DAY 13 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
This morning back in the US, 14 people in the group landed in Philadelphia. Catching connecting flights, it was a day of traveling home. For others who stayed in Jerusalem, it was a good day for exploring the city.
For six of us, we got up at 4 a.m. for our van ride to the airport. By 8 a.m., we boarded our plane to Amman, Jordan, and then to Cairo, Egypt. We were greeted by our agent, driver and guide (Heba). Hard to believe that we just arrived on a whole different continent (Africa!). With our agent providing an easy procedure in leaving from the airport, we boarded our Travel Plus van and began our afternoon tour.
Our first stop was Old Cairo. We visited the Ben Ezra Synagogue. It dates back to the 9th century and is the oldest Jewish place of worship in Egypt. There are an estimated 150 Jews who still live here in Cairo. Close by was the Abu Serga or “Cavern” Coptic (which means “Egypt”) Church. This church structure goes back to the 4-5th century AD or the Byzantine period. Tradition places Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus coming here in their escape from the evils of King Herod back in Judea, but again, this is only tradition.
From here we battled the absolutely crazy Cairo traffic, driving to get at least a picture of the Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. While the mosque dates only back to the 1800s, the citadel was built by the Arab invader Sala’din in 1183 AD.
Driving to our hotel (5 star + called Semiramis Intercontinental) was quite interesting, once again a challenge with Cairo traffic. But the slow-going provided a great opportunity to see “average” Egyptian life in this over-crowded and poor city of 22 million people. The view of the Nile River from our hotel rooms is amazing!
We checked into our hotel at 5 and enjoyed two hours of relaxing time before driving to our “dinner cruise” on the Nile River. We enjoyed a “night on the Nile” cruise, gaining of unique perspective of this busy city.
We returned to the hotel, ready to get up early for our flight to Luxor tomorrow. We are looking forward to our first full day here in Egypt.
DAY 14 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: FLIGHT TO LUXOR -VALLEY OF KINGS & QUEENS, THEBES &, LUXOR TEMPLES