I’m on my way & Returned….FINALLY 😎

2

Comments

  • PureLuxury - Some interesting colors in those dinner items. Not what you'd typically see in an American meal.

    Nice job by the TD arranging it so you won't miss the camel ride. Does that mean you hike from the restaurant, to the Monastery, back to the restaurant and then get the camel ride? If so, will the TD also arrange for the transportation from the Treasury back to the entrance, since the camel ride goes from the restaurant to the Treasury? For us, that was a horse and buggy ride (and our horse could have won the Kentucky Derby - we passed everything in sight and the walkers had to jump out of the way practically).

  • Sam Yes, TD will arrange the horse cart to get us back to the entrance.

    AlanS I’ll try to be more timely responding to post :D

    BTW—The meal was delicious. I didn’t order an appetizer or desert because I knew I would have been miserable trying to eat all of that food. We also had a big lunch at a nice restaurant. I’m back to the villa to pack—suitcases being picked up at 7:15 for a 8:30 departure.

  • PureLuxury: That meal looks fabulous. I would definitely try that.

  • PureLuxury
    2:09PM
    Hi AlanS it’s 8:07pm (Monday) as I’m writing this. It’s a beautiful evening. I’m dining outdoors and there is a wonderful heat lamp keeping me toasty.!

    I’m losing track of days myself…I thought I had another day here at the Dead Sea but we depart tomorrow morning at 8:30 heading south to Amman. We will hike Petra on Wednesday. I will be sure to take note of time to complete the hike and hiker demographics.

    Did you misspeak? :) I hope you will be headed south to Wadi Musa (town outside Petra) via Madaba and Mt. Nebo since Amman is to the north-north east of the Dead Sea Hotel. :D:D

    Depending on time of arrival at the hotel, how tired you are, and your desires, you may have time to walk across the street from the hotel near the archaeological site entrance to visit the small but nice relatively new Petra Museum. I believe admission is free.

    Thanks ahead of time for getting the Monastery timing. Don't worry about timely responses. Have a great time touring and don't worry about us slugs back home!

  • Wayside I overlooked your post…my apologies. Travel to Jordan was uneventful and that was the goal :) .
    We are a group of 12 including 4 solo travelers. We’re following you—tomorrow we’re departing the Dead Sea and heading towards Petra with a few stops in-between. There is another Tauck group arriving here tomorrow.

    How has the weather been for you guys? The weather in Jerash today was spectacular. It warm & sunny and of course there were no crowds. I’m expecting cooler temps as we head toward Petra. Is it jacket weather or is a base layer sufficient?

    It’s midnight and you’re probably asleep as I should be…I’ll keep my poncho unpacked just in case it is a bit cooler.

    -Robin

  • Considering the spa/Dead Sea treatment. Did you all book this through the hotel? We'll be with the small group that begins November 14. Will be arriving at 22:10 November 13 after 6 days in England with friends so our jet lag shouldn't be too bad. (If the UK requirements ease up.)

  • PureLuxury - Jackets were not needed for us at Petra. It was quite cool first thing in the morning but warmed up so by mid-morning we removed our outer layers. Where you do want a jacket is Wadi Rum, at least at the beginning of the open air ride.

  • OBXnana Hello
    I would recommend to book the spa on their hotel site:
    https://www.kempinski.com/en/dead-sea/hotel-ishtar/luxury-spa/ or if you like at the hotel on arrival. -
    I was there last Sept.- 6 day total 4 pre-tour and 2 as the tour started. I can tell you to book in advanced- the Spa is very popular not only with tourist but also with the locals.
    One lady that I would recommend is TIK, she is Fabulous, best ever...

    https://www.kempinski.com/en/dead-sea/hotel-ishtar/luxury-spa/massages-and-treatments/

    https://www.kempinski.com/en/dead-sea/hotel-ishtar/luxury-spa/spa-features/

    Hope this helps.

  • ****AlanS**** The hike to the Monastery was challenging but it is a not to be missed activity—health permitting. The views are just spectacular! Of our tour size of 12–6 of us (3 gals & 3 guys) hiked to the top. With the exception of myself, everyone was over the age of 60. We all are in good health and exercise regularly. Total time to the top, including a few short 30 second rest stops, took 45 minutes. Our group had a lot of energy. We hiked another 25 minutes for even better views. We were tired on the way down. Thank goodness the TD arranged for camels to be waiting for us as we came down the mountain to take us back to the entrance.

    We’ll be leaving the Zahra in the next 45 minutes for our private tour of the Valley of the Kings. The boat is wonderful and the staff will bend over backwards to accommodate your every need.

    We visited Nefertari’s tomb this morning—it is beyond words—the colors are so vivid and will knock your socks off!

