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It’s Time to Book Your Tour of Egypt in 2013 and Explore This Amazing Land and its People
Egypt is Back in the Business of Welcoming Tourists – Why Not Pay The Pyramids a Visit This Year and Find out for Yourself Just How Welcoming the Egyptian People Can Be…
In the Egyptian Summer of 2011, the people of Egypt experienced a monumental victory that heralded the dawn of a new era in the political fabric of Egypt. Their passion and determination to make a difference has paved the way for a new Egypt where Egyptians stand together as a nation. But this has come at a cost as tourists the world over packed their bags and left the troubled streets of Cairo and Alexandria. But now in the aftermath, the streets have been cleaned and the people have gone back to their daily lives and now Egypt is once again opening its doors to welcome tourists and what a welcome it has been.
Of course when you travel to Egypt and mix with the Egyptian people you realise that they are a race of people who are indeed passionate and determined but thay also have a generosity of spirit that knows no bounds.
While much will change at the high end of town where the decisions are made, the magic that is the Egyptian people will not change. Although, now when you visit this great land you will witness feelings of jubilation among the people rather than despair and frustration. Although to the outsider looking in this may not be apparent because the enormous poverty in which the vast majority of Egyptians live has not changed. But much has to be done before the victory is complete. A new Constitution is in progress. It may need to be amended as time goes on but for now it is a blueprint that has been accepted by the people for their new democracy. New leaders and politicians will step forward and with them will come new ideas and a rebirth for this incredible country. The people have spoken and now the building of a new nation begins.
Egypt sits in the cradle of civilisation and the Giza Plateau, where the last remaining wonder of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid stands tall and mighty, sits at the intersection of the 30th Parallel and the 30th Meridan making it the centre of the entire land mass of the world. The world is watching the birth of a new democracy and its effects will ripple around the world changing the thinking of many.
Egypt needs the travellers of the world to return because tourism is one of the mainstay industries for the country. By visiting the country right now we can assist the Egyptians to create their new democratic country and be part of the rebuilding of this great land. By visiting Egypt and spending our tourist money with the shop keepers, tour operators, street vendors, hotels and restaurants we are contributing to Egyptian families and enabling bread winners for the family to be employed.
Come and join Spiritual Egypt Tours on our fabulous private access tour of Egypt from the 7th-22nd December 2012 and discover the Egypt that we know and love.
Egypt is waiting to welcome you
Tourism in Egypt
Tourism is the life blood of Egypt and right now tourists of the world need to unite and help Egypt to kick start that life force. Egypt is more than a bunch of dusty artefacts and ruins for the tourists to capture with their cameras. Egypt is a living breathing life force that whispers to your Soul. Ask anyone who has been there and they will have difficulty finding the words to describe the feelings they have about their visit through Egypt. But many who visit want to go back and thousands do return year after year to recapture that magic that comes alive within them as they explore the ancient sites. But it is the Egyptian people that make the experience in Egypt come alive.
- Following are some experiences American tourists had while on a Quest Travel organised tour during the height of the January/February 2011 revolution. Once you have read their accounts, you will understand why Spiritual Egypt Tours chooses Quest Travel as our tour operators in Egypt.
Magical Egypt Tour Story 1
Our group returned to the US last night incredibly inspired by a magical 18-day trip to Egypt. We arrived in Cairo on January 28, just as the unrest was gathering steam. Soon after we got off the plane, we met lots of Egyptians who enthusiastically welcomed us, translated the news to us, and communicated their excitement and pride in the unfolding events. They spoke of their dream of a free society with free and fair elections, freedom of speech and the press, and the opportunity to control their own destinies. My deep belief is that they are not going to surrender this newfound precious freedom to radical groups, or to anyone (or anything) else. And the women are strong.
After an initially tense ride through early morning Cairo past numerous neighborhood “checkpoints” (described in the news media as vigilantes, but actually courageous men protecting their homes — with smiles and peace signs exchanged between us and them when they figured out who we were), we flew to Luxor. As the days went on, we couldn’t imagine leaving. People would yell “Welcome to Egypt!” as we walked through Luxor and Aswan. As we moved past fear and into trust, it was clear to us that the Egyptian people’s revolution was intelligent and targeted. I never felt in danger, but we were constantly aware that we needed to be sensible and stay out of the way! We were quite a novelty, though, since in most places we were the only tourists there.
