We cannot say enough about our decision to travel to Israel with Lon Solomon’s tours. It was more than we could have ever expected. It was an 11 day tour all through the Holy Land and a trip that certainly changed our lives. The group tour ended a couple of days ago, however since we were so close to Cairo we decided to remain here in Eilat, Israel so that we could journey into Egypt to see the Great Pyramids.
What an adventure it was to get this photo! We started our adventure at the Israel and Egypt border at 9:00 PM on Thursday. Google maps shows the distance from Eilat to Cairo as 262 miles so it didn’t sound like such a long trip. The problem is that Google maps did not take in account the amount of time we would spend crossing the border. Nor did it take into account the number of guarded checkpoints we would encounter along the way. I wish we could have taken pictures but that was strictly prohibited.
We were escorted by armed security guards who traveled behind our mini van all the way through Sinai. We learned that this area is heavily guarded by the Egyptian Army because that area of Egypt does not require the same passport clearance as when you go beyond the Sinai area. Any nationality can come to the Sinai. It’s a different story if you plan to go beyond the Sinai which actually is part of the Asia Continent. There had to of been at least 20 to 25 heavily guarded checkpoints that we went through. At each checkpoint they not only had the guards but they also had military armored personnel carriers which by they way had an army man seated in it ready to respond if need be. We would pull out our passports each time at these check points to show that we were tourists and the vehicle traveling with us would be replaced by new guards. Let me mention that we did not feel ourselves in any unsafe situation at all so don’t be concerned for us.
Our group consisted of 4 Americans and 5 South American tourists. The four Americans were me, William, Chris who was here on a business trip, and Mark who had been here for 2 and a half years working with the US military. The South Americans were traveling on after the day in Cairo down the Nile River. At first we thought where would all their luggage go in this small van but the tour driver simply strapped it all on top of the van. We would only stop once going thru this area of Egypt for a quick rest stop which is where I was able to snap these photos of our Fun Times travel van.
When we arrived at the Suez Canal which divides Egypt into the Asia and Africa Continents we saw all these trucks lined up for several miles. Our guide told us that the trucks could not cross through the tunnel during the night. The guy you see in the passenger seat is Mina our guide during this first part of our trip
The rest of our trip on to Cairo would go much quicker as there were no more checkpoints and the roads were in much better shape. We arrived about 12 hours from when we first entered Egypt to find that we had selected the best day of the week to visit as Friday is a Moslem holiday and there was practically no traffic.
Our plan was to sleep during the night and be refreshed and ready to start our adventure in Cairo. We were certainly ready to start our adventure but not so much rested. Our first stop was at the National Museum of Egypt.
Mina did not speak Spanish so we got a new guide who not only spoke English and Spanish but also spoke French, Italian, and Arabic. Achmed is specially educated as an Egyptoligist so how lucky could we be to have a guide with such a wealth of knowledge.
With over 120,000 pieces in the Museum Achmed showed us some of the more important pieces. This piece is one of the most famous pieces because of the hardness of the stone used. Today it would take a diamond or a laser to even make small cut into the stone. They simply do not know how it was done.
Here are a few photos of some of our favorites.
Here is an example of Papyrus art
And here are some of the King Tut collection. The tomb of King Tut was the only tomb found which was completely intact. All other tombs had been robbed so not many artifacts were found in them. King Tut began his rule at 9 years of age and died at age 19 ruling for only 10 years. He was buried in 5 sarcophagus each plated with solid gold and one inside the other.
Here is the protector of his mummified body.
And many of the bottles that held the oils to protect him in the after life were on display.
I particularly liked his sandals.
We were not allowed to photograph King Tut’s burial mask nor any of his jewels and armor. All I can say is it was extremely impressive.
Here are a few more of our favorites before moving on to our next stop on the tour.
Take a look first at King Tut’s travel bed (notice the hinges for folding the bed)
And his normal bed – of course all in gold.
There was so much more but we must move on. Our next stop was the Egypt Papyrus Institute where they made authentic papyrus paintings using the same methods that would have been used several thousand years ago. Before shopping we were given a brief demonstration on how the paper was made. Be sure to also notice the painting behind our host. It is called Final Judgment Day where a man’s heart must be lighter than a feather to enter into the afterlife. It was our favorite so we purchased one to hang on our travel wall at home.
Here is our new friend Chris from St. Louis photo bombing our pic.
But wait, I haven’t shown you the replicas in the Bazaar. Our group spent some time here shopping.
On our way to lunch we got our first peak at the pyramids. Who knew they were so visible from the streets in Cairo?
We also passed the Nile River on the way to lunch.
And we have to include this photo of the bridge crossing over the Nile.
At lunch William had to try the Turkish Coffee.
And I had to have some of the Egyptian sweets.
As we left the restaurant we were shocked once again to see just how close the pyramids actually are from the city.
Finally we were headed to see the Pyramids. After about a ten minute ride we arrived. This first shot is of the entrance gates with the great pyramid sitting just above them.
And for my daughters here is the “Mom” pose on the Pyramid itself.
And also for our family here is William in the “Walk like an Egyptian” pose.
Here is the entrance to the Pyramid.
And although our guide told us going inside was not really recommended how could we not go inside? It was an extremely narrow passage and steep climb to get to the inside chamber where we saw absolutely nothing. They believe this room was where the Pharaoh would have been buried.
Since this is a photographic journal of our travels I suppose it is okay to post all these pictures for this one day’s adventure. I do hope you enjoy them as much as William and I have. Here are lots more for you to see.
Besides the Great Pyramid there is the second one you see beside it. This would have been for the Pharaoh’s son. The next one was for his grand son which is pictured below.
And there were three smaller pyramids for their wives.
And no trip to the Pyramids would be complete without a camel ride around them.
This is our friend Chris who rode the camels with is.
Next up was to see the great Sphinx.
After this we would pile back inside the Van for the 10 hour long ride back to Israel. We returned completely worn out but with memories that will last a life time.