June 2 and 3, 2010
We are safe and healthy in Giza at the Grand Pyramid Hotel. After an 8 hour Transatlantic flight, and then 4 more hours from Paris to Cairo, we are all sleepy, well fed, and happy to be here!! We have already witnessed an Egyptian wedding prosessional here at the hotel. We look forward to beginning the pyramid tours tomorrow and to some sleep in a bed now!!
Jet Lag at the Paris Airport
Friday, June 4
Today we began our touring in earnest. After a 5:30 wake up call (to beat some of the desert heat), we began the chronological progression of the pyramids. We began at Saqqara, the capital of the
Old Kingdom . Here we viewed a mastaba (flat topped tomb) and the step pyramid built during the
Old Kingdom . These first tombs are over 5,000 years old!! We were able to enter the burial chamber of the king’s architect and view some of the earliest pictograms and hieroglyphs.
From there we traveled 10 km to
Memphis where the famous statue of Ramses II is located. It is indeed mammoth!
We were allowed to enter the Pyramid of King Ti’s assistant. Here we stooped to walk down into the pyramid and saw the burial chamber. This is no place for the claustrophobic!
Our tour for today ended with the Collapsed Pyramid (which our guide said is really not collapsed). We were able to walk deep into the pyramid. Theory says that 3 of these were built by Sneferu in his attempts to perfect the building process.
Now we have 2 hours to relax, swim, and write before dinner. Today Mrs. Diane Mears was offered 5,000,000 camels for her daughter Katelyn. She declined because her husband Steve is allergic to camels. J
To eat or not to eat! That is the question!!!?
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Today started out with a 5:45 am wake up call. We had breakfast and left the hotel around 7:15 and headed to
Giza to continue our journey of the evolution of the pyramids. There, we saw and explored the pyramid of Cheops, the largest pyramid in the world which had, by far, the most elaborate passage system. We also saw the pyramids of Chephren and his son Mycerinus which were smaller but also grand. The sphinx was also at
Giza guarding the pyramid of Chephren. Surrounding the sphinx were three temples, two built by Chephren and one built by Amenhotep II.
After seeing the temples we all went up to a hillside at
Giza overlooking the pyramids. There we got to ride camels and discovered Mr.Welton’s quite extreme allergy to them. We then rode to Dashur where we got to see the Bent and Red Pyramids and in the distance, Joseph’s pharaoh’s pyramid. We got to go inside the Red Pyramid which smelled like ammonia and was a complicated climb. This sadly ended our exploration of the pyramids. We then drove 3 ½ hours to
City where we will be spending one night on the beach front.
We also wanted to tell our moms that we are missing fruits and vegetables. Just a reminder, tomorrow we will be spending the night on
Sinai , so we will not be able to put up a post. Internet service for the next few days is also questionable, so do not worry if you do not hear from us for a few days.
Written by Megan Wade and Katlyn Lynch
Sunday through Tuesday, June 6-8, 2010
Once upon a time in a far, far away land,
Egypt , students from Lake Worth Christian climbed
Sinai . We began, after a long day of driving, at midnight; some of us rode camels part of the way, while others walked. Around 2:30 AM, we started our accent to the top of
Sinai . The guides claimed it was only 750 steps to the top, but it seemed like millions more. It was the most treacherous climb any of us had ever experienced. It was harder because of the lack of sleep. We finally made it to the top at 4:30 AM. Although it was extremely difficult, it was a view that most people do not experience in a lifetime. The stars were so numerous that they lit up the night sky. Kristi Dvorak recited beautiful Psalm 19 for all of us at the top. Around 5:30 AM, we began decent to the bottom and made it there around 8:00 AM. It was an experience we will never forget, and our knees will never forgive us for it.
The next day we journeyed to see the land made famous by Indiana Jones,
Petra . The rock formations were magnificent. There are buildings carved out of the canyon side. After seeing the Grand Treasury, we explored the ancient city of
Petra . We were able to view many cave dwellings, and we hiked up to the Ad-Deir Monastary. After
Sinai , this was a breeze, but we are sure our bodies won’t be thinking the same thing tomorrow. After a delightful day, we got one of our first breaks and relaxed at the hotel.
Sydney Helena Dickinson and Katelyn Marie Mears
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Today we started out with a 6:00 wake up call and a 6:30 “early bird” breakfast. Then we took a three hour long bus ride through the once Edomite land inhabited by the Bedouin people. It was a very dry and rocky countryside with the few patches of green quickly being engulfed by the ever growing desert. We learned how the Jordanian government has been very kind to the Bedouin people by giving them many free things, like water (a much valued commodity in the desert), no taxes, and free education.
By the end of our bus ride we had made it to
Nebo . This mountain is where Moses viewed the Promised Land. The view is truly breathtaking staring over the vast expanses of desert with the many oasis. We saw many mosaics from the Moses Memorial Basilica that were beautifully handcrafted. We then visited the small museum on top of the mountain that showed a few artifacts that were found in the surrounding churches and country side.
