand and the luxury of five-star hotels, water sports, shopping and entertainment is Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai peninsula. All around are Bedouins, colorful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes belonging to International chains, plus about all the amenities one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. In fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from boredom.

Na'ama Beach is one of the centers of the tourist activities. Located just north of Sharm, this area is developing into a resort town of its own.  Most hotels at Na'ama Bay have their own, private beaches with comfortable amenities such as chairs, shades and even bars.

Shark's Bay is also nearby, and again is a growing resort community with more and more to offer, along with several diving centers.

The small harbor, known as Sharm el-Moiya is located next to the civil harbor, has accommodations for boats, and includes a Yacht Club with rooms. 

 

Thursday, September 19, 2002

 

7:00 -10:30 AM: Full American Breakfast included in Terrace Café. Full American Breakfast is available for OSSN Conference Attendees in the Terrace Café.  After Breakfast and just steps from your hotel room is one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the Red Sea!  Agents will be in awestruck snorkeling or diving from the hotel grounds! The coral, in hues of purple and blue are unbelievable and the multitudes of tropical and exotic fish are almost too many to be counted! 

OSSN Members may also enjoy the day or evening in Sharm’s popular Naama Bay, since transfer service to and from Sharm is available all day.  

Even sitting on the dock, you can see exotic fish of all sizes and hues coming to the surface to welcome you into their Red Sea home! It is truly amazing site to see!
In less than 20 years, Sharm El Sheikh has become Egypt's biggest resort and diving center.

The nightlife in Sharm El Shiekh, including casinos and exquisite shopping and restaurants draws people from all over the world who come here to soak up the sun and experience Egypt. Agents will have shuttles available from your hotel in Sharm to Naama Bay, where ALL of the action and excitement of a booming seaside resort can be found. The development of luxury resort hotels and casinos in the area is amazing! But the unique features of the area, including the outdoor Bedouin "coffee houses" and restaurants all along the seaside keep the Egyptian culture at the forefront of you imagination! The culture of the Bedouin people, natives of the nomadic lifestyle of ancient and modern day Egypt is very unique and of great interest!

 

About The Red Sea

 

To anyone standing on its shore and gazing out across its heavenly waters, the Red Sea may seem to be a mislabeling. Its blueness is eternal and anything less red cannot be fantasized. The Red Sea, where the desert meets the ocean, is truly one of the planet’s most exotic and fascinating natural seascape environments. The Red Sea is located between Asia and Africa. At its most northerly point it forms the Sinai Peninsula and stretches over 1000 miles south to join the Indian Ocean, between Ethiopia and Yemen. In the north and west are desert plains, while in the south a mountainous region (2642 meters high), which is part of the mountain range stretching from deep in Saudi Arabia, across the Sinai and then into Nubia of the African continent. The Red Sea holds beneath its crystal blue surface an oasis of living creatures, reefs, and coral formation. Its use as a highway between East and West has attracted man since the beginning of time.

The movement of plates in the Earth’s surface created the Red Sea about 30 million years ago. In that time, the Arab peninsula started to part from Africa along a thin break line, which was filled by the ocean’s water. However, "Mother Nature" did not stop there. Twenty million years ago another geological movement started. The Arab peninsula, which parted from Africa, started to move to the north. That movement struck resistance in Turkey and swung to the east, and another break line was formed. This one stretching all the way from the northern part of Israel, through the Jordan valley to the Dead Sea, and finally through the Gulf of Eilat to Ras Mohamad at the southern point of the Sinai. The young age of the Gulf of Eilat is what makes it so deep, 100 meters in Dahab and 1800 meters north of the Straits of Tiran. On the other hand, the old Gulf of Suez is relatively shallow, with only 85 meters maximum depth. The Red Sea is still widening at about one-half inch per year, the rift is the youngest region of continental breakup on the planet, allowing geologists to learn about processes that occurred in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans hundreds of millions of years earlier.

Water temperatures in the Red Sea remain unusually constant year round, averaging 22 degrees Celcius in the summer. Low-pressure systems develop in the Sahara Desert and draw hot dry east winds from Asia, which cause the temperature to rise frequently along with sand storms. At the same time, lows develop over the Red Sea, bringing moist cold air from the south and creating clouds, haze, and more often rain. The northern land mass is the primary influence over temperature in the gulf, but this decreases to the south the closer you get to open sea. The open sea’s cooling effect creates an interesting temperature pattern: maximum summer temperatures are lower in the south while minimum temperatures are higher in the north with the opposite occurring during the winter. In any case, the coldest moth of the year is January and the warmest months are July and August. The Red Sea is notorious among seafarers for its high-speed surface winds and aggressively short irregular motion. It may be calm on the inward shore, but journeys to exposed sites like The Brothers islands, a remote offshore site east of El Quseir, can be perilous and boats have been seen literally to fall apart under the force of the journey.

 

Cargo vessels, oil tankers, fishing boats, and passenger liners all move their trade across this great waterway, but for many, the true enchantment of the Red Sea is hidden just below its surface. There are over 1000 species of invertebrates and around 200-recorded coral types to be found. Moreover, the Red Sea boasts over a thousand species of fish, more species than any other proportional body of water. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Red Sea is considered by many to offer the very best diving available in the marine world. The Red Sea attracts divers, photographers, marine scientists, and leisure seekers from all over the world, hoping to experience and explore the incalculable wonders of the colorful, abounding marine life and the Red Sea’s lavish coral reefs. In places, the exceptional living reef stretches way out to sea, forming an elaborate system of caves, lagoons, gardens, and plateaus. Some of these coral summits plunge dramatically thousands of feet to the ocean floor. The Red Sea is not all a delight however, as it has its troubles which you will have to stay away from. There is minimal danger from marine animals in the Red Sea, and with a little common sense, even these dangers can be eliminated. Some of the marine animals are dangerous to touch, others dangerous to eat, and some are dangerous to come face to face with. There are fire corals and stinging hydroids, which can be extremely painful if accidentally touched as well.

Snorkeling is a popular way to view the edge of the reef, especially for those with limited confidence in their swimming ability. Sharks, manta rays, turtles, and eels will take pieces of bread from your hand, and brilliantly colored schools of fish team all around in bewildering color. However, most divers will tell you that there is nothing to beat the thrill of experiencing the depth of the reef and the abounding marine life to be found in the Red Sea. The lure of the reef is such that many novice divers become totally "hooked" and cannot imagine why they have never joined in the fun before. Furthermore, when asked to compare their local diving conditions with those in the Red Sea, they find it a "paradise" with clear visibility, little wave action, and warm temperatures all year long.

 

Currently, the areas of the Eastern Desert and around the Red Sea have received a great deal of overdue attention. A joint expedition from the University of Delaware and Leiden University and Leiden University has been working at the ancient Red Sea port of Berinike. The past season the Delaware-Leiden team excavated in two areas, opened a total of seven trenches, and found four public buildings. One of the sites contained offering tables, an incense burner, a stela stand and an almost life-size bronze figure of a cloaked woman clasping a snake. Scraps of colorful textile from the Fourth and Fifth centuries A.D. have also been found. In addition, evidence of trade appears in the form of imported coconuts, pepper, and rice. So, while the edges of the Red Sea are being explored, the sea itself is being plunged in a survey of sunken wrecks. The Institute for Nautical Archaeology in Egypt is continuing the underwater survey started last season, plotting the locations of shipwrecks along the Red Sea coast.

The underwater amazement of the Red Sea remains a living tapestry of resounding corals and exotic fish, waiting for you to discover its secrets.

Dive Sites

Most of the diving in the Red Sea area is done with a shore-based, day boat dive operation or a live-aboard dive boat. The currents in these areas vary from no current to very strong, so it is strongly advised to dive or snorkel with guides or with experienced divers who have dove in the area before and are familiar with the conditions.

A snorkeler - a person who is a good swimmer and is skilled in ocean snorkeling.

A novice diver - a person who is in good physical condition and recently completed a basic certification diving course, or someone who has been certified before but has not been diving in a while or has no experience in similar conditions.

An advanced diver - a person who has logged many dives under similar or rougher conditions and is in good physical condition.

A dive master or instructor - a person who has advanced training as a dive master or an instructor who has logged over 100 dives in similar conditions and is in excellent physical condition.

 

 

Sharm El Sheikh to Hurghada

 

The clear blue waters between Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada hide some of the Read Sea's biggest surprises, such as stunning reefs and mysterious shipwrecks, the legacy of the maritime trade that has flowed through the region for millennia. Strewn across the Straits of Gubal, gateway to the Suez Canal, the reefs of this region are as rich in history as they are in natural beauty.

This area includes dive sites in Shaab Mahmud and Shaab Ali, the Straits of Gubal and Hurghada, spread across 74km (40 nautical miles) of open sea between the tip of Ras Muhammad and the Egyptian mainland at Hurghada.  The sites can be reached form either Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada.