It’s a sad time for the Egyptian economy, of which tourism is a huge chunk. We were able to walk around the empty sites, pray, climb into tombs, feed the temple dogs and cats, and visit sites that have been closed to tourists for 20 years. The Egyptian people are well aware that they are the guardians of these world treasures brimming with powerful energy. As our tour guide said, “Egypt is beyond time and space.”
We spent our next-to-last day at the completely empty Great Pyramid. Later that day, Mubarak resigned. When we got back to our hotel to eat breakfast, a HUGE double rainbow broke out over Cairo, and a few hours later Mubarak peacefully left the city. Our Egyptian tour guide told us she had NEVER SEEN A SKY RAINBOW BEFORE — (it almost never rains in Cairo).
So pack your bags and go to Egypt now before the tourists go back. I will never forget the sight of thousands of Egyptians, just standing there in the Square. I will never forget their generosity and kindness to 16 stray American, Canadian & New Zealand tourists whom they allowed to watch their poignant, elegant, restrained revolution. Our return flight was cancelled, so we decided to go to Tahrir Square as a group on Saturday. We bought Egyptian flags as we drove through downtown Cairo. When they saw us waving them, people reached out their hands to clasp ours at red lights. When we got out, they crowded around asking us to be in pictures with them!! It was overwhelming. We will never, ever forget it. Though masses were still celebrating from the night before, many in the crowd had donned rubber gloves and carried trash bags and brooms. They were cleaning up the square, just like they cleaned up their government.
Magical Egypt Tour Story 2
Taking part in a tour called Magical Egypt, led by an extremely knowledgeable guide, John Anthony West, I had an unbelievable time in Egypt. All of us on the Quest Travel Tour – (an outfit I would highly recommend), have become fans of the Egyptians — they were extraordinarily friendly, open, warm, welcoming. One of the main messages we want to send out far and wide after our experience is GO TO EGYPT! They need our support, especially now!
We left for Cairo on January 27th, arriving the 28th. There had been some minor political demonstrations before we left, but they suddenly took a major turn for the worse just as we arrived, so the “Tourist Police” would not let any tourist groups out of the airport. We thought it would be for an hour or two, but eventually they said we had to spend the night in the airport. The Quest Travel representative who came to pick us up at the airport said we could sleep in the bus, which would be more comfortable than the airport, though it was a long walk from the bus to the airport bathrooms, and the bathrooms had long since run out of paper etc. We resigned ourselves to this fate, but then two young women arrived in vans, one the daughter of Mohamed Nazmy, the head of Quest Travel. They brought us food, and then asked us to get into two vans, pulling the curtains on the van windows. They smuggled us out of the airport in the vans through the domestic entrance, and the empty bus followed with our luggage. It was too dangerous to go to our hotel which was an hour away, so they took us to an excellent hotel near the airport, where we spent the night very comfortably. The next day, the bus returned and took us to Mena House Hotel in Giza. We could see the pyramids from our window, as they were right next to the hotel.
We were pretty much ‘trapped’ in the hotel for three days. But then, if you have to be trapped in a hotel, Mena House is a spectacular place to be. Tanks guarded the road to the Giza Pyramids , which was also the access road to Mena House. We heard lots of gun shots, especially at night. Mohamed spent a lot of time with us, and we processed our feelings. Several people felt we should leave right away, yet the airport was a parking lot of people, and even if we could get on a plane, there was a major blizzard in New York that closed the airports there. Mohamed returned to his office to find out what our options might be. Mohamed is known as “The Surgeon” by his friends because he knows how to operate. He has his own employees all over Egypt, and friends in high places, including Nazri Hawas, the new Minister of Antiquities. He determined that we could fly to Luxor and visit the temples there – his agents said the sites were open, even though the press said they were closed. And Mohamed invited us to spend a week on his boat, sailing south on the NileLuxor to Aswan, visiting temples along the way. Ordinarily, his boat costs $40,000 a week, but he let us use it without charging us extra beyond what we had already paid for our trip. Mohamed was ready to support us in any decision we might make, but the group as a whole decided to stay in Egypt and go to Luxor, and so we did. We felt safe in Mohamed’s care and felt his loving kindness, and we wished to hold open the space for “change” in Egypt – the dissolution of the old order and the birth of the new order -– represented by our continued presence.
We returned to the airport on February 1, leaving by bus before dawn. The people of Cairo were on the streets, guarding their homes from looters, since criminals had been let out of jail. Many sat in chairs in front of their buildings, many around camp fires. A few had guns, many had sticks. They had placed rocks on the roads, forcing all traffic to stop. When they saw us, they let us through their barricades, and waved to us, sometimes blew us kisses. We were all very moved by their greetings. The airport was wall to wall people. It was easier to move in the domestic flight area, and our Egyptian guardians ushered us through the crowds and through the gates to our plane.
