Overview

‘Concerning Egypt, I will now speak at length, because nowhere in the world are there to be seen so many marvels, nowhere in the whole world is there so much of such unspeakable greatness’.  Herodotus – 5th century BC.

In the twenty-five centuries since this was written, nothing has diminished or qualified this statement.

In Egypt, the ancient stones speak with clear and resonant voices, but not in a language of today.

The art and architecture was sacred art, dedicated wholly to religion, to knowledge – to Initiation.

Come with us to wonder at the ancient civilization of Egypt – its pyramids, its temples and tombs, its cult of the threshold between the living and the dead, and its all-pervasive sense of mystery.

We will also consider the many cultural layers since those far-distant time – Islamic, Coptic and into the present.

We will journey together to uncover some of the secrets, and their relevance for us today. Our life together as a group will aid our experiences to be absorbed in a healthy way.

We will turn to the mysteries of death and rebirth – depicted in Pyramids, temples and tombs.

We will enter into discussion and study together.

When appropriate Gillian will be leading us in eurythmy.

How can we understand the bewildering company of Gods?

And what is their message for us today? What can we learn from ancient Egypt?

We have arranged a program where we hope there is a healthy breathing between activity and relaxation – time to be social and time for contemplation and solitude.

We will be a group of maximum 14 participants and two leaders.

First we’ll visit the farm and workshops of the anthroposophically inspired community of Sekem, not far from Cairo, which has created a fertile oasis in the desert. This is a perfect way to recover from jet-lag in a peaceful rural setting

Then we will visit the pyramids of the Early Kingdom in Giza and Saqqara.

Onwards to Abydos and Luxor – their mighty temples, and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

Part of our Odyssey will be sailing up the mighty Nile on board a beautiful traditional Dahabiya, chartered for our exclusive use.

Not to be missed on our return to Cairo is our visit to the impressive Coptic churches and museum.

Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 19th – Late morning arrival at Cairo airport where we will be met by a representative of the Sekem community, which is about 50 minutes drive away.

Lunch and dinner, then overnight in the lovely guesthouse.

Day 2 Sunday  20th   – All day guided visit of Sekem. We will see the many activities which take place in this extraordinary and inspiring community inspired by anthroposophy. In the evening we hope to be able to meet with Helmy Abouleish, the son of the founder. Full board at Sekem.

Day 3 Monday 21st –  Breakfast at 6 am, departure at 7 am for our visit to Saqquara, the world’s oldest free-standing structure.  Arrival at 9.30 am, this magnificent complex includes Old Kingdom mastaba tombs; in the Djoser area, more mastabas, Teti’s Pyramid, Museum. Lunch at 1.15 pm, 3 pm departure for Dashur, visiting till 5 pm.

*Dinner, then o/night at the Meridien Pyramids Hotel.

Day 4 Tuesday 22nd  – An early start for our visit to the great Pyramid and the Sphinx. Nothing can prepare us for their monumental immensity, complexity and grandeur!  We will also see the wonderfully restored Solar barque.

Lunch.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the nearby brand new Grand Giza Museum, that is, if it is open – the opening has been delayed for the past 6 years, but they say it will open in 2020!  If not, a free afternoon.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 5 Wednesday 23rd – Some free time this morning before we leave for the 14.20 flight to Luxor in Upper Egypt, 1 hour.

We’ll drive about 30 minutes to the peaceful Maritim Jolie resort on Kings island in the Nile.

It has several restaurants, swimming pools and lovely gardens.

In the evening we will visit the magnificent floodlit temple of Amon.  Dinner at the hotel.

.Day 6 Thursday 24th  – We travel to the solemn Valley of the Kings. We will enter into two or three of the tombs – we won’t know which ones till we get there.

Then we’ll visit the monumental Temple built by the female Pharaoh .Hatshepsut

Lunch at Hotel Marsam, hopefully with Bruno Sandkuhler, an expert on Ancient Egypt, and also the Islamic culture.

If there’s time and energy, we will visit the tombs of the Nobles after lunch.

Christmas Eve Dinner at the hotel.

Day 7 Friday 25th – In the morning we will visit the vast temple complex of Karnak, linked to the Temple of Luxor by an avenue of sphinxes.  We will also visit the well-organized Luxor Museum.  Lunch. If there’s time, we may visit the Workers’ settlement Deir el Medinah. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 8 Saturday 26th – Free day. Possibility of a balloon ride at dawn.

Lunch on your own. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 9 Sunday 27th – 7AM start for the 4 hour drive to Abydos with its temple dedicated to Osiris built by Pharaoh Seti 1, with exquisitely refined and delicate reliefs and still visible touches of vibrant color. Legend tells us that here the head of Osiris was buried.  Behind the temple is the ancient Osirion, one of the most powerful, mysterious, and resonant places of all Egypt. It was most sacred to the ancient Pharaohs.                We will stay overnight at the House of Life Hotel, a Dutch-run holistic healing center.

Meals at the hotel. www.houseoflifeabydos.com

Day 10 Monday 28th –Early departure for the long way back south, about 4 hours in all, via the lovely temple of Hathor, goddess of love and laughter, at Dendera.  Then we make our way to Esna about 33 miles south of Luxor, to board our dahabiya – our floating home for the next days. We settle in to our cabins and meet the crew. Then we set sail, arriving at El Kabs where we will moor for the night. All meals on board.                                                                                                                                                                        Every evening we anticipate there will be presentations, discussions and some eurythmy before settling for the night.