 

Climate

Tempered by sea breezes from the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba, temperatures are mild in winter and blazing hot in summer, often reaching 40 degrees (104 F) or more.  Rainfall is minimal and limited to the winter months.  Beware of the danger of fierce sunlight and cover up, using a good sunscreen.

 

Marine Life

A combination of local features including isolated reefs, big tidal movement and lack of nearby intensive fishing, adds up to perfect conditions for reef and schooling fish.  Along with the large range of colorful reef species the area boasts some big pelagics and some massive schools of gregarious species.  Sharks, even hammerheads, are regularly spotted here and sea turtles are common.  These reefs also offer some of the best chances in the northern Red Sea to swim with dolphins in the wild.

The range of coral species is astounding, and while the occasionally rough sea conditions in these open waters can cause some damage to the reefs, most of the coral growth is in excellent condition.  The area boasts some extensive reef systems, incorporating branching Acropora, vast fields of cabbage coral, bommies and outcrops of massive species such as Favites and Porites and gently waving dendronephthiid soft corals.

 

Dive Highlights

One of the real highlights of diving in this region are the well-preserved, accessible shipwrecks that litter the seabed across the entrance to the Gulf of Suez.  At least six major wrecks lie in easy reach of Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada.  There are 19th century mail steamers, modern cargo ships and historic spice traders lying on the bottom of this stretch of sea, all waiting to be explored.

 

Conditions

Seasonal temperature variation is quite similar to that found in southern Sinai.  Water temperatures range from the upper twenties (80s F) in the summer to winter lows as cold as 19 to 20 degrees (66-68 F).  You may be comfortable enough in just a swimskin in summer, particularly if you normally dive in cold water.  Conversely, in the wintertime, some locals use drysuits!  A 3mm (0.12in) or even a 5mm (0.20) wetsuit would not be out of order for most of the year.

As autumn progresses to winter, the prevailing northerly winds in the area change.  Long swells pushed by the south wind have the entire length of the Red Sea to build up, and by the time they reach the Straits of Gubal, they can be pretty powerful.  Conditions are rarely so bad that diving is impossible, but the boat ride can get rough, particularly since so many of the sites in the area are on open-sea reefs.  If you suffer from seasickness take a good supply of motion-sickness tablets.

 

Access

The vast majority of the sites in the region lie some distance offshore and, while most can be done as day trips from either Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada, a much more relaxing and enjoyable way to dive them is as part of a short live-aboard trip.  Dive centers in both Sharm and Hurghada organize 'mini live-aboards' from one night to seven nights.

 

Dive Operators and Facilities

Both Sharm and Hurghada are packed with dive centers.   The vast majority of centers in both resorts are highly professional, with excellent equipment, facilities and organisations, and multilingual dive staff and instructors trained to the highest international standards.

 

Local Dive Etiquette

It is important that every diver does his or her bit to preserve the reef environment.  If you're diving from Hurghada, you might want to dive with a center belonging to HEPCA, the Hurghada Environmental Protection Association.  This voluntary organisation is working to preserve the area's reefs form further destruction, and has already raised funds to sink permanent moorings at many of the most popular sites

 

 

 

 

Optional half-day tour to Ras Mohamed National Park ($28.00), depart at 1:00 pm

 

For agents who choose to snorkel or dive, additional excursions will be available. Or if you prefer to take in the sights of Sharm by day, or check out the many resorts and casinos in the area, a shuttle from the Conrad International is available for you all day and evening. Or you may relax and enjoy a great day by the sea at the lovely Conrad International Resort.

Ariel view of Ras Mohamed

 

You must sign up in advance for this fabulous excursion! Travel is by 4x4 sport utility vehicles to the park. From your hotel, you can take an afternoon trip to Ras Mohammed, Egypt's only National Park, which is listed as one of the top three dive sites in the world, and contains a rich variety of most geological features found in the Sinai.

1:00 PM: Agents who have pre-booked the afternoon trip to Ras Mohammed depart the hotel from front lobby.  You will travel by motor-coach  to the national park.

Spectacular drop offs and walls, gently sloping reefs full of hard and soft coral, good visibility and warm waters make Sinai a diving Mecca all year around. The area of Ras Mohamed – a promontory built by ancient coral that rises out of the sea - is possibly the most beautiful area in South Sinai and the richest in marine life.  You will swim in deep blue crystal clear water with beautiful fish and coral. The park lies in the narrowest strip between the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba.

This park contains the top dive and snorkeling sites in Egypt with Ancient shorelines containing reefs that range in age from 15,000 to 2,000,000 years in age! The profusion of exotic life in Ras Mohammad can almost overpower the senses!

Because of the currents that sweep out from the Gulf of Aqaba, the underwater population is particularly exceptional, and a great many pelagic species gather there from the open sea in search of food and shelter.
.

Other interesting areas in Ras Mohamed

6:00 PM: Return to Conrad Hotel from Ras Mohammad

 

7:00 – 9:00 PM: Special Welcome Reception/ Dinner
Hosted by OSSN &  Sharm El Sheikh Conrad International

 

(Later)   Evening At Leisure

 

Agents may select to enjoy the evening at your lovely seaside resort you may select to take the hotel shuttle to downtown Naama Bay, located only 15 minutes away, to enjoy the fabulous seaside for an evening in Sharm’s hub for exciting nightlife activity.  The nightlife in Sharm El Shiekh, includes casinos and exquisite shopping. Agents will have shuttles available from your hotel in Sharm to Naama Bay, where ALL of the action and excitement of a booming seaside resort can be found.

 

Agents can also take taxis from Naama Bay back to hotel.

 

 

 

Friday September 20, 2002

 

8:30 AM: Optional Tour Departs to St. Catherine’s Monastery ($60.00, Including Lunch)

7:00 AM – 10:30 AM:
Full American Breakfast Included in Terrace Café. OSSN members may take an optional excursion to visit St. Catherine's monastery, founded by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the 6th century. The monastery, where monks still lead a secluded life, surrounds the Chapel of the Burning Bush, containing a rare collection of icons including a great Mosaic of the Transfiguration of Christ. Close by the Monastery is Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. From the top of the mountain, OSSN members will capture the breathtaking view of the sun as it rises over this ancient land from the top of Mt. Sinai. This optional excursion will only be available for agents staying at the Sharm El Shiekh Conrad International.

 

Located at the foot of Mount Moses, St. Catherine's Monastery was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565. Is built around what is thought to be Moses' Burning Bush, which has a chapel built atop it. It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century.

Mount Sinai (Jebel Musa, or Mount Moses)
John Lloyd Stephens said that among all the stupendous works of Nature, not a place can be selected more fitting for the exhibition of Almighty power. Mount Sinai is both the name of a collection of peaks, sometimes referred to as the Holy Mountains, and the biblical name of the peek on which Moses received the Ten Commandments. Mount Mousa (or Musa), also referred to as Jebel Musa, Gebel Mousa, Mount Moses or the Mountain of Moses (all of which basically means the same thing) is considered to be that biblical peak. This peak has religious significance to Islam as the place where Mohammed's horse, Boraq, ascended to heaven. The 7,497 foot mountain has 3,750 steps hewn out of stone by monks of St. Catherine's Monastery, which is located just to the North. The peak is accessible by the steps, or by a gentler path east of the monastery. Both lead to an amphitheater known as the "Seven Elders of Israel". From there, one must ascend the remaining 750 steps to reach the summit where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity was built in 1934 (on the location of the original chapel built in 363 and rebuilt by Justinian in 530) and affords a truly breathtaking view. It is recommended that you take the steps down, as they will lead you past the fountain of Moses, a small chapel of the Virgin, and two arches, the Gate of St. Stephen and the Gate of the Law.There are other peaks in this range, some of which have also been contested as the true Mount Sinai. Jebel Serbal is also a candidate. Other peaks in this range include Jebel Megafa and Jebel Moneiga.


Chapel of the Holy Trinity on the peak of Mount Moses

But of perhaps even greater significance is that it is the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts (The Vatican has the largest). The collection consists of some 3,500 volumes in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages. Around the year 1850, the fourth century Codex Sinaiticus, which is now in the British Museum in London, was discovered here. The Monastery even has a small 10th or 11th century mosque, which was probably built to appease the Islamic authorities of the time. There is also a small chapel (the Chapel of St. Triphone, also known as the Skull House), which houses the skulls of deceased monks.

 

St. Catherine's has a rich history indeed. So rich that it is a sparkling example of an undiscovered Jewell of travel. It has been called the oldest working Christian monastery, though St. Anthony's predates it, and the smallest diocese in the world. The Monastery was originally ordered built by Empress Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great, but was actually built by Emperor Justinian to house the bones of St. Catherine of Alexandria. St. Catherine, whose body was reportedly carried away by angels, was discovered five hundred years later at the top of the peek that now bears her name. Her relics are stored in a marble reliquary in the Basilica. We have additional pictures of this church, and of its interior.

