Imagine gazing at the pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, floating on a boat down the Nile River, soaring in the sky in a colourful hot air balloon while looking down over ancient temples, hiking through the steep rock walls at ancient Petra or floating effortlessly on the Dead Sea. These are just some of the incredible memories a group of adventurous travellers from Williams Lake had the opportunity of experiencing during a trip to Egypt and Jordan.
After clearing customs and getting our Egyptian visas we boarded a bus to Giza and our wild adventure began. Here the lines on the roads seem to be just “suggestions” and a three-lane highway became a six-lane free for all.
Our first day was packed with adventures as our wonderful Egyptologist, Samai, shared stories about the history and life of this complicated country. The pyramids are enormous and stand as majestically as they did thousands of years ago. We were able to go inside some of them to see and even touch the hieroglyphics carved on the walls. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only Wonder of the Ancient World to have survived until modern times and was built as a tomb for King Khufu.
The Great Sphinx is the largest monolith statue in the world and was carved out of the bedrock around 2558 BC, it stands in front of the pyramids to protect them. It felt as though we were brought back in time as we rode our camels in front of these ancient wonders.
We flew to Luxor to begin our four-night cruise up the Nile River then headed straight for Karnak Temple. Over 30 pharaohs built on this site over 500 years making it the largest and most diverse of all the temples in Egypt. Beautifully carved columns with the original paint still visible, intricately carved obelisks, and many buildings are still adorned with colourful paintings.
The next morning we watched the sunrise from a hot air balloon. It was so quiet and peaceful as we soared higher into the sky looking down over temples, farms, and the Nile. What a fabulous experience to share with friends.
Then it was onto the Valley of the Kings to see the tombs of pharaohs where we walked through the highly decorated and colourful hallways to the burial chambers. We explored the tomb of Tutankhamen (King Tut) one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world and a World Heritage site.
We flew back to Cairo for a few nights and went to an authentic Egyptian restaurant where we tried many Egyptian foods including a Molokheya, a green slimy soup that was supposed to be super healthy, but not very tasty.
The next morning was spent at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo which is full of the most important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. There are many sarcophagus, mummies, face masks, and jewellery, as well as beautiful statues and pieces of art.
Then we flew to Jordan where life is peaceful and quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Egypt. We drove south toward Petra and arrived at our beautiful hotel where we relaxed by the pool and enjoyed this beautiful resort. This evening we went to have dinner at a local family’s home. The mother, grandmother and aunt cooked in the kitchen while the children greeted us and talked to us about their lives. We had an amazing experience as we filled up on authentic Jordanian dishes.
We left Petra and drove to Madaba to tour the City of Mosaics and St. Georges Church then onto Mount Nebo where Moses saw the promised land and was buried.
Our final day was a very full day as we started with a tour of Amman including the citadel and Roman ruins. Then it was off to the Dead Sea, the lowest elevation on earth, where we floated in the healing salty waters. This was so much fun to feel the buoyancy you couldn’t sink in if you tried.
It was a fabulous trip with so many new experiences and fun times. We arrived back to Canada with a deeper appreciation for the wonderful country that we have the privilege to live in.
It’s great to share a special trip like this with friends and I can’t wait until my next journey.
Sharon Smith is a retired teacher who took students on educational tours and now takes adults on amazing tours around the world. Contact her at 250-267-3227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn where she’s going next.