I was here in Cairo a year ago, first on a family vacation, then to host a tour group which had virtually concluded its program when the revolution of January 25, 2011 broke out and as a second tour group was just arriving. We could see the vast crowds at Tahrir Square and had to take some security measures to move about Cairo. We were never at risk while seeing a number of official buildings on fire, seeing military aircraft flying low, plenty of tanks and heavily armed soldiers, checks points and such. Finally we had the opportunity to be evacuated to Athens and we safely made our ways home to America. I came back to Cairo in November on my way to Sudan and again in December on my way back. Often teaching and lecturing about Middle... Read More
Aswan is one truly gorgeous and extraordinary Nile River town. It is located at the lower end of the first cataract or rapids in the Nile and the site of the old Low Dam and the newer High Dam that store up irrigation water and generate electric power for much of Egypt. Aside from the unique Nubian culture and language, it has fascinating tombs of the nobles dating back to the first intermediate period. It is possible to take camel tours to the tombs or out to the western desert abandoned monastery of St. Simon. Sailing or motoring between the granite rocks is absorbing; it is engaging to imagine that they resemble herds of stony elephants have a drink in the cold deep waters. The still-new Nubian Museum is a must-see opportunity even... Read More
Monday, January 23: Edfu to Aswan
Sailing on the River Nile is a truly extraordinary experience, akin to sailing through a National Geographic magazine. Seamless sensational views of villages and agricultural scenes, the pace is relaxing with tea time on the top deck. Navigating the river cruise ships is remarkable act of maritime art. The boats are four decks tall, and slide gently into locks and along docksides.
At Edfu in Middle Egypt, transportation to the temple is provided by horse carriages that carry you back to the 19th century atmosphere through modern and busy traffic. Understanding Egypt requires a steady mixture of seeing construction and destruction and a yin-yang contradiction of enduring ancient traditions and unstoppable... Read More