 

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine was a young Christian woman of noble birth and thus quite well-educated, when at the age of eighteen she presented herself to Emperor Maximinus Daia who was carrying out a persecution of the Christians. She admonished him for his cruelty and demanded that he cease the persecutions. Astounded and insulted at the young woman's audacity, but lacking the skills necessary to debate with her, Maximinus detained her in his palace and called for his scholars to try to trip her up in her beliefs either to make her apostatize against Christianity or commit a heresy against the Roman religion so that she could be put to death. Contrary to what Maximinus expected, she managed to convert many of his scholars with her eloquence and knowledge of both religion and science. Maximinus was so outraged he had them put to death and Catherine scourged and put in prison. His empress however, heard of the extraordinary young woman and stole secretly into the prison in the company of the general Porphyry. They listened to Catherine, were converted and baptized, but were executed by Maximinus when he discovered what had happened. Maximinus ordered Catherine to be broken on the wheel, yet at her touch it was miraculously destroyed. Seeing no alternative, Maximinus ordered her beheaded. According to legend, her body was carried to Mount Sinai by angels where a monastery and church were later built by the order of the Emperor Justinian. Interestingly enough, the site where Catherine's body was found is also believed to be the site of the burning bush seen by Moses.

 

Saint Catherine has been ranked with Saints Margaret and Barbara as one of the "fourteen most helpful saints in Heaven." In several dioceses in France her feast day was regarded as a Holy Day of Obligation up until the seventeenth century. Numerous churches are dedicated to her, and at one time her statue decorated almost every church in Europe and Africa. As Saint Nicholas of Myra was the patron of young men and students, Saint Catherine became the female counterpart, the patron of young women. The spiked wheel that she destroyed with a touch became her symbol and as such mechanics and wheelwrights have called her their patron. Because she triumphed also in the sciences, confounding even the philosophers of Maximinus, her intercession is sought by theologians, orators, and philosophers. It is even thought that she was the saint that had appeared to Joan of Arc.

 

St. Catherine's is also a formidable fortification, with granite walls 40 to 200 feet tall, surrounded by gardens and cypresses. Prior to probably the twentieth century, the only entrance to St. Catherine's was a small door 30 feet high, where provisions and people where lifted with a system of pulleys, and where food was often lowered to nomads. It has withstood numerous attacks over its 14 hundred year existence thus protecting a rich store of art, and today, while it is one of the oldest monasteries in the world, its original, preserved state is unmatched.

 

Though established and patronized most of its history by the Russian Orthodox Church, it is now under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church. Most of its monks are also of Greek origin.

 

3:00 PM:  Members arrive back at Conrad hotel from Optional Tour

 

8:00-10:00 PM: OSSN BEDOUIN DINNER

 

“Farewell to our Red Sea Paradise”

Experience the Egyptian Style of the Bedouins and the Sinai Desert!

Casual Dress is fine for our “tented farewell dinner under the stars”

 

September 21: Nile River Cruise Embarkation

6:00AM: Early Morning Breakfast

06:45AM: You'll be transferred by Wings Group Egypt to the Airport in "Sharm el Sheikh" for your short domestic flight to Luxor to board the MV Tulip for the OSSN Nile Cruise Adventure

 

21 SEP 02 - SATURDAY

  EGYPTAIR      161 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-321                             

  LV: SHARM ELSHEIKH     750A     NONSTOP       MILES-  190   CONFIRMED
  AR: LUXOR EGYPT        835A     ELAPSED TIME-  :45

 

08:35AM: Meet and assist and transfer to M/S Tulip.

09:00AM:  Welcome drink and Early VIP/ OSSN Check in on the MV Tulip

12:00 PM: You'll enjoy a typical Egyptian lunch onboard the MV Tulip

 

A true floating Hotel, the M/S Tulip is the largest of our cruise ships

Abundant luxury, and a wonderful Nile view await you in each of its 70 cabins and 4 suites.

 

Wings Nile Cruises - M/S Tulip

 

This specially appointed 5-Star ship with sliding panoramic windows from floor to ceiling in every cabin, will be your home as you cruise the majestic and mystical Nile Cruise River. Experience the ancient spectacles of the Nile in luxury on one of the finest ships on the Nile. Onboard, your professional guides are Egyptologists that will delight you with their vast expertise of a culture that controlled the destiny of many ages. 

 

After lunch aboard the ship, you'll depart to explore the fabulous sites of Luxor.

 

Luxor/Karnak/Thebes

 

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open-air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of.  Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor. 

 

Luxor and Karnak Temples

This afternoon you will visit the Luxor and Karnak Temples! The Temple of Luxor is the first great sight you will see in the center of town. The temple was built during the reign of Amemophis III and dedicated to the god Amon-Ra. Ramses II who added statues representing himself and two obelisks expanded it. Luxor was known as Thebes in ancient times and was described by Homer as the "hundred-gate city." Also known as the "City of Palaces," it is a testament to a desire for immortality, built for eternity in sandstone and granite. It is the world's greatest open-air museum filled with awe-inspiring monuments of ancient civilization. Connected to the Temple of Luxor by the Avenue of Sphinxes is the Karnak Temple which houses the Hypostyle Hall, the largest of any temple in the world, covering 50,000 square feet, and containing 134 huge columns. Each Pharaoh added his own contribution to the temple, so on your visit you will experience 2000 years of history!

These sphinxes combine the body of a lion with the head of Nectanebo I (380-363 B.C.E.). They were rebuilt in the fourth century B.C.E. to replace the ruined New Kingdom sphinxes.

 

Special Evening Tour: Sound & light Show in Luxor

 


Luxor has a wonderful Sound and Light Show

 

After a wonderful Egyptian dinner this evening, experience a " Sound and Light Show" displaying the grandeur of Karnak Temple which brings the story of the splendors of ancient Thebes to life. You'll then return to the ship and enjoy your evening aboard Wings' Nile Cruises' M/S Tulip.

 

Nile River Cruises

A first time visitor to Egypt who wants a classical (pharaonic antiquities) experience would do well to book a Nile cruise. Of course modern airlines shuttle tourists to the southern region of Egypt, but historically the Nile cruise was really the only way to visit the temples and tombs located along this stretch of the river. It is still a popular means of visiting upper Egypt and has many advantages to other means of travel.

 

First of all, it is very nice to unpack and once and have your hotel travel with you, rather then the hectic routine that accompanies the stop and go itineraries of air and land tours. But besides the more relaxed mode of travel, there are other significant advantages. Nile cruises often visit a wider variety of antiquities along the banks of the river. But equally important, they also allow the tourist to gain a prospective of the rural Egypt, where people live much the same way they did even thousands of years ago, in mudbrick homes, tending their fields with wooden plows and moving produce via donkey.

It is a wonderful experience to sit on a shaded deck of a floating hotel, sipping an iced beverage while watching 5,000 years of culture slowly drift by.

Nile cruises may very considerably, but typical Nile cruises are either three, four or seven nights. The shorter tours usually operate between Luxor and Aswan, while the longer cruises travel further north to Dendera, often offering day tours overland to more remote locations. Therefore, a fairly complete 14 day tour of Egypt might include several days around Cairo, seeing the pyramids, museums and other antiquities, a short flight to Abu Simbel in the very southern part of Egypt surrounding a seven day Nile Cruise.

The usual cruise is aboard a Nile cruiser, often referred to as a floating hotel. Indeed, the better boats have most the accommodations of a land based hotel, including small swimming pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, nightclubs, good restaurants, stores and even small libraries. Depending on what one is willing to pay, rooms may be very utilitarian and small, or larger then some land based hotel rooms. Some boats even have suites available. Better boats will always have private baths, air conditioning, and TVs. It is common for there to be video movies each night, and some boats are equipped with cameras allowing passengers to view the countryside from their TV. Floating hotels also offer various types of entertainment. Many of the boats have dance areas with disco or even live entertainment, and most offer a variety of nightly shows. These might include cocktail parties, Nubian shows, belly dancers and whirling dervish, plays and even dress up parties where guests don traditional apparel. Like land hotels, meals onboard most Nile cruisers are usually buffet style and include hot and cold food along with a variety of international and local cuisine. Most all boats have good modern water filtration, which is fine for showering, but it is still recommended to drink bottled water, which the boat will have aboard.

 

A much more adventurous style of Nile cruise, very different from the floating hotels can be arranged aboard feluccas, Egypt's traditional Nile sailboat. Most falucca trips are short, enjoyable trips of several hours, but multi-day felucca cruises can be arranged aboard larger vessels traveling between Aswan and Luxor. There is really no comparison between cruising the Nile on a floating hotel and a falucca. The accommodations on a falucca are primitive. Tourists sleep in the open on deck and the sailors double as cooks.