After that amazing view we headed to the Jordan River that cuts
Jordan by barely thirty meters. This is the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and where the Israelites finished their forty plus years of journey into the Promised Land. We were allowed to wade into the water and we saw a few people rededicating their faith by immersing themselves into the water. We were very fortunate to see the river itself because few groups are allowed to see this Christian site.
We then took a short break to have lunch at a resort and to swim in the
Dead Sea . The water is lethal if too much is consumed because one third is pure salt. You could float in the water and read a book without ever worrying about the book getting wet. However, if you had any cuts or scrapes you would soon find them and find out that salt is very painful in cuts.
Then finally we ventured onward to
Gomorrah . There was not much to see there because the cities themselves were fenced off for excavation and archeology. We really ventured out today to acquire a feel for the surrounding Biblical country side.
To finish off the day some of the group went to a
Petra light show, however most of us enjoyed two relaxing hours of pool time and dinner time.
Written by Mitchell Shropshire
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Today was a traveling day. We took the bus from
Petra back to the ferry crossing at Aqaba. One of our stops on the way was the site where Moses struck the rock and God provided water. There is a big rock with water still flowing from the base of it!
Customs was chaotic, but we made it through with all of our people and multitude of luggage. Then we boarded another bus on the Egyptian side and backtracked through the rugged
Sinai Peninsula to Sharm el Sheikh. We are now relaxing in a gorgeous resort hotel along the
Red Sea . Our leg muscles are recovering, and we are looking forward to a day of viewing God’s beautiful underwater world tomorrow.
All are well. We miss you!!
We could see Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabi from the deck of the high speed ferry from Jordan to Egypt's Sinai!
Friday, June 11, 2010
Today we went snorkeling (five people went diving) at the
National Park on the
Red Sea . We had three stops, two were for snorkeling and the third was a “magical lake”. They called it this because according to the legend any woman who goes into the lake will become pregnant. We risked it anyway and went in for a swim. However before we went in the water our guide showed us a big crack in the ground that had formed from an earthquake many years ago.
The two snorkeling sites were really good! We made a quick stop to rent snorkeling gear, and then we were off. There were so many colorful fish by the reefs that we got to enjoy. We also found a drop off where some people free dove but couldn’t go too deep because of the pressure. Just looking at the drop off was cool because you could see how deep it went. The bright colors of the fish and coral were amazing. Some people had underwater cameras so it will be exciting to see what pictures will come out.
Our guide Peter was really good. He let us skip the sites to take pictures so we could be in the water longer and played fun music on the way back to the hotel.
Once we got back to the hotel the divers were still gone so we all had some much needed time to relax, get something to eat, and catch up on our journals.
The divers said they also had a really good time with 150 feet visibility.
Written by Mackenzie Morrell
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Saturday we woke up bright and early at 3:45 to catch a much anticipated plane ride to
Luxor at 6AM. At the airport we went through security quickly and jumped on our flight to
Luxor from Sharm el Sheikh. The flight was a quick 35 minutes and once we landed in
Luxor we headed toward the
Valley of the Kings . We got to the
Valley of the Kings at 8 and we headed to the tomb of Thutmoses III. In the tomb itself the paint on the graphics has faded, but it was cool any way because we could still see the history of the tomb. The tunnel we took to get to the sarcophagus was very hot, but it was well worth it because we got to see the granite sarcophagus. After that we went to the tomb of a minor pharaoh which was unfinished but it still had the sarcophagus made of granite. Next we headed to the tomb of Ramses III which was very well preserved and the pictures were still in color. However, we were not able to visit the burial chamber because it had flooded in the past and was under construction. Then we went to King Tut’s tomb. The tomb was very well preserved with graphics still in color. In the burial chamber was the actual mummy of King Tut, which was fitted with a temperature regulator. Also in the burial chamber was the sarcophagus and in it was the golden coffin which once held the body of King Tut. The golden coffin weighed 12 tons and it was almost 24k gold.
After King Tut’s tomb we headed over to the
Hatshepsut ’s. She was the first and only woman pharaoh in Egyptian history; however, we couldn’t see the actual tomb. Instead, we just went to the mortuary temple. The temple was well done, with its many hyrographics and glyphic, but it was nearly 120 degrees out, so most people were not able to enjoy it to the fullest.
After Queen Hatshepsut’s temple we headed over to check out the 87 tombs in the Valley of the
Queens . The first tomb we checked out outdid the King’s tomb by far. They were very well preserved with nearly no internal damage. Also, inside the first tomb was a fetus of a young prince belonging to the queen of that tomb. The next tomb we headed to was in worse shape than the first one.
Next we headed over to the Ramseum which was the museum of the great Pharaoh Ramses II. Ramses II was the greatest builder out of the many Pharaohs of the Old, New, and Middle Kingdom. In the Ramseum had many pillars, which towered over 100 ft into the sky. Also, in the Ramseum was the tallest statue of Ramses in recorded history. However, it was toppled over due to an earthquake in 27 B.C.