When we arrived in Luxor, we stayed one night in a hotel while Mohamed prepared the boat for us. His boat, the Afandina, is a big sailing boat which he had built according to his own design – a bit like the ancient sail boats. It has no motor. When there was no wind, we were pushed by a tug boat which was always at our side. The Afandina had eight cabins, each for two people. We were exactly sixteen people. (Four people in the original group did not make it to Egypt. Had they been with us, we could not have used the boat. So it worked out exactly.) Each cabin had two twin beds, closet, TV, chest of drawers, and full bathroom. The interior of the main rooms on the boat were walled with beautiful polished wood paneling. There were dining tables both indoors and outdoors. We ate our breakfast and lunch every day outdoors, and had out dinner indoors. There was a top deck with lounge chairs.
Our first night in Luxor, we visited the temple there, called in symbolist language, the Temple of Man, which was all lit up. This was our first visit to a monument, and we had the temple almost entirely to ourselves. A long avenue of sphinxes brought the ancient Egyptians to the temple, and the temple itself reflects the dimensions of the male human body.
Our second day, we visited the amazing Temple of Karnak, a huge temple begun in the Middle Kingdom, which represents the Cosmos in its construction and symbology. Then we took a little boat to the West Bank of the Nile where we visited the Valley of Kings, the magnificent mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the only female pharaoh, and the Ramesseum with its toppled colossal statue of Ramesses II which inspired Shelley’s poem Ozymandias. We were the only visitors at the Valley of Kings!
Finally, we boarded the Afandina to begin our trip south to Aswan. We had a delicious supper on the outer deck as we set sail. Ordinarily, the Nile is filled with tourist boats. We saw them, empty, docked in all the towns. But at this time, the Nile had almost no other tourist boats (we saw two during our week on board). There were, however, the small sailboats and rowboats of the local people. And so we could enjoy the dreamy scenery unimpeded – the palm trees, farms, camels, water buffalo, herons, egrets etc.
We stopped at Edfu to see the Ptolemaic temple there that is dedicated to Horus the Elder, with the famous statue of Horus at the entrance. The next day, we stopped at Kom Ombo to visit the Ptolemaic temple there with its dual aspect – one side dedicated to Horus the Elder (representing the principle of the return to Source embodied in Man), the other side dedicated to Set (representing the forces of darkness and chaos), the central axis a place of balance or harmony between the two.
The next day we arrived in beautiful Aswan. While we were there, we took a bus trip to the magnificent Temple Abu Simbel. John had eliminated this temple from his itinerary some years ago because it was always over-crowded. We got permission to visit the temple through Mohamed’s contact with the Minister of Defense, the Minister of the Interior (police) and the Minister of Antiquities. We were accompanied by a military guy with a machine gun. It took two hours to get there, driving through the Sahara Desert, passing over the Tropic of Cancer. We had the Temple entirely to ourselves! That evening, we enjoyed wandering in the Nubian Market in Aswan, buying souvenirs for ourselves and our families.
The following day, we visited the inspiring Temple of Philae, dedicated to Isis as Mother of Horus. The temple sits on an island in the Nile just outside Aswan. This was a splendid. Many of us experienced a huge heart opening there.
On Feb. 5, we flew back to Cairo, the airport was empty, and the roads were back to normal traffic patterns, though the demonstrations continued in Tahrir Square. We knew the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx were still closed to tourists, so we did not know what to expect. Mohamed had returned to CairoAntiquities, and that the Sphinx and Pyramids would be opened for us the next day! We would be the first tourists to visit since the demonstrations began. two days before we did to see what arrangements he could make for us. He welcomed us when we returned to Mena House and told us that he had spoken with Nazri Hawas, the Minister of Antiquities for further permission.
The next day we took our bus up to the Giza Plateau, and visited the Sphinx first. Tourists in general are not allowed to go into the sphinx enclosure, (though you can buy your way in for $5000). We were allowed to go in. We were greeted there by the Director of the Giza Plateau. John said the Sphinx and the pyramids are like sex – you have no idea what they are unless you experience them. Russ quoted an author who called the Sphinx enclosure “…the splendid place of the first time”. John’s geological research indicates that the sphinx dates at least to 10,000 BC, and possible 36,000 BC. Its energy is intense. To be with it is to sense the ancient roots of our planet’s civilization, so advanced way back then – more advanced than we are today. We then visited the Mortuary Temple of Mycerinus, the solar boat and the Giza , from the outside.