Around the middle of April, locks on the Nile river are closed due to water levels, ultimate time for a Nile cruise is between October and mid April, when the weather is fairly cool, but the locks are all open. However, most cruise boats operate all year. If the locks are closed, cruise operators will arrange boats on either side of the locks, and a transfer must be made between boats.

 

You will cruise in unrivaled comfort aboard the deluxe M/S Tulip. Launched in 2000, and with one crew for every two guests, few ships can match the elegance, ambiance and service levels aboard this new Nile cruiser. The feel of a luxurious floating hotel is established in the expansive and colorful public areas. The beautiful restaurant's splendid windows offer panoramic views of the Nile to add to the enjoyment of the

fine dining. Enjoy your relaxing evenings in the beautiful lounge, the bar, or the vibrant disco. A swimming pool, upper sundeck and souvenir shop round out the physical amenities.

The specially selected Egyptian crew of 75 ensures the highest level of international service and attention to detail. The ship has a special water treatment plant and is fully air-conditioned throughout.

The elegant M/S Tulip offers 4 Royal Suites, in addition to 70 superior staterooms, all with full panoramic views! Additional amenities include lounge, bar, disco, beauty salon, souvenir shop, restaurant, sun deck, swimming pool and Jacuzzi; individual air conditioning system in each cabin, as well as satellite TV including CNN, telephones and mini bar in each cabin. Each extra-spacious cabin (226 sq. ft.) includes individually controlled air-conditioning, in-house music channel, TV video channel, mini-bar, safety deposit box, international telephone, and a private bath with tub and shower.
Each cabin has a large window which when opened creates the feel of a private balcony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 22: Tours of Ancient Luxor

Enjoy breakfast on board the cruise.  Your adventure in Luxor begins today as you explore some of the world's most spectacular tributes to ancient Kings and Queens of Egypt! Ancient Thebes was the glorious capital of Egypt at its height (2,100 to 750 B.C) During your tour this morning to the West Bank of the Nile you'll visit the fabled Valley of the Kings, featuring the major funerary monuments of Egypt. The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir El-Bahari - cut from a massive cliff face and the Colossi of Memnon are also visited during your tours.

 

Luxor was known in antiquity as Thebes. Your adventure in Luxor begins as you explore some of the world's most spectacular tributes to ancient Kings and Queens of Egypt! Ancient Thebes was the glorious capital of Egypt at its height (2,100 to 750 B.C) During your tour this morning to the West Bank of the Nile you'll visit the fabled Valley of the Kings. In the Valley of the Kings visit several tombs, including that of the Boy King, Tutankhamun.

 

In the Valley of the Queens, we will visit the burial chamber of Queen Nefertari, regarded by many as the most beautiful of all the tomb paintings in Egypt. The chamber of Nefertari has colors so vibrant, it is difficult to believe the walls were painted more than 3200 years ago.

See the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set dramatically against the cliffs at Deir el Bahri - cut from a massive cliff face.

 

"Some of the most preserved mummies have been found in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. This was the burial ground for the rich, the pharaohs, and their family members. The tombs are elaborate and ornate. The walls are filled with inscriptions and paintings. The tombs were filled with rare art, jewels, and anything the deceased would need to live well in the Afterlife."

 

The Colossi of Memnon of Amenophis III is all that remain of his temple, which is visited during your tour. The Tombs of the Nobles with their lively depictions of everyday life provides an interesting contrast to the austere scenes found in the tombs of pharaohs.

The extensive precinct of the Temple of Karnak warrants two visits, once in the morning light and again in the late afternoon. View the Luxor Temple after dark when the floodlights accentuate the fine reliefs and hieroglyphs meticulously carved on the sanctuary walls.

 

 

Right - The west bank across the Nile from Luxor.

 

To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement.  It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism.  Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since.  Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year.

Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile.  The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor Temple.  Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak, which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple.  However, Sharia al-Karnak  is known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda.  Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found.  Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not far from here.  Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual.


Luxor at the Nile

Luxor today is a city of some 150,000 people and is governed by special statues that allow it more autonomy then other political areas of Egypt.  One thing you might notice is that various government and other buildings confirm to an 'ancient' building code.  Particularly, the National bank of Egypt (located near the winter palace), the spa south of the police station, and the railway station are all designed to appear as pharaonic constructs.  All of this occurred after the Egyptianization of the modern town resulting mostly from the mania that resulted from Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. As one might think, the city has all the amenities tourists might expect, including a variety of hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

In Luxor proper on the East Bank, one of the first stops must be the Temple of Luxor built by Amenophis III. Head south on Sharia al-Karnak to reach the temple, which was connected to the Karnak Temple via a long stone processional street called a dromos.  The dromos (Picture at right) was built by Nectanebo I, and originally was lined on either side by sphinxes. In front of the Luxor temple, the dromos is well preserved, and on the way to the entrance one passes by a Roman chapel of burnt brick dedicated to the god Serapis, which was built during the rule of Hadrian.  There is a path that leads to the Nile side of the Temple where one enters the complex.

 

After leaving Luxor, head back to Sharia al-Karnak and go north towards Karnak.  Down the road, near the police station, which is near the tomb is the oldest mosque in Luxor, the El-Mekashkesh Mosque.  It contains the remains of a 10th century Islamic saint who rumor has it was a monk prior to converting to Islam.  The mosque is a popular pilgrimage destination.  Here also is the Franciscan Church and its schools, one for boys and the other girls. Beyond this lies a great Coptic basilica.

At the Police station head towards the Nile Corniche. Here, opposite the Mina Palace Hotel you will find the Mummification Museum, which has most anything you would ever want to know about mummifications.  From here, head north towards Karnak.

About halfway to Karnak, you will discover the Luxor Museum.  (The image at left is a Block Statue of Iamu Negh from the Luxor Museum). It should certainly be visited if you plan a well-rounded and educated experience.  While this is a small museum, most of the relics are from the surrounding area and provide considerable insight to the monuments you will visit.

From the Museum, head back to Sharia al-Karnak and continue north towards Karnak.  After crossing a small bridge one will begin to see the excavated dromos off the road and running through a small village. A little further on you will pass the ruins of the Temple of Mut where another dromos leads to the gateway of the tenth pylon.  The road finally arrives at the domed tombs of two saints, Sidi Ahmed and Sidi Ali, where a road leads past the Department of Antiquities leads to the main Temple of Karnak entrance. This road is built along a canal that once connected the Nile to the Temple.  There was a dock in ancient times, but now all that is left is the quay and the raised dais.   Just past that is a red brick Roman dock and past that, two paved ramps led to the river bank.  They are bordered by stone parapets, and were built during the rule of Taharqa.  Past these is the Chapel of Achoris, which received the sacred boat of Amun when it was used in ceremonies.

To arrive at the entrance one follows the dromos with its crio-sphinxes.  They have the head of a Ram and the body of a lion and are symbolic of the God Amun.  Arriving at the temple, there is a statue of Ramesses II with his son between his feet. 

To the right is a structure that has red steps, a red front colonnade and red brick walls.  Inside there are pedestals inscribed with the names of Roman emperors,  that once held their statues.  This was a Roman chapel dedicated to imperial worship. After leaving the Temple complex on the left is the Franco-Egyptian Center, which has managed the temple complex since 1967.  Down on the shore of the Nile is the Centre National dl la Recherche Scientifque, or CNRS, which houses the French and the Chicago House, a project of the University of Chicago is near by. 

After this, you will wish to take a boat trip over to the West bank.  This trip had a special meaning to the Egyptians, for they were more crossing the way to the West and life, then to a necropolis.  The Valley of the Kings is as good as any to try first, with tombs from the 18th and 19th Dynasties. Outside the Valley of the Kings, the road leads past Antef, named for the 11th Dynasty princes who were buried here.  Some tombs can still be seen as one heads towards the Temple of Seti I.  Most of what is left of Seti's Temple is the view.  The ruined gate of a pylon enters the court. The court has what is left of a palace on the south side. The road continues south, passing Dra-Abu el-Naga necropolis. 


Sculptured Walls

 

The road eventually winds itself westward until reaching the Valley of Asasif. These are 25th and 26th Dynasty tombs. At the end of of the Valley of Asasif at the foot of a cliff named Deir el-Bahri is a spectacular complex of temples.  The Temple of Mentuhetep I, Hatshepsut and Thotmose II here must be seen. Much of the architecture here seems so very powerful against the towering cliffs in the background.  From here, the road continues past the remains of the temples of Ramesses IV and Thutmose III, eventually reaching the Necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.   This 18th Dynasty necropolis sits amidst houses where there are hundreds of holes.  And below here, one comes to the famous Ramesseum, built by Ramesses II, a huge complex that took twenty years to complete.