    We encountered our first crowds today at the Karnak Temple. The guide indicated it’s because of the Russian tourist who are visiting the beach area and drive 4 hours to the temple for a 45 minute visit. They didn’t wear masks. That’s the only place we felt uncomfortable with the no mask wearing crowds.

    There’s a small group tour on The Philae which is docked next to us. Our paths crossed at Petra, The Old Cataract Hotel and on the felucca cruise. The Old Cataract Hotel is amazing. I purchased a beautiful 18kt gold Cartouche. If you’re interested, you can order one and Samir (the shop operator in the hotel) will have it ready for you before you leave. The small tour only has one night at that hotel—too bad. I definitely could have stayed there 3 nights.

    The tour has been fantastic… at some point I’ll gather all my notes for a formal trip report . I can’t blame my non-communicating on weak internet reception as the internet service has been great at all locations. ;)

  • edited December 2021

    Thanks so much. I can't wait! 'Only' 85 days :/

    I'm back in training to lose a few more pounds and to make sure my legs are ready for the trek to the Monastery and the Wadi al-Farasa trail. I hope it won't be too demanding for me since I'm a little over 12 years older than 60! :D

    Given the choice between touring to the max and losing sleep/rest time writing forum posts- I'll take touring, any day! :)

    Unfortunately, no news is no news with regards to the GEM. Back to one of my very early predictions- while it may not be ready and just open for national pride, it WILL OPEN in 2022 for the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tut's tomb which is in early November.

  • Hi R.
    Nice to hear back from you.. and I see you're enjoying everything- I saw your picture with Marah.. it looks like you 2 were having some fun, she is a sweetheart.
    "We encountered our first crowds today at the Karnak Temple. The guide indicated it’s because of the Russian tourist who are visiting the beach area and drive 4 hours to the temple for a 45 minute visit. They didn’t wear masks. That’s the only place we felt uncomfortable with the no mask wearing crowds"
    We did too, same temple.. they come in masses and Yes! no masks-* you will see them again in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum...
    They do as they wish... don't follow instructions and they are big groups, so you do have to make sure they go back to the line.. :))
    For me, as I already did the tour - I could understand "the non-communicating"... when you're on the boat ..everything happens really fast and the amount of info from the visits is a lot, so as you get back to the boat, it is time to do nothing but relax...
    Well lady keep enjoying your trip, it will be incredible till the last min.
    Take care.
    M.

  • Robin -

    Good to hear you highly recommend Qatar Air since that is what I've booked (to/from Seattle) for my Egypt: Jewel of the Nile tour next October.

    Also thanks for the tips on where to shop, I'll have to steer my wife away from those areas. Fat chance of me being successful at that. :D

    It's got to be a fabulous tour when seeing the pyramids/sphinx don't even make your top 4 highlights.

  • It's got to be a fabulous tour when seeing the pyramids/sphinx don't even make your top 4 highlights.

    Smiling Sam The Pyramids and the Sphinx are indeed incredible incredible sights.There is just something about admiring all of the rock formations and beautiful colors as you walk through the gorge and then have it open up to the incredible, unexpected sight of The Treasury.

    I probably have more photos of the Pyramids and Sphinx. I even hired a taxi (recommended by the TD) to take me back to the Pyramids after lunch for more photos. Earlier in the day, there was a photographer on hand to take our photos. I wasn't sure how they would turn out as the Treasury photo wasn't that great in my opinion. Someone in my group had taken pics of me on the camel in front of the pyramids with my iPhone; however, they were blurred and I didn't notice until we were back on the coach and headed to the next stop. I was devastated at the idea that I wouldn't have a decent picture of myself on the camel in front of the Pyramids. So after we returned to the hotel, the TD arranged to have the taxi was waiting for me to take me literally across the street and up to the observation area to take a few photos. I was satisfied.

    The professional photographer photos came out really well and a few people on the tour had captured photos of me.

    I will go through all of my papers to find the taxi drivers card. His name is Ahmed. The TD uses him all the time and several folks who were staying extra days hired him to escort them around Cairo.

    -Robin

  • edited December 2021

    Robin, thanks again!!

    More questions: :D

    Saqqara:

    Please confirm or correct me if I am wrong:

    On Saqqara day, I assume you had lunch at the nearby Palm Restaurant then went to the site. While at the site you visited to the step pyramid and mortuary temple of Djoser (but did not/could not enter the pyramid). Then you visited and entered (if you wanted) the (rubble) pyramid of Teti I and mastaba tomb of Mereruka (and possibly the tomb of Kagemni which abuts the tomb of Mereruka).

    Questions:

    Did you or could you see the (Bent, Red, Black, etc.) pyramids of Dahshur, which are only 1 - 2 km further south? Did you just see them from a distance while you were at Saqqara or did you do a drive-by of Dahshur?