After the Ramseum we headed over to the hotel to eat dinner and have a shower. Once done with those we headed over to
Karnak for the sound and light show. Even though it was nearly pitch black outside everyone could still notice the colossuses of the area. The pillars and statues rose well over 150 ft and at the end of the walkthrough that we took there was an explanation of the history of the Rameum at the sacred lake that was in the magnificent complex known as Karnak.
Written by Adam Kutikoff
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Today is Sunday and first we visit the
Karnak complex. It was the home of two great obelisks. The obelisks were covered in gold at the top. Queen Hatshepsut made the obelisks in 7 months which, compared to the usual time it takes to make the obelisks, is really short. There were also row after row of imposing columns. They were different sizes -- 24 meters for the center ones and 14 meters for the sides. The hieroglyphics were carved in the columns and walls.
Karnak's 80' Tall Pillars
Then we went to the
Luxor . There used to be four statues of King Ramses outside the temple. It was turned into a Catholic church. The Christians covered the hieroglyphics and painted on them. There was also one hieroglyph that showed Alexander the Great depicted as an Egyptian. There was also Greek (Philistines) depicted on the wall near the entrance of the temple and there is a cross carved into one of the columns from the time it was a Catholic church.
After that, we visited the unfinished obelisk. There was a giant crack in the granite and that’s why it couldn’t be finished. They mined the obelisks in
Aswan and moved them to
Luxor by boat when the
Nile was flooded.
Next was the
Philae temple. We had to get there by boat because it was located on an island on the
River . The boat ride was pretty amazing and relaxing. The heat was unbearable. You would start sweating in a matter of seconds. The shade was our best friend, but even in the shade you would still sweat. Eventually, we ended the day by driving to our hotel, the Isis Corniche. The rooms and food were decent. We had another fun time talking to each other while eating dinner. As usual, after dinner we had our devotions. This time it was out on the balcony overlooking the beautiful and historic
River . But what I didn’t expect was a thick cloud of smoke heading our way. This smoke is used to get rid of the flies that annoy us so much during the day. It smelled absolutely disgusting.
Devotions that night really got us thinking. Mr. Welton’s devotion was about the legacy that you leave behind. He talked about how Ramses the Great left behind a legacy about how he won a great battle against the Turks when he really lost and also how his name is on 60% of the monuments in
Egypt . He then talked about God and how the stars show his glory. Then he talked about our legacy and what we will leave behind. He left it at that so we could think about it. Then we went to our rooms to get some much needed sleep since we had to wake up extremely early the next morning trip to the famed Temple of Abu Simbel.
Written by Sage Addie and Rochelle Murray
Monday, June 14, 2010
Today was an extremely early day for all of us. The wakeup call was at 2:30 this morning and we had to be in the lobby by 3:15!! Today we were heading far south in
Egypt to visit the great temple at
Abu Simbel . We had to catch a caravan of busses that leaves
Luxor at 4 a.m. because the Egyptian government doesn’t just let anybody drive down to
Abu Simbel . Although we woke up extremely early this morning, we had about 3 hours to sleep on the bus. Mostly everyone slept on the bus ride and it seemed that we got to
Abu Simbel pretty quickly. By the time we got there the sun was already out and it was starting to get pretty hot. The temple there was built by Ramses II to ward off any Nubians that even thought about invading
Egypt . The temple showed the greatness and power of the Egyptians at the time and would probably terrify any Nubian that came in sight of it. The temple had to be cut into pieces and reassembled after the Egyptians built the Aswan High Dam that would flood the area where the temple was built near. The four carved statues outside of the temple were huge and make you wonder how a group of people could do such an amazing feat without modern tools. We spent 2 hours at Abu Simbel and then got back on the bus to drive back to
Aswan to visit a few more sites.
We took another 4 hour ride back to
Aswan and stopped to see the Aswan High Dam. The dam was pretty amazing and huge. Ahmed, our guide, said that the amount of material to build the Aswan High Dam would be enough to build 17 Great Pyramids. The dam has ended the Nile flooding, which was good for the silt that enriched the land, but has brought plenty of water and electricity to
After leaving the dam we took a traditional Nile sailboat up the
Nile to a Nubian restaurant. The food was pretty good and tasted even better after being hungry from the long bus rides.
After eating lunch we took a boat again to
Island to see a few temples made by Thutmoses III. The temples were pretty impressive and were built near a very good view of the
River and all of the boats that were sailing along at the time. The heat of the day was wearing us all down so we decided to get back on the bus and head to the market for about 15 minutes to buy anything we wanted or needed.
After stopping at the market we drove to the train station where we had to board our
sleeper train that will arrive in
Cairo at about 6 AM.. The rooms are pretty tight quarters but I think we’ll be able to enjoy some rest on our 12 hour train ride to
Cairo . We’re hoping to have a good last day in
Cairo tomorrow before our trip back home.
Written By Josh Breuwet
Sore Feet, Tired Bodies, and Great Memories of
Following in the Steps of Moses.