As the road runs along past the remains of Thutmose IV, Merneptah, Ay and Horemheb's Temples, it finally comes to the huge complex known as Medinet Habu, which is another of Thebe's major attractions and a must see sight.  The gate has square towers and appears almost oriental.  Behind the complex is the workmen's village called Deir el-Medina. Out in the fields near here is the Colossi of Memnon, one of the major tourist attractions throughout time. Southwest of Deir el-Medina is the Valley of the Queens, where queens of the 18th and 19th Dynasties were buried. 

From here, the road continues past the mudbrick remains of the Amenhotep III's palace called Malkatta. There is a lake to the east and at the other end of that, a small Roman temple called Deir Shelwit and built at the end of the 1st century.

 

We will return to the cruise for lunch while sailing to Esna. 

As you cruise the mighty Nile in luxury, the hustle and bustle of the busy city surrenders to the gentle pulse of rural life. Small villages with whitewashed mosques contrast dramatically with the pale red mud brick homes punctuate wide expanses of green.

 

Arrive in Esna with the sunset while enjoying an afternoon tea and cookies on the deck. 

 

Dinner & overnight onboard in Esna

 

After dinner a Nubian dance night will take place at the lounge while you sit and relax and enjoy your favorite drink. 

The cruise will cross the Esna lock that night.

 

September 22: ESNA, Temple of EDFU & KomOmbo

The temple of Esna is most interesting for its columns and the reliefs.

 

Early morning you sail to Edfu to visit the exquisite temple dedicated to the falcon headed god, Horus! A short horse-drawn carriage ride takes you to this incredibly well preserved temple- the best-preserved in Egypt and possibly in the world!

 

Edfu is a "must see" if you wish to understand the psychological effect of approaching an intact temple. It is huge and all of its buildings are intact. At Edfu, there is also a bonus, the inner shrine houses a replica of the sacred barque that was carried through the streets of the nearby town during ceremonial processions. Edfu built by Ptolemy III in 237 BC and finished 200 years later by Ptolemy XIII (father of Cleopatra) is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. It is devoted to the ancient falcon-god, Horus. The inner walls of the enclosure depict the story of how Horus was conceived from parts of his father, Osiris, god of the underworld. Seth chopped Osiris up into little pieces and cast his parts into the Nile. Isis used her magic to restore Osiris to life only to have Seth do the same thing again. The second time Isis was unable to restore Osiris, so she used the parts to conceive Horus. Horus later slayed Seth (now in the form of a miniature hippo) but looses an eye in the battle. The eye of Horus is an important religious symbol in ancient Egyptian theology.

 

You’ll enjoy lunch on board the ship while sailing to Kom Ombo   

 

In Kom Ombo, you'll visit the only temple dedicated to two contrasting gods: Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of the underworld, and Haroeris, the winged god of the sky.

Ptolemy VI built Kom Ombo in 2 BC and Augustus constructed the outer walls after 30 BC, so this temple dates back to Ptolomaic and Roman times.

The magnificent colored reliefs in the forecourt show the purification of King Ptolemy XIII by temple goddesses.

 

Egyptian "Fancy Dress" Egyptian Theme Party

A special Egyptian dinner and “Fancy Dress” evening entertainment onboard the lovely MV Tulip will be waiting for you after an exciting day full of history and intrigue! This is your chance to become an ancient Egyptian for an evening of fun. You may dress the part of the "Ancient Egyptian Pharoahs and Queens" and treat yourself like the royalty that you always wanted to be!  Also you will test a typical Egyptian buffet dinner. 

(Some Egyptian costume wear is available onboard, but you can use your imagination for this fun theme night !)

 

Overnight in Kom Ombo

September 24: KOM OMBO and ASWAN

Early morning you will set sail for Aswan. Aswan is Egypt's southernmost city, which has long been the country's gateway to Africa and a prosperous market city on the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes.

 

After arrival in Aswan, you'll visit the Temple of Philae, saved from the rising waters of the Nile and the Temple of Isis. 

The temple of Philae was begun by Ptolemy II and completed by the roman emperors. Philae in Greek or Pilak in ancient Egyptian, meaning “the end” defined the southern most limit of Egypt. The Temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. These three gods dominate ancient Egyptian culture. Isis was a very important goddess in the ancient world. She is associated with funeral rites but as the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus she is also the giver of life, the goddess of magic and healing. She was represented with a throne on her head. During the Roman period her cult spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. There was even a temple built for her in London.

The temple at Philae was nearly lost under water when the high Aswan dam was built in the 1960s. Fortunately the temple was rescued. In an engineering feat to rival the ancients the whole island was surrounded with a dam and the inside pumped dry. Then every stone block of the temple complex was labeled and removed, later to be assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle on the higher ground of Agilka Island. The whole project took ten years, but it saved one of Egypt’s most wonderful temples from being lost forever.

 

After lunch, you may choose to tour by felucca, the traditional Nile sailing boat, to see Elephantine Island and view the impressive Aga Khan Mausoleum on the west bank of the Nile.


Elephantine Island

The Nile is glorious here as it makes its way down from massive High Dam and Lake Nasser, and watching the sun set over the Nile is about as moving as any travel experience gets. The dam was built in 1968 and provides electrical power for about 1/4 of Eqypt. The dam controls the water flow of the spring floods that used to flood the valley every year and provide a layer of fresh silt for new crop growth. Having the dam provides Egypt with a double-edged sword. On one hand it provides power, water, and flood control. On the other it stops the regular layering of silt that is important to the farmers economic growth. Nowadays the farmers rely on more fertilizers that were not as common in older times.

The City of Aswan, Egypt

 

Aswan

Aswan, Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene.  Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish.

In Aswan the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets. View the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel (Named due to the location of the Nile's first cataract located here). Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all.

Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center, just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.


Dancers at the Cultural Center

Aswan is a strategic location which currently houses a garrison of the Egyptian army, but which has also seen ancient Egyptian garrisons, as well as that of General Kitchener, Turkish troops of the Ottoman empire and the Romans.

The city proper lies on the east bank of the Nile.  Relax here, visit a few mosques, but then prepare for an adventure.  The bazaar runs along the Corniche, which continues past the Ferial Gardens and the Nubian Museum, and continues on to the Cemetery, with its forest of cupolas surmounted tombs from the Fatimid period.  Just east of the cemetery in the famous area quarries is the gigantic Unfinished Obelisk.  Just to the south of this, two Graeco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished colossus remain half buried in the sand.

The most obvious is Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts dating from pre-Dynastic times onward.  It is the largest island in the area. Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat).  It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (185--1916) and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi.  But the island is known for its garden and the exotic plants the Kitchener planted there, and which continue to flourish today.

The tomb of a marabut, Qubbet el-Hawwa, who was a local saint, surmounts the cliffs on the opposite shore, the west bank.  Below are tombs of the local (pharaonic) nobles and dignitaries.

Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957.  Known as the Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity.  A road from there leads back to the Coptic Monastery of St Simeon, which was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local saint.

Just up river a bit, there is also the old Aswan dam, built by the British, which was enlarged, expanded, but unable to control the Nile for irrigation.

After dinner, enjoy folk dancing entertainment onboard.

September 25: Abu Simbel

(ALL ABU SIMBEL EXCURIONS MUST BE BOOKED PRIOR TO DEPARTING USA)

All tours except for Abu Simbel are included in your cruise at no added cost!

 

For those agents who choose to include the tour to the Abu Simbel monument, you will take a short morning flight to Abu Simbel from Aswan. You will pass by the Aswan High Dam on the way to the airport. The Aswan High Dam - one of the largest in the world was completed in 1964 and is located 4 miles south of the old dam. The High Dam has created a 300-mile long lake.

 

6:00 AM: Early breakfast on board the cruise

 

7:00 AM: Start your tour to visit the High Dam and The unfinished Obelisk on the way to the airport for your flight to Abu Simbel.

9:30 AM: Depart on MS Flight # 247 to Abu Simbel

10:15 AM: Arrive Abu Simbel and start the tour to the two temples

 

Upon your arrival to Abu Simbel, you will proceed on a tour of the most spectacular and best-preserved temples in the country. With its mighty statues of Ramses himself, the Great Temple of Ramses II is truly magnificent. Overlooking the green expanse of Lake Nasser, it presents a truly unique example of the power and beauty of ancient Egyptian culture.

 

Abu Simbel, an incredible temple built by Ramses II to show an over-glorified win in a battle with Nubians who inhabited this land at the far south of modern Egypt. He placed the temple here as a sign of power to remind the Nubians who Pharoh was. Many scenes depict Ramses in battle slaying or enslaving his enemy.  Ramses unified the northern (lower) and southern (upper) empires into one. Outside are 4 large colossi of Ramses seated on his throne and protected by the ancient god Ra. At his feet are either his wives or daughters. In 1968 the entire site was threatened by the Aswan dam project. It would have been covered by the floodwaters from the dammed Nile if it weren't for UNESCO and a team of European and Egyptian engineers. The entire mountain was cut-up, marker identified, cataloged, and rebuilt on a new man-made plateau 210 meters away from the water and 65 meters higher than its original location. At a cost of over $40 million, the temple was cut into 10-40 ton blocks and reassembled on its new location.

