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Days 1-2: Cairo, Egypt
Fly overnight to Cairo to begin an extraordinary exploration of Egypt’s past.
Days 3: Cairo
Explore Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which houses the greatest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world; the sheer number of items is amazing. See the funeral mask of Tutankhamun (“King Tut”) — constructed from more than 200 pounds of gems and solid gold, and one of the most famous images of a person ever made — and the Mummy Room, where more than two dozen Egyptian pharaohs lie in state; in some cases, their hair and fingernails remain intact. This evening, attend a welcome dinner, getting to know the other families who share your adventure.
Day 4: Cairo
Journey just outside Cairo to see the pyramids of the Giza Plateau, which have been luring visitors of all ages for more than 4,000 years. Appreciate them from the outside; then, see the interior of a pyramid as well. The short, narrow corridors are a perfect fit for young explorers. Moreover, the experience of being within an ancient monument is one your family will never forget. Just east is the Great Sphinx, the guardian of the pharaoh’s funerary monument. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum to view Cheops’ 141-foot long funeral boat. Pause for a picture atop a camel within view of the pyramids, and pay a visit to a craft workshop to participate in pottery, engraving or woodworking projects after lunch.
Day 5: Cairo/Abu Simbel/Aswan
Fly to Abu Simbel, and explore the two temples built by Egypt’s longest-ruling pharaoh, Ramses II. Abu Simbel is one of the grandest sites ever built by the Egyptians, its towering statues carved from solid rock. Continue by charter flight to Aswan, where you board the luxurious Nile cruiser where you spend the next three nights. This afternoon, visit the granite quarries and the 1,250-ton Unfinished Obelisk — an outstanding example of ancient Egyptians’ stone-masonry skills.
Day 6: Aswan/Kom Ombo/Edfu/Esna/Luxor
Take a short motorized boat ride to the picturesque Temple of Philae on the island of Agilika, and sail to Kom Ombo, an unusual temple dedicated to not one, but two, gods: the sun god, Haroeris, and the crocodile god, Sobek. Continue cruising to Edfu and the Temple of Horus (the falcon god), the best-preserved temple in Egypt. Tonight, attend an Egyptian-themed costume party on board; You may dress in traditional galabeyyas (desert robes), sample a lavish buffet of local cuisine, listen to music and dance.
Day 7: Luxor
Cross the Nile to the West Bank’s imposing Valley of the Kings, a vast city of the dead. Discover the magnificent tombs and the hieroglyphs and paintings that cover their walls — they are as vivid as if they were painted yesterday. Explore the tomb of Tutankhamun, and look upon the ancient pharaoh himself. See the Valley of the Queens and the famed Colossi of Memnon, which — according to legend — used to make a strange “singing” noise at dawn. Continue to the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, the most accomplished of Egypt’s few female pharaohs. After a donkey ride along the Nile shore, see the graceful Temple of Luxor and avenue of sphinxes, which leads to the spectacular Temple of Karnak. Upon arrival, marvel at the expansive, sandstone column-filled Great Hypostyle Hall. Later, join fellow travellers for a farewell dinner.
Day 8: Luxor/Cairo
Fly back to Cairo, and explore the Citadel of Salah el-Din, an inspiring 12th-century medieval fortress. Stroll the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, a bustling open-air market that draws both locals and visitors alike. After a traditional Egyptian lunch, set out on a challenging scavenger hunt through the winding streets of the bazaar. With money envelope and list of clues in hand, prepare to bargain with waiting vendors.
Day 9: Cairo
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.