Port Said, Egypt
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2 days/1 night
Day 1 (L, D)
Drive from the port of Port Said to the outskirts of Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, you will visit the fabulous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. The museum exhibits more than 120,000 objects in its 107 halls, comprising the world’s greatest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts. One room is reserved for the golden treasures from the legendary tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamon. These treasures have a tendency to astound and delight visitors, and attract more than two million people each year. You will also visit the Royal Mummies Room, where you will view mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens unwrapped to show their heads, including Ramses II, the longest ruling pharaoh. After your visit to the museum, you will head to the River Nile and board an authentic felucca sailing boat. Enjoy lunch on the felucca as you sail down the Nile (weather permitting). After lunch, you will head to a luxury hotel for check in, with time to freshen up before the evening’s activities. Later, you will head out to the Old Cairo area and make your way to Moez Street. A unique cultural walking tour takes you from one end of the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar to the other—a remnant of a time when the area was the heart of the old walled city of Cairo. The ancient thoroughfare will lead you along some of the most traditional parts of the bazaar, where life has barely changed in centuries. It runs from the massive fortified Fotouh Gate to the beautifully designed Zuweila Gate. This stretch contains more heritage buildings per foot than any other street in the world. In this part of the bazaar, Egyptians themselves go to bargain for everyday items and you will be enthralled by the guide’s explanations of passing licorice-tea-sellers, spice markets with obscure roots and magical powders, black-swathed women, and brightly-painted donkey-carts overflowing with watermelons and mangos. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant among this authentic ambience.
Day 2 (B, L)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and drive to Memphis. The legendary city of Memphis was founded in 3100 BC by Menes, the Pharaoh who united Upper and Lower Egypt. It became the capital of the Old Kingdom, a center for religion with a huge temple to the god Ptah, and the heart of Egypt’s busy import-export activity. Then, you will visit Sakkara—the necropolis (cemetery) for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and the place where the very first pyramids were built as tombs for kings. These don’t have the typical smooth sides, but have six steps on the outside representing the pharaoh’s stepladder to heaven. Here you’ll see the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser—the first pyramid ever built and the world’s oldest freestanding stone structure. You will also admire the beautiful tomb art at Sakkara, which gives great insight into the lives of the ancient Egyptians. Leaving Sakkara, you will drive to a local souvenir shop. After this brief shopping stop, you will enjoy an unforgettable tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza, built for the Pharaohs Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus. They were constructed around 2500 BC with blocks of limestone from the plateau and from the Turah hills on the outskirts of Cairo. The Great Pyramid of Cheops alone—the only present-day survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—required more than 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing about 2½ tons. At its base, it covers 13 acres of land. Millions of visitors come each year to ponder the fascinating mystery of their existence and to explore the ancient burial chambers within. Finally, you will visit the Sphinx and the Valley Temple, which houses this mysterious creature that is half lion and half man. The Sphinx is located in what was once a quarry to the east of Chephren’s pyramid. One theory suggests this Pharaoh’s workers shaped the body into a lion and gave it their king’s face as a guardian of the necropolis. Almost a thousand years after its construction, King Thutmose IV placed a stele between the front paws. It describes how the Sphinx had spoken to him in a dream, promising him kingship if he cleared away the desert sand that was choking the Sphinx. Explore this and the many other legends surrounding this timeless regal figure. Your visit will conclude with a visit to the Solar Boat Museum. View the beautiful cedar boat that is believed to have taken Pharaoh Khufu’s mummy on the Nile, from Memphis to its final resting place in the largest pyramid at Giza. After your visit, head to a leading hotel in Giza, where lunch will be served. Relax for the drive back to the ship at Alexandria (approximately 3½ hours).
Those who wish to enter one of the pyramids can do so upon request (cost included); however, this is not recommended for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia, limited mobility, a heart condition or circulatory and breathing problems. It is very hot and stuffy inside the pyramid and you must be able to bend over and crouch down at times while you are inside. Important: It is each guest’s sole responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations or tourist cards that are required for participating in overland adventures or overnight tours, unless noted otherwise in the description.