 

1:30 PM:  Depart from Abu Simbel on MS Flight # 250 to Aswan

2:15 PM:  Arrive Aswan Airport to connect with your flight to Cairo

4:20 PM:  Depart to Cairo on MS Flight # 234

 

25 SEP 02 - WEDNESDAY

  EGYPTAIR      234 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-BOEING 737-500                 

  LV: ASWAN EGYPT        420P     ONE STOP      MILES-  434   CONFIRMED

  AR: CAIRO EGYPT        635P     ELAPSED TIME- 2:15                 

  ARRIVAL TERMINAL-1        1 STOP-LUXOR EGYPT     

                                         

6:35 PM: Arrive in timeless Cairo, capital of Egypt.

 

You will be met at the airport and escorted to  " Le Meridien-Pyramids Resort in Giza, located at the foot of the Great Pyramids!

This evening you will enjoy an OSSN Welcome Reception and meet fellow OSSN members and hosts.

 

8:00-9:30 PM: This evening you will enjoy a Welcome Reception
hosted by Le Meridien Pyramids.

OSSN Arrives in Cairo

LE MERIDIEN offers a luxurious and modern atmosphere while also being a shining example of Egyptian culture, hospitality and cuisine! OSSN Members will all enjoy "Pyramid View" executive accommodations and special amenities that are sure to delight! From authentic Nubian dining and musical entertainment to Le Meridien's own Bedouin "coffee house," special pleasures await you in the shadow of the Great Pyramids of Giza. With a variety of restaurants and entertainment venues to rival any hotel in Cairo, Le Meridien is waiting to welcome you to your "home away from home!" Each day of the OSSN International Conference promises to entice you with the history of the Egyptian Ages combined with the pleasures of modern comfort.

 

  

 

Founded on the site of Babylon, near the ruins of ancient Memphis, Cairo has been the largest city in Africa for centuries. Modern Cairo encompasses many former cities and their monuments: the pyramids of the pharaohs; early Christian monasteries and churches; Salah al-din's Citadel; mosques of the Mamluke and Ottoman sultans. Five thousand years of culture are concentrated here, at the center of three continents. Travel through time in a city that is a living index to civilization. Today's skyline mixes minarets and palm trees with art deco villas and multicolored neon - but you can still see the sunset over the Nile. "The Mother of the world" is one of the friendliest (and safest) cities in the world: Egyptian hospitality will ensure that, wherever you come from, you'll feel quite at home.

 

 

OSSN International Conference Event in Giza and Cairo

September 26: Pyramids / Sphinx and Egyptian National Museum

7:00 –9:00 AM: Full American Breakfast included

 

9:00AM: OSSN departs from front lobby for full day tour of Pyramids, Sphinx and Egyptian Museum  (Lunch included)

You'll begin your morning with a lovely breakfast at Le Meridien before boarding Wings Egypt's deluxe motor coach for your trek to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Today you'll visit the neighboring 4,500-year-old Great Pyramids of Giza including the Pyramid of Cheops and the Sphinx with its unsolved mysteries and face. These astounding works are monuments to the incredibly precise building skills of the ancient Egyptians, creating a sense of wonder and mystery that stays with you throughout this ancient land.

Whether you choose to explore on Camel, on horseback, or on foot, it is an experience not to be forgotten.

If you choose to journey to the inner chambers of the great pyramids through their narrow entry passages, you'll find the burial chambers of these ancient pharaohs quite intriguing.

 

After lunch, we then travel to the Egyptian National Museum to get an incredible overview of Egypt's fascinating culture. This world-renowned museum is the home of many ancient treasures including the splendid burial furnishings of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut).

The magnificent collection here includes 27 mummies, Sarcophagi, and over 250,000 antiquities that date back as far as 5000 years. (Lunch is included during the tour.)

 

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum was first built in Boulak. In 1891, it was moved to Giza Palace of "Ismail Pasha" which housed the antiquities that were later moved to the present building. The Egyptian Museum is situated at Tahrir square in Cairo. It was built during the reign of Khedive Abbass Helmi II in 1897, and opened on November 15, 1902 (More History).  It has 107 halls. At the ground floor there are the huge statues. The upper floor houses small statues, jewels, Tutankhamon treasures and the mummies.

The Museum also comprises a photography section and a large library. The Egyptian museum comprises many sections arranged in chronological order

The first section houses Tutankhamon’s treasures.

The second section houses the pre-dynasty and the Old Kingdom monuments.

The third section houses the first intermediate period and the Middle Kingdom monuments.

The forth section houses the monuments of the Modern Kingdom.

The fifth section houses the monuments of the late period and the Greek and Roman periods.

The sixth section houses coins and papyrus.

The seventh section houses sarcophagi and scrabs.

A hall for the royal mummies was opened at the museum, housing eleven kings and queens.

More than a million and half tourists visit the museum annually, in addition to half a million Egyptians.

 

 

 

 

The Evening is on your own to dine at one of the many fine restaurants at Le Pyramids or at Mena House Oberoi right next door at the foot of the Pyramids. Later you may choose to try your luck at the nearby Mena House Casino or relax and enjoy the Outdoor Bedouin "Coffee House" or Egyptian Nubian song and dance routines presented nightly at the "Nubian Village" with the Great Pyramids still providing a looming backdrop. This evening you may also choose (optional) to attend the "Sound and Light Extravaganza" held nightly at the base of the Pyramids in an enchanting atmosphere. The show captivates the audience as you relive ancient times, the history of the Pyramids and the glory of the Pharaohs.

September 27: OSSN Optional Tours: On the "Wings" of ISIS

Today OSSN Members will enjoy their choice of several optional tours offered by Wings Group Egypt. Your professional “Wings Tours” guide in air-conditioned “Wings Group” coaches will accompany you.


6:00 AM-9:00 AM: Full American Breakfast included.

 

If you prefer, you may take advantage of the lovely amenities of your beautiful "home away of home, Le Meridien Hotel at their Le Mirage Spa and tennis courts or the nearby Mena House Palace Hotel where agents may try a round of golf on the famous Mena House course overlooking the Pyramids.

When was the last time you saw a great Pyramid looming over the fairway of your favorite 18-hole course? Tee time with the Pharaohs?… Only in Egypt!

 

When you need a break from city life watch the horse racing at the Gezira Club or visit the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. Take a trip on the Nile in a felucca or ride on horseback from the Giza Pyramids to Sakkara. For a day trip outside Cairo visit Haraniyya village and see the beautiful tapestries and weaving produced by local people. If you wish, you may get away from it all at the top of the Cairo Tower, a modern 187 meter-high tower with views of the city from all sides, topped by a revolving restaurant. 

 

8:45 AM: Half Day tour to Memphis and Sakkara departs

12:00 PM: Half Day Tour to Memphis returns

 

 

Half Day Tour to Memphis and Saqqara ($29.00)

 

You may select to visit the ancient capital city of Memphis, the oldest capital of Egypt, built by King Menes and the "step pyramid" of Sakkara, history's first stone building.

 

Saqqara

Saqqara is one section of the great necropolis of Memphis, the Old Kingdom capital and the kings of the 1st Dynasty as well as those of the 2nd Dynasty are mostly buried in this section of the Memphis necropolis. It has been of constant interest to Egyptologists.

Three major discoveries have recently been made at Saqqara, including a prime minister’s tomb, a queen’s pyramid, and the tomb of the son of a dynasty-founding king. Each discovery has a fascinating story, with many adventures for the archaeologists as they revealed the secrets of the past. 

Sakkara is best known for the Step Pyramid, the oldest known of Egypt's 97 pyramids. The architect and genius Imhotep, who designed it and its surrounding complex to be as grand as it was unique and revolutionary, built it for King Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty. Imhotep was the first to build stone tombs in honor of the king's majesty. His many titles included 'Treasurer of the King of Lower Egypt', 'Administrator of the Great Palace', and 'Imhotep the Builder, the Sculptor, the Maker of Stone Vessels'.  Imhotep may have also designed the pyramid of Djoser's successor, Sekhemkhet.

 

5th Dynasty kings such as Userkaf (pyramid) and Djedkare-Izezi built their pyramids at Sakkara. The last king of 5th Dynasty, Unas, decorated his burial chamber with the famous 'Pyramid Texts', spells written to help the king ascend to the heavens and descend again, which reveal the relationship of the king to the gods. 6th Dynasty kings such as Pepi I, Merenre and Pepi II built their pyramids to the south of Sakkara. 

