Day 1 – Friday 19th October 2012

Fly London to Cairo with EgyptAir and on arrival we check in to the first-class Movenpick Hotel at Giza for two nights on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 – Giza

Our fi rst day begins with the short ride to the Giza plateau to explore the Great Pyramids, the satellite pyramids, mortuary temples and causeways, before heading to the mighty Sphinx and Valley Temple. In the afternoon we will take a grand tour of the Cairo Museum looking at some of the artefacts relating to our forthcoming tour. (B)

Day 3 – To Middle Egypt

Today we head south for Minya and the fabled city of Amarna. En-route we will stop at Meidum with its spectacular pyramid and the fascinating ‘Mastaba 17’ either of which can be entered by the more adventurous. Our journey continues to the lovely Middle Kingdom tombs of Beni Hassan with their striking paintings and wonderful views over the Nile Valley. On arrival in Minya we check in to the medium-class Nefertiti Hotel for two nights on a full board basis. (BLD)

Day 4 – Nefertiti at Amarna

We head off to meet Barry Kemp at Amarna. Today Barry will escort us around this fascinating city and give us all the latest news on his work here. We will travel along the Royal Wadi to the tomb of Akhenaten where we fi nd extraordinary scenes of both triumph and tragedy, depicting Nefertiti and the royal princesses. We will also enter the Southern Tombs with the unfi nished tomb of Ay and head into the city where we will explore the central area, the Royal Archive and the Sanctuary of Aten. We also look at the Northern Palace, residence of the royal women, and the Northern Tombs cut high into the surrounding cliffs. We return to Minya for our second night. (BLD)

Day 5 – Meir

Our day starts at Tuna el Gebel, a largely Ptolemaic site, where we fi nd the lovely Tomb Chapel of Petosiris. There is also time to visit the resting place of one of the more unfortunate women of Ancient Egypt, Isadora. We visit the well preserved Roman Well before entering the wonderful baboon and ibis catacombs, which emphasise the importance of the god Thoth in this region. Then to Ashmunein with its ruins of ancient Hermopolis and openair museum. Driving further south, we come to the fabulous tombs at Meir. Everything about these tombs is special, from the style of art and the unusual scenes depicted, to their spectacular location in the cliffs above the Nile Valley. We continue our journey to Sohag, and on arrival check in for one night on board the M/S Hotep, a fl oating hotel moored on the banks of the Nile. (BLD)

Day 6 – The Wonders of Abydos

We start our day with the short journey to Akhmim, ancient Ipu, and the magnifi cent statue of Meritamun which stands to a height of 35 feet. Then we head south to Abydos to explore one of the glories of ancient Egypt, the Temple of Seti I. The raised relief decorations in this temple are among the best in Egypt and many vibrant colours remain. We also see the famous ‘King List’ and study the mysterious Osireion. Then we head out across the desert sands for a few minutes walk to view the Temple of Ramesses II with its striking Kadesh battle reliefs. After our picnic lunch we drive to Dendera and the Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor. We see the newly cleaned and restored walls and ceilings. This lovely temple features the only depiction of Cleopatra VII with her son Caesearion to be found in Egypt. We continue to Luxor and on arrival check in to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing for fi ve nights on a room and breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 7 – The West Bank I

We take our private launch across the river to join our vehicle and we head straight to the Valley of the Kings. Here we enter three tombs. We will also walk to the door of Hatshepsut’s tomb and talk about the tomb’s strange legacy. From here, we ascend the mountain path for the walk over the mountain of Meretsegar, ‘She who loves silence’ for the most spectacular views of the whole of the West Bank. We descend via Deir el Medina to pick up our transport for the ride to Hatshepsut’s magnifi cent temple at Deir el Bahri, which we will explore at length. Our fi nal stop of the day is the Colossi of Memnon, taking special note of Tiye and Mutemwia. (B)

Day 8 – West Bank II

Again we cross the river, the traditional romantic way, by small motor launch and on arrival we visit Deir el Medina, the Workmen’s Village, to learn about their homes, family life and enter their ‘jewel box’ tombs, including that of Pashedu. We also enter the Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor, close to the village. We move on to the Valley of the Nobles where we look at the striking images of women in the tombs of Ramose, Userhat and Khaemhat. Our final visit today is the impressive Temple of Ramesses I I I, Medinet Habu. (B)

Day 9 – Nefertari

An early start as we head to Karnak for sunrise, when we usually fi nd we have most of the site to ourselves for the fi rst hour. A wonderful time for photography in the early morning light. We take a tour of the temple where we will explore the legacy of Hatshepsut and much else besides, before
entering the open-air museum to see the lovely White Chapel, the Alabaster Chapel and of course the reconstructed Red Chapel of Hatshepsut. We return to the hotel for breakfast before departing for the West Bank. The stunning highlight of the trip is surely our visit to The Queens’ Valley, where we
have a special permit to enter the Tomb of Nefertari, perhaps the most famous of all Egyptian Queens, principal wife of Ramesses I I and often seen with the Pharaoh in artwork and sculpture. This tomb is spectacular and it is a rare and extraordinary privilege to enter it. We will also enter the other
open tombs in the Valley of Queens and Princes. (B)

Day 10 – Optional Edfu

Today could be your day to relax by the pool or head to the souk for some shopping. Alternatively join us on an optional excursion by road to the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus at Edfu, Egypt’s most complete temple. We will also visit the fascinating site of el Kab with its 18th Dynasty tombs, Ptolemaic Temple and the inscriptions at ‘Vulture Rock’. For those on the optional excursion, a packed lunch is included. (B)

Day 11– Monday 29th October

Fly Luxor to London with Egypt Air arriving later the same day. (B)

Expert: Lucia Gahlin, author and lecturer, accompanies this trip and will make this holiday one to remember. Travelling with Lucia is always a pleasure as her charm, enthusiasm and her knowledge bring sites to life with well chosen words and information.

(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner