Exploring Egypt can only be described as a trip of a lifetime. Seventeen University of Illinois travelers enjoyed the wealth of the historic treasures of Egypt. Each day unraveled a glimpse into the past as we began our journey with a tour of the renowned Egyptian Museum, which houses an expansive display of more than 100,000 fascinating items. The 1,700 treasures from the tomb of the “Boy” King Tutankhamen and the incredible exhibit of mummies was just the beginning of travel memoirs. Our journey took us to Sakkara, home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, considered the first pyramid. Our adventures continued as we again were in awe as we viewed the Great Pyramid, which was built using approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone, and is the only surviving monument along the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The legendary Sphinx, which is almost 220 feet long and 45 feet high with the body of a lion and the head of a man unfortunately, has been defaced by the winds over time. However, we were not in any way disappointed in the Sphinx. Adding to the excitement of the trip was the Solar Boat Museum, which housed a boat found in 1954 and thought to be over 4,500 years old.
Other fascinating excursions included the impressive Citadel with the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, the Rifia Mosque, the Hanging Church, and the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo but now one of the most-visited sites in Cairo. A visit to the El-Nafeza Foundation provided us with the opportunity to buy beautiful rice-straw paper made by hand. Each day was a new experience as we visited the Luxor Museum and the Temple of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings and Queens and stopped for a photo op at Colossi of Memnon. We sailed through Esna Lock and spent relaxing time as we watched the Nile scenery on the way to Edfu. In Kom Ombo, we visited the unusual double temple complex. Our visit to Abu Simbel we visited the Great Temple of Ramses II another amazing sight. While the trip was an amazing experience the friendships made along the way made Egypt the perfect destination. Submitted by, Gale A. Bickel, host
--Gale and Gary Bickel, UIAA Travel Host