Sakkara is also famous for its private Old Kingdom tombs, which contain beautiful and revealing scenes: men force- feeding geese, cattle crossing a canal, men dragging a statue on a sled to the tomb. The best-known tombs are those of Ti, Kagemni, the 'Two Brothers', and Ptahhotep; the most famous is that of Meruruka. 


Pyramid of Unas

 

During the New Kingdom (c 1570-332 BC) Memphis took second place to Thebes as Egypt's capital. But although the administration was established at Thebes, the government officials who ruled Upper Egypt lived in Memphis and were buried at Sakkara. Here Geoffrey Martin found the famous tomb that Horemheb built for himself before he became pharaoh, while he was still the overseer of Tutankhamun's army. 

 

The colossal statue of Ramses II made of fine-grained limestone is over 13 meters long and weighs over 120 tons! Saqqara is the oldest Ancient Egyptian cemetery and is noted for the mastaba-type tombs of the nobles which bear inscriptions showing daily life of Ancient Egyptians including hunting, religious rites and even their veterinary treatment of animals.

 

 

 

1:00 PM: Half Day Tour of Old Cairo and Mohamed Ali Mosque ($24.00)

 

You may choose to visit Old Cairo and Saladin's Citadel Fortress, built between 1176 and 1182 AD and encloses the famous Mohammad Ali Mosque. You'll also visit the enticing and exotic El Khalili Bazaar, (which rivals the grand bazaar of Istanbul) on this tour.

Visit the finest collection of Coptic art and antiquities in the world, the “Hanging Church”, Al-Mu’allaqa built in the 4th century over the southern gate of the fortress of Babylon, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Treasures include a 14th century wall-painting of the Nativity. The Church of St. Mercurius, Abu Sefein boasts a unique collection of Coptic art, including 175 icons that depict scenes from the old and New Testaments, wall paintings, etchings and stained glass.

Also visit the Synagogue of Ben Ezra. From St. Sergius Church you pass through a doorway into a garden and find yourself at a Jewish Synagogue. Once a Coptic church, Michael, a patriarch towards the end of the 9th century, sold it to the Jews. It is small, measuring only 65 by 35 feet, but it contains some remarkable manuscripts.

End the day by visiting the historical citadel of Saladin that defended Cairo against all invaders throughout history. It was built between 1176 and 1182 AD and provides a panoramic view of Cairo from Al Moqattam Hills. The Citadel complex includes the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali.

 

Old Cairo

We begin our journey into Old Cairo just opposite of Rhoda Island and below it's southern tip.  The area is known to the Egyptians as Masr al-Qadima and stretches down to the sub-area often called Coptic Cairo.  Again, appropriate dress covering the body including shoulders and legs is required for entering both Coptic and Islamic monuments. 

Old Cairo is so named because it is the oldest part of Cairo, and in fact, predates what is now Cairo.  Some Egyptologists believe that there was a settlement here as far back as the 6th century BC.  Later, the Romans built a fortress here, which we call Babylon.  Some of these Roman walls still exist.  Later, it became a Christian stronghold, with as many as 20 churches built within an area of one square mile.  There are only five remaining, but these are certainly a must see when visiting Cairo, along with the earliest Mosque ever built in Egypt.  In addition, after the fall of Jerusalem in about 70 AD, the area also saw an influx of that religion into the area, where the oldest synagogue is also located. Most of Pharaonic Egypt is a relic of one of the Worlds first and grandest religions, including the great Pyramids outside Cairo.  Yet if the modern world can be said to have four major religions consisting of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, then three of those are represented by some of their most ancient relics in this section of Old Cairo.  

 

The Hanging Church El Muallaqa

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary

The Hanging Church (El Muallaqa, Sitt Mariam, St Mary) derives its name from its location on top of the southern tower gate of the old Babylon fortress (in Old, or Coptic Cairo) with its nave suspended above the passage (Muallaqa translates to 'suspended'). It is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, as well as the first built in Basilcan style (possibly).  It was probably built during the patriarchate of Isaac (690-92), though an earlier church building may have existed elsewhere dating as earlier as the 3rd or 4th century.  However, the earliest mention of the church was a statement in the biography of the patriarch Joseph (831-49), when the governor of Egypt visited the establishment. The church was largely rebuilt during by the patriarch Abraham (975-78) and has seen many other restorations including one very recently, after which objects of historical interest that were no longer of service went to the Coptic Museum. 

 

Cairo offers an incredible selection of shopping, leisure, culture and nightlife. Shopping ranges from the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, (or bazaar) largely unchanged since the 14th century, to modern air-conditioned centers displaying the latest fashions. All the bounty of the East is here - particularly good buys are spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics and mashrabiya. Try some of the famous street markets, like Wekala al-Balaq, for fabrics, including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqué-work, Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments and, although you probably won't want to buy, the Camel Market makes a fascinating trip.

 

Khan el-Khalili

How could a market in Egypt be responsible for the founding of the United States? Khan el-Khalili, once known as the Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman period, is now usually just called the 'Khan', and the names of it and the Muski market are often used interchangeably to mean either. Named for the great Caravansary, the market was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. Together with the al-Muski market to the west, they comprise one of Cairo's most important shopping areas. But more than that, they represent the market tradition, which established Cairo as a major center of trade, and at the Khan, one will still find foreign merchants. Perhaps, this vary market was involved in the spice monopoly controlled by the Mamluks, which encouraged the Europeans to search for new routes to the East and led Columbus, indirectly, to discover the Americas. During its early period, the market was also a center for subversive groups, often subject to raids before the Sultan Ghawri rebuilt much of the area in the early 16th century. Regardless, it was trade, which caused Cairo's early wealth, even from the time of the Babylon fort, which was often a settlement of traders.


Lots of colorful brass

This market is situated at one corner of a triangle of markets that go south to Bab Zuwayla and west to Azbakiyyah. The Muski Market borders the Khan on the south by al-Azhar Street and on the west. One of the old original gates guards the entrance to the original courtyard, which lies midway down Sikkit al-Badistan (street). On a narrow street leading off al-Badistand, one will find the El-Fishawi Cafe, or Cafe of Mirrors, which was once a meeting place for local artists, and is still frequented by the Nobel Award winning Naguib Mahfouz, one of Egypt's most well known authors. There are many canvas-covered streets such as the one pictured to the right.

Egyptian buyers generally shop in the area north of al-Badistan and to the west, where prices may be lower. Better deals for gold and silver are to be found west of the Khan along the "street of the gold-sellers", and further on one will find the Brass and Coppersmith Markets.

 

5:00 PM: Half Day Tour to Old Cairo and Mohamed Ali Mosque returns

 

OSSN Special Evening in Cairo

 

7:30 PM: OSSN Members depart for Special Dinner and Evening Show

at the Andrea Restaurant  in Cairo hosted by OSSN and Andrea Restaurant

 

10:30 PM: Return to Le Meridien Pyramids

 

 

September 28: OSSN INT'L. Conference & Trade Show

This morning you'll enjoy a leisurely breakfast as you prepare for the OSSN International Conference educational seminars and trade show today. The OSSN International conference is focused on helping the OSSN member to promote all of Egypt. Seminars by several Egyptian tour operators including a special welcome address by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism will allow you to understand the true hospitality of this exotic destination! Experts in other fields including "Egyptology" will offer special ideas and programs of interest to help you, the travel professional, to promote this intriguing destination to groups and individual travel clients. Seminars focusing on technology to build your travel sales business will also be highlighted. The Conference agenda will also include a specialty Egyptian luncheon and supplier "marketplace and trade show.

 

Egypt's Most Distinguished Archeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass to be OSSN Keynote in Cairo


Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director General of the Antiquities of Giza Pyramids and Saqqara, Egypt has welcomed the invitation to give a lecture during the OSSN International Conference in Cairo from September 18-29, 2002. Responsible for many major discoveries in Egypt including the discovery of the tombs of the pyramid builders, a new pyramid near the Great Pyramid of Cheops, a large settlement at Giza and the Tomb of son of King Teti at Saqqara, Dr Hawass has participated in many documentary films and lectured to many distinguished audiences in the US, Europe and in Egypt. He is also the author of several publications on the Great Pyramids, Kingship in Egypt and "Silent Images, Women in Pharaonic Egypt."

 

 

September 28, 2002: OSSN Conference Agenda

 

 9:00 - 9:20 AM:  Opening Remarks:  Gary M. Fee, OSSN President

 

9:20 -9:40: -  Selling Le Meridien in Egypt: Ayman Nour El Din, Dir.of Sales

 

9:40-10:45:  Selling Egypt with Wings Tours “ Every Group is Special!”

                    Ahmed El Wassief, President Wings Tours 

 

10:45-11:30:  Working with Egyptian Tourist Authority to Promote Egypt”

                      Adel  Abdel Aziz, Chairman ETA

 

11:30-12:30 PM: The Intrigue of Egyptology Today and Throughout the Ages”
Special Keynote Speaker: Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director General of the Antiquities of Giza Pyramids and Saqqara

 

12:30-1:45 OSSN Conference Luncheon:


OSSN Members Receive Egypt Specialist Certificates during Luncheon

 

Each OSSN Conference Participant will receive a special certificate from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism that will designate you as an Egypt Specialist for your participation in the OSSN International Conference 2002.

