March 31, 2012
After the ASCSA’s Open Meeting in March, traditionally we have optional trips outside Greece: this year one destination was Egypt. Our group included 31 students, professors, spouses and children. After we landed in Cairo we flew to Luxor, and boarded our boat the TUYA (named for the Queen Mother of Ramses II). With the boat as our base, we visited the Karnak and Luxor temples, the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, and the Colossi of Memnon. All were impressed by the size of the columns at Karnak, the statuary and the colorful reliefs.
Everyone had prepared a short report (this was a School trip!), and we heard from each person, sometimes on site and at times on the upper deck of the boat, while slowly cruising down the Nile past green banks with the desert in the distance. We could see small farms, donkeys and water buffalo, scenes just like those in the wall reliefs in the tombs at Saqqara. We visited the Ptolemaic temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo, where there was a new Crocodile Museum.
In Aswan we sailed around Elephantine Island in a felucca, and we went to see the Unfinished Obelisk in a granite quarry. From Aswan we took a small boat to the island Philae (a substitute for the original submerged by Lake Nasser), home of the Ptolemaic Temple of Isis. We saw Trajan’s kiosk and the small Temple of Hathor. We flew to Abu Simbel, site of the Temple of Ramses II and Nefertari. Of special interest were the graffiti on one colossal leg of Ramses II, etched by Greek mercenaries in the early 6th century B.C.
In Cairo the Pyramids, the Solar Boat, and the Sphinx were the main attractions, along with the Egyptian Museum on Tahir Square. We also saw the Red Pyramid and Bent pyramids at Dashur, the colossal image of Ramses II at Memphis, and Djoser’s complex at Saqqara. Our trip ended with a visit to Alexandria: we toured the new Library, the fortress built on top of the Pharos, the Roman catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, and the Serapeum. The last site of the trip was Cavafy’s house! That made us eager to return to Greece, after a truly fabulous trip.
(All Photos by M.M. Miles)
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