    Did your local guide point out the areas, where they discovered two mega shaft tombs, one with over 150 mummies and counting? They are located near an area called Bubasteion which is on the right, just up the road from the ticket office/entrance to Saqqara. How about the shaft site (K-24) with the embalming facility 80' down and tombs that were discovered in 2020? It is located a few hundred yards south of the pyramid of Djoser on the south side of the adjacent smaller pyramid of Unas?

    Were there any other groups, or any other people for that matter, at Saqqara? How about street vendors?

    The reason I'm asking is because I am planning a post-tour excursion back to this area and have been working with a local guide on an itinerary. Too much to see and so little time! :D Just 78 days, Inshallah!!!

  • Hi all, We were on the Dec. 3rd trip. All 5 of us (6 others had cancelled last minute). The trip was fantastic, tour guide, Dina, was great. Everyone was very accommodating, although our PCR, to leave for home, did not accept credit cards as was stated. I am very happy that the tour was not cancelled, although meeting other travelers on these trips is always the best part. Now to start researching our next safari trip for August!

  • We have always booked our tours as early as they appear on the website, usually 18 months ahead. Since Covid, that has left us in a pickle because while we wait for Tauck to cancel tours, we cannot Re-book them for the following year before those tours show sold out because we have other tours booked for those dates.
    Debi, be sure to book your safari tour asap before they sell out on your preferred time frame.

  • When there were no dates available for the following year, after our first COVID cancellation, we decided to start double booking a few tours, just in case. A couple of the re-booked tours were cancelled as well, but a least it gave us some peace of mind and saved us from potential disappointment. We have not done that with our 2022 tours, however, so are keeping our fingers crossed. J&E in 78 days.

  • AlanS

    Did you or could you see the (Bent, Red, Black, etc.) pyramids of Dahshur, which are only 1 - 2 km further south? Did you just see them from a distance while you were at Saqqara or did you do a drive-by of Dahshur?

    We saw the Bent Pyramid from a quick drive-by. I checked to see if I was able to capture a photo of it...nada

    Were there any other groups, or any other people for that matter, at Saqqara? How about street vendors?

    There were a few people at Saqqara; however, most of my photos, like all the others, have no one in the background. Great for photos and safety protocols, but so sad for the economy. There were hardly any tourist in Jordan and Egypt. Someone made the comment that I grossly overpaid the taxi driver who escorted me back to the pyramids to take photos because I didn't engage in the negotiating activity. I disagree. I would have paid him more. He was reputable, safe and very accommodating. He offered to take me to other photos stops. I declined as I only wanted pics in front of the pyramids.

    There were many aggressive vendors. I purchased all of my gifts at gift shops - I negotiate enough for work purposes. I do not want to negotiate while on holiday. There were many opportunities to shop: The hotels, The Ritz Carlton where we had lunch upon our arrival into Cairo, The Old Egyptian Museum gift shop - there was a great selection of books. The Mena House gift shop is tucked away behind the pool area. You have to ask for directions. There are two small shops with a nice selection for last minute gift items. I never looked at the shops in the airport as I headed straight to the lounges
    .

    Did your local guide point out the areas, where they discovered two mega shaft tombs, one with over 150 mummies and counting? They are located near an area called Bubasteion which is on the right, just up the road from the ticket office/entrance to Saqqara.

    Yes....the guide mentioned excavation is continuing and that they recently discovered 100 mummies and a cat cemetery and there was a lion cub among them. I don't remember much else of what she said. It was info overload.

    How about the shaft site (K-24) with the embalming facility 80' down and tombs that were discovered in 2020? It is located a few hundred yards south of the pyramid of Djoser on the south side of the adjacent smaller pyramid of Unas?

    I honesty do not remember.mI will go thru my daily notes.

  • edited December 2021

    Thanks!!

    I just finished watching "Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb." It was a bit hokey since parts of it were obviously scripted, it used multiple camera angles, and there were issues with running out of time and money which seem to be common threads in many similar shows, like the Nat Geo, "Hidden Treasures of Egypt" series. But the show was interesting and dealt with fairly recent discoveries in Saqqara- tomb of Wahtye and his family, the cat (animal) necropolis where a lion cub mummy, etc. were found- in the Bubasteion area on the eastern edge of the desert not far from Saqqara entrance. The show ended with a peak at a new discovery, but I don't have any idea if there will be more because it was a documentary rather than a series.