 

2:30- 6:30 PM: This afternoon OSSN Members may take a special Wings motor-coach  into Cairo to Zhan Al-Khalili Bazaar! (This unique and famous bazaar is similar to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul but even more fabulous!  OSSN is giving you one last chance to take home the treasures of a lifetime!)

 

 

7:30- 10:00 PM

Special OSSN Farewell Dinner

Hosted by Egyptian Tourist Authority

This evening is a special farewell celebration for conference attendees.

"Night for the Pharaohs"
Grand Finale Farewell Dinner

OSSN members will also be treated to special Egyptian Folkloric entertainment to add to the festivities of this special evening.
OSSN Members may choose to "dress the part" and add to the Ancient Egyptian flavor of the evening!

 

September 29, 2002: OSSN Departs for the US as "Egypt Specialists"

This morning you will be transferred to the Cairo International Airport for your return flight to the US, taking with you lifetime memories of the "Land of the Pharaohs!"

 

05:15-5:45  AM: Early Buffet breakfast at your Hotel.

06:00 AM: You will be escorted by Wings Group Team to Cairo International airport to wish you a safe flight home.

09:00 AM: Depart on MS 985 nonstop flight to NY

3:30 PM:  Arrive at JFK Airport 

 

29 SEP 02 - SUNDAY

  EGYPTAIR      985 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-BOEING 777 JET

  DEPART TERMINAL- 1

  LV: CAIRO EGYPT        900A     NONSTOP       MILES- 5614   CONFIRMED

  AR: NYC/KENNEDY        330P     ELAPSED TIME-12:30

  ARRIVAL TERMINAL-4

 

29 SEP 02 - SUNDAY

  UNITED         25 COACH CLASS   EQUIP-AIRBUS A320 JET

  DEPART TERMINAL- 7

  LV: NYC/KENNEDY        550P     NONSTOP       MILES- 2421   CONFIRMED

  AR: SEATTLE            847P     ELAPSED TIME- 5:57

  DINNER-MOVIE-MEAL               SEAT-20A20C

 

 

Essentials to pack

 

Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide not only a head covering but also a certain amount of shade will come in very handy in the hot Egyptian sun. In addition, women will be more acceptable when touring old churches and mosques if they are wearing some sort of head covering. In addition, scarves or other apparel should be taken along to cover shoulders and arms, and again, or not only important for visiting religious sites, but also to keep the sun off during treks. In very hot weather, a cloth hat or scarf that can be soaked will also help keep your head cool.

 

"Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached, which is available in such stores as Wal-Mart in the US. This item literally will keep you from hitting the deck in the 104F heat on the West Bank in Luxor. If you can find something like this among the beach toys this summer, pick it up.

 

Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Egypt, you might prefer to bring your own favorite brand, but do bring it. Avoid painful sunburns after a few days worth of sightseeing.

 

Sunglasses: Another item that may be purchased in Egypt are sunglasses, but again, many people will prefer to bring their own. There will be many times that tourists find themselves in a blaring, sand and desert landscape and there is nothing better than a good pair of sunglasses, with the highest UV rating you can find.

 

Canteen or water holder: Staying hydrated will mean the difference between a comfortable tour and one that might end with trouble. Most people quickly learn to carry a water bottle with them, and bottled water is easily accessible. However, lugging around a water bottle in your hand can be tiresome. It is much better to bring along either a canteen, or some other utensil that will allow you to carry the water bottle on your waist or around your shoulder. Fanny packs or backpacks with holders for water bottles, and for women, even a shoulder bag type of purse will make this more convenient.

 

Very good, comfortable walking shoes: This is probably one of the first things most people will tell you to bring to Egypt. Most tourists will be doing a considerable amount of walking, and shoes should not be just comfortable, but comfortable to walk long distances. Unlike leather shoes for mountain walks and such, it is also preferable for walking shoes to be breathable and perhaps made of a lightweight nylon or similar fabric. "Tennis shoes" or other sporting type of shoes are good for this. Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of steps in Egypt.

 

Camera: Most people are not going to forget to bring their cameras on an Egyptian tour. However, a couple of things should be pointed out. First, while you may take pictures as you like from the outside of most monuments, many require that you do not use a flash when taking pictures inside. If you intend to take pictures inside tombs, for example, you will need to bring high-speed film. Most people use ASA 800 film, which they push to 1600. For the most part, this requires a good 35 mm SLR camera. In addition, monuments in Egypt are truly monumental, and tourists will often be disappointed with regular lenses. If possible, a good wide-angle lens will be nice to bring along. A video camera will also provide you with nice souvenir footage of your trip, however, keep in mind that filming inside many of the museums, tombs and monuments is prohibited.

 

Power Adapters: Power Adapters come in two different varieties. Some electronic equipment have switches to allow you to change the power input type. For these, a simple wall adapter is all that is required. However, other electronic devices do not have such switches and in this case, you not only need a wall adapter, but also a power converter. Egypt uses 220 volt and plugs are two prong rounded.

 


Medication: Of course, bring your prescription medicine. It will usually be available in Egyptian drug stores, but it may be called a different name. There is no problem with bringing prescription medication into Egypt. However, it is also more convenient to bring your favorite non-prescription medications along. Though you may find such medication in Egypt, such as heart burn medication and pain capsules, you may have problems finding your favorite brands. In addition, many tourists who are a part of an organized tour will be staying in large hotels, which may lack a complete inventory of such medication, and trekking out to find a variety of over the counter medications may be inconvenient. Don’t forget your Imodium. While no one wants to get Tut’s Trot or Mummy’s Tummy, it may be handy to have some Imodium or other anti-diarrheic with you. The most common bottled water brand, Baraka, contains a little magnesium and therefore may act as a mild laxative. Another brand to try is Siwa bottled water.

 

 

 

 

Travel Alarm: Sure, most hotels will give you a wakeup call, but for many, don't count on it. A travel alarm is perhaps less important on an organized tour, as you will have people taking care of you. But particularly for the independent traveler, a travel alarm will come in very handy. It will help make sure that you wake up when you wish in Egypt. But I have often used mine to make sure that I could grab some sleep in airports along the way, and still catch my flight.

 

Guide Books: Do invest in an Egyptian Guide book, such as the "Lonely Planet" or "Rough Guide" or any number of other good guides. While you may be on a guided tour, such a book will give you time to orient yourself both before and after the actual tours to various locations. In addition, foreign printed guidebooks may be somewhat more expensive in Egypt, even though they are available. You may also wish to look around once in Egypt for other guidebooks.

 

An Extra Bag: A bag, preferably soft, which can be crunched up and carried into Egypt in another bag will be handy for most people. The bag will then be used to carry back souvenirs. Alternatively, many business people or guests of Egyptians often bring presents into Egypt, and once emptied, the bag is used to bring souvenirs back. Again, bags may be easily purchased in Egypt, but are likely to be less expensive if you buy it at home and bring it to Egypt.

 

Sewing Kits: Some of the larger hotels, as well as some of the better-equipped smaller hotels (the Longchamps) may supply a sewing kit in your room. But don't count on this. Most Egyptian tours are relatively long, and it is not unusual to loose a button here or there climbing through tombs and pyramids.

 

Alcoholic Beverages: There are good suitable beers and wines in Egypt that are highly affordable, and it is not necessary to bring in such items unless you have a very acute taste for a particular brand. In fact, I consider Egyptian beer excellent, and wish that I could buy it in the states. However, harder alcoholic beverages such as whiskies and bourbons are maybe extremely difficult to find, and extremely expensive when you do. You may bring in up to two litters of liquor, and you may buy additional liquor at a reasonable price at the tax-free shop prior to leaving the airport. To give you an indication of why you should do this, it is not uncommon to pay as much or more than $13.00 for a single shot of Jack Daniels, a well-known US bourbon.

 

Finally, bring along a humor and a good attitude. For many, and even those who have done extensive traveling in the US or Europe, Egypt will be very different. You will often find attitudes more "laid back", time less important and even some of the Egyptians selling their wares or their services at tourism sites annoying. Egypt is a place where you learn to let the smaller problems you might encounter roll off your shoulders, and simply enjoy this, the oldest of all civilizations

 

 


WinWinVacations.com

All Photo Albums           Africa Photo Albums

WinWin Vacations, Your Travel Solution, Seattle, WA
phone (206) 297-7179,
WinWinVacations@comcast.net

Web site designed by Tom Trowbridge
Copyright © 2000-2013 Win Win Solutions. All rights reserved
Email webmaster Tom@winwins.com


KristinaSafari.com