The following day, we were given permission to visit the sites of the necropolis Saqqara and the pyramids of Dashur. They were closed, but opened specially for us. John said Saqqara is usually crowded like Disneyworld. On that day, it was silent and empty. We visited the tomb of Mer-Ruke, and the tomb of Unas’ musician Nufer. John said he had not been in the tomb of Nufer for over twenty years. It is usually shown only to VIPs like Bill Clinton. It contains the most perfectly preserved pyramid texts – the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And it contains an almost perfect mummy.
When we got back to our hotel, a HUGE double rainbow broke out over Cairo. Our Egyptian tour guide told us she had never seen a sky rainbow before 9 – it almost never rains in Cairo – she had seen one once reflected in a waterfall).
Our final day, or so we thought, we were allowed a private two hours in the Great Pyramid. We ascended in silence to the King’s Chamber, where we chanted and meditated. We took turns lying in the huge granite “sarcophagus”, toning in it. My experience there was beyond words.
But for most of us, it wasn’t our last day. Our flight to New York was canceled – postponed to Sunday February 13th. On Friday night, Mubarak resigned. Saturday was a day of celebration in Tahrir Square. We asked our driver to take us to the square in the van. As we drove there, we stopped to buy Egyptian flags. Car loads of Egyptians waved to us, reached out and held hands with us between cars, gave us thumbs up and the victory sign. When we reached the square, the joyous atmosphere was intense. Many Egyptians came to speak to us. They wanted to know why we were in Egypt, and how long we had been there, and what our experience had been. They wanted us to know that they loved us! They wanted to have their picture taken with us. They hugged us and waved their flags. (During our time in Egypt, we were interviewed and photographed by three Egyptian newspapers.)
Finally, on Sunday we did fly out of Cairo on time. The staff at Mena House were very sad to see us go. They said they really loved our group. This was an amazing journey filled with astonishment at the majestic temples and pyramids of Egypt, and filled with an experience of the loving nature of the Egyptian people. It is in times of crisis that we see the true character of people. Mohamed treated us like family. Our hearts were deeply touched by the spirit of all the Egyptians we met and talked to.
SpiritualEgyptTours.com, together with Quest Travel in Egypt, is launching the Journey to Awakening Tours through Egypt in 2011. Spend 15 days exploring the archaeology and spiritual heritage of Ancient Egypt through the eyes of expert Egyptologists and Guides. Along the way rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit and discover your own inner magic through lectures, meditations and ancient healing techniques with your hostess – International Astrologer, Medium and Executive Success Coach, Rhonnda Fritz. Spend 8 of those days sailing the Nile on your own private luxury traditional yacht known as a dhahabeya. Discover an Egypt that many tourists do not see as you explore the sites at times when there are no other tourists around other than your small group.Now is exactly the right time for you to take a trip to Egypt. The Egyptians are celebrating their freedom and moving towards a new democratic government and are wanting to share their excitement with the rest of the world. Be part of this monumental time in the history of modern Egypt.Book on either the Journey to Awakening 2011 Tour or the Journey to Awakening 2012 Tour being offered by SpiritualEgyptTours.com and you will experience the journey of a lifetime. Discover the magic that is Egypt by taking a tour in 2011 from the 3rd of September until the 17th September with SpiritualEgyptTours.com. Bookings are now open and are filling fast. Numbers for the 2011 tour are strictly limited to 16 so reserve your place TODAY!
Egypt is waiting to welcome you!!
Link to a video interview from the New York Times with Mr Mohamed Nazmy from Quest Travel in Giza Egypt just after the riots in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The video describes the state of Tourism in Egypt since the Riots in Egypt and why the tourists of the world need to return to Egypt once again.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The State of Tourism in Egypt Following the Crisis
Young Egyptians have launched an “Egypt is Safe” campaign, students are cleaning up national monuments and drivers now take visitors around Cairo’s Tahrir Square as an attraction, anything to get the tourists back.
Sites around the great pyramid at Giza, a Wonder of the Ancient World, the Sphinx and the cemetery at Sakkara have been nearly empty of tourists since a revolt started a month ago that ousted Hosni Mubarak, and now Egypt wants visitors to return.
“In terms of reviving tourism, the problem is currently Libya not us. The whole region is very hot right now,” Karim Mohsen, managing director of Sylvia Tours Egypt, said, referring to an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in the western neighbour.