    I found a private guide for Saqqara, but so far am finding it hard to work up an itinerary. First, I don't want to duplicate anything we see with Tauck unless there is more to see at one of those spots, but mainly because there is so much to see, especially newly opened and re-opened stuff like the Southern Tomb- never heard of it!- and the fact that the Egyptian Antiquities website is a pain to navigate and the price list is incomplete. Also, except for press releases which don't always have enough details, it has been difficult to find out the details of the new discoveries. I know some will not be open to visit. I trust our guide to come up with a good itinerary, but me being me, I want to be closely involved. In his last email he mentioned the availability tickets for private entry into one or more tombs, but the Ministry of Antiquities website doesn't mention it at all and he didn't have details. I'm waiting for him to send me those. It is a good thing I started this process early! 77 days and counting.

  • I’m sure you may have seen this article Alan, but maybe Others haven’t. I found it absolutely fascinating!

    Egyptian pharaoh's mummy digitally unwrapped for first time https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-59808883

  • Thanks, I had not seen that. I know they have used that technique to view other people and places. In the documentary about Saqqara I just watched, they routinely used xrays to get an initial look into the mummy which is how they first determined they found a lion cub mummy in the cat necropolis.

    Look what just arrived via email! :) Though we still have 77 days, it is starting to become real. I still have research and planning to do! I can't wait for my Egypt guide to respond!

  • PureLuxury,

    Regarding your shopping experiences, I also enjoy visiting the gift shops of museums where I have found many unique items at relatively inexpensive prices.

    I have enjoyed reading your review. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alan, I just received the same communication as you did from Tauck, only it was for our Israel and Jordan tour. There’s nothing new in it, it is not specific to the tours you and I are taking and it is already all on the Tauck website and has been for months. To be honest, my husband was pretty disgusted to receive what he said was useless information for a tour that is less than three months away and, unlike your tour, for us, Israel is still closed to foreigners and will probably remain so, certainly while numbers of positive Covid numbers are escalating out of control right now.

  • Tour Guide - Mena House Hotel.

    If anyone is interested in a private tour, Ahmed is the Guide/taxi driver who escorted me back to the pyramids and comes highly recommended by the TD. Several other folks utilized his services during their extended stay. He is also on-site at the Mena House Hotel

    Ahmed El Kersh
    (002) 0100 635 83 54.

  • After my tour, I'll post a review of the person I "found" and am I'm dealing with. He came highly recommended by a Tauck TD.

    Anyone with an upcoming Jewels or J&E tour or just thinking about them should watch the various PBS and Nat Geo series' about archaeology in Egypt. I just finished watching the "Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb" on NETLFIX and the 4 episode Nat Geo special about the mummification workshop there to get a better idea of all that is in Saqqara. I think the discoveries will keep coming!

  • edited December 2021

    My wife likes to dress up occasionally and I am interested in whether the hotels and ship have irons and ironing boards available. I don't think she could do the trip with just a carry-on even though that seems to be the most recommended option. Has anyone else taken a normal suitcase and how was their experience?

  • edited December 2021

    Todd, I think you must be misinterpreting what people have posted. I don't know of anyone who takes just a carry-on. Almost everyone will have a normal suitcase, that more than likely weighs the Tauck or airline maximum for the class of ticket. (there was one post that said one couple had 7 bags between them!) Some folks take a carry-on as well. For time considerations - baggage pickup on move day and ease of handling all the bags which Tauck/hotel staff must collect, Tauck suggests you restrict to one piece of regular size luggage per person for most trips. While they will normally handle your extra bags, on some tours you might need to schlepp the carry-on yourself and get it down to the bus very early. Also, like with airlines, you can each take a personal bag (purse/man-purse, camera bag, etc.)

    Hotels and ships don't allow personal irons. Some may have loaners you can use. One of the folks who has completed this tour should be able to tell you specifics on irons and ironing board. I'll let our forum fashionistas comment about "dress up" and the need for such clothes.

  • You can take a normal sized suitcase on this trip, exactly as Alan says.
    If you travel a lot, it’s easy to have a set of ‘go to’ clothing that does not require ironing, even dress up clothing. Rolling clothing helps. Even no iron linen can be found easily, that is what I tend to take for dress up, there are some lovely floaty tunic tops, pants and dresses like this. Simple shifts or sparkly jackets don’t need ironing. You can look quite sophisticated and upper class with a few pieces of cheap statement jewelry if that floats your boat. If it needs ironing, don’t take it.

  • Todd, everyone takes a normal suitcase that is checked by the airlines. I returned from The Jewels of the NIle trip in early December and dressing up consisted of a dressy blouse and slacks, or a little black dress and jacket. You will need a jacket for the 1901 restaurant the evening you’re at The Old Cataract Hotel. Most of the guys wore a jacket at the farewell dinner, which for us was at The St Regis Hotel in Cairo. I don’t recall ironing boards or irons. The key is learning how to pack an item so that it doesn’t wrinkle. Check out YouTube for that.

Sign In or Register to comment.