Day 11Tuesday 29th   – On the dahibiya, we will begin every morning with eurythmy before breakfast. We will visit the tombs of El Kabs before we sail southwards towards Edfu. In the late afternoon, we will visit the best preserved temple of the ancient world,  consecrated to Horus of Behedety  ‘the many-colored’, which includes Horus’ role as Creator, Sun- God and King of Egypt.

The battle with Set is just one aspect in Edfu, occupying only about one fifth of the reliefs and inscriptions.  We moor for the night at Fowersi island, with time to relax and watch the riverbank where life unfolds much as it did three thousand years ago.

Day 12 Wednesday 30th – We set sail towards Silseleh and the quarries there.

Day 13 Wednesday 31st– We will visit the quarries after breakfast, then we will take a leisurely walk  along past the Stellaes, meeting the boat further down. We sail on towards the Temple of Kom Ombo, and visit after lunch. It is consecrated to the duo of Sobek, the crocodile (Death as a cosmic function) and Horus the Elder (return to the Source as a cosmic function). Beautifully sited on a bend of the Nile, Kom Ombo was in its day a healing temple and hospital.

In the evening we arrive at Aswan, verdant and green, where we moor for the night on the riverbank.

The Nile here is dotted with islands, and large-sailed feluccas darting like birds among them.

We’ll have our last dinner on the dahibiya – New Year’s Eve!

Day 14  Thursday 1st  2021! A short drive to board a little boat and sail to Philae Temple, consecrated to Isis in her role of Mother of Horus. Philae is on an island in the middle of the Nile (now it’s a lake backed up behind the British ‘Low Dam’ built in 1904.) Quintessentially feminine, it is one of the most beautiful and moving sites in all of Egypt. Here the transition of the ancient Egypt doctrine of Immortality segues almost seamlessly into Christianity in front of our eyes.

For lunch we will seek out a restaurant in the bazaar.

Afternoon options – Visit the souk fro souvenirs, the Nubian museum opposite the hotel, the Nubian Village and afternoon sail among the islands.

Tonight we’ll stay at the Basma Hotel, beautifully situated on the banks of the Nile. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 15 – Friday 2ndVery early breakfast, then 6am transfer for the airport (30 minutes) and the 08.25 flight to Cairo. On arrival  we will be met by our Egyptian guide, and make our way to the astonishing, and dusty Cairo Museum, one of the treasure-houses of the world, with its four thousand years of Egyptian masterpieces, including the priceless Tutankhamen galleries if the new museum is not yet open in Giza, the Akhenaton room and the greatest selection of incomparable Old Kingdom sculpture anywhere in the world.  The Royal Mummy room is not included, extra fee. This museum visit sums up and recapitulates our entire two week experience.  Lunch nearby.

We will be staying in the center of the city, at Hotel Longchamps in the upscale and (relatively!) quiet neighborhood of Zamelek, an island in the Nile.  Dinner near the hotel. 

Day 16 – Saturday 3rd – Today we will visit Old Cairo – the early Christian Coptic church and then the newly re-opened Islamic museum.  Lunch in the Citadel View restaurant in the beautiful Azhar Park.

In the early evening we’ll all meet together to share our experiences of the Egypt Odyssey, followed by a festive farewell dinner at the hotel.

Day 17 – Sunday 4th – departures for the airport and the flight home

© 2014 all pictures by SEKEM-Reisen

Details

Tour Leaders

  • Not yet finalized
  • Gillian Schoemaker age70. She is a eurythmist, living and working in the Camphill School, Pennsylvania.

She has been organising Odyssey journeys to the mystery places of Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Italy and her native Scotland for the past seventeen years.

Organisation – Dietmar Kreuer is a retired Waldorf teacher and tour-operator, organizing travels to Egypt since 1997, thanks to the friendship with the founder of SEKEM, Ibrahim Abouleish. www.sekem-reisen.de

Cost : the approximate price in dollars and British pounds is current for November 2019.

10-12 people — $3,900      £3,012  pp dbl-room
14-16 people — $3,580      £2,765  pp dbl -room

The price includes:

– Accommodation in twin-bedded rooms in comfortable 3* hotels; the guest house at the Sekem community, and on the Dahabiya  – if you are traveling alone we will assign you a room-mate of the same sex, subject to availability.

Single hotel rooms are available, and possibly also on the dahibiya, if the Odyssey is not full to the capacity of 16 guests, please inquire.

– All meals except lunch on the free day in Luxor

– Services of guides, tips to site guards and restaurants.

–  All internal transport – by air, private minibus and boat.

Not included:

– International travel

– Visa, $25, obtainable on arrival at the airport

– Extra visits to sites not mentioned in the itinerary.

– Balloon ride in Luxor.

– Tips of a personal nature.

Recommended reading

Egyptian Myths and Mysteries GA 106 – Rudolf Steiner

The Sacred Mysteries of Egypt – Frank Teichmann

Temple of the Cosmos  – Jeremy Naydler

History of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction  – Eric Hornung

The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Egypt – John Anthony West. A concise introduction to the gods and the sites. Out of print but may be found on Amazon.

Lighter reading:

Herbek, volumes 1 and 2 – Lucy Lamy

Winged Pharaoh, The Eye of Horus – Joan Grant

The Egyptian – Mika Waltari

Initiation – Elisabeth Haich

Average winter temperatures – Cairo : 68F/22C; Aswan : 78F/22C with very low humidity. Early mornings and evenings can be really quite chilly – pack accordingly!

Please note – the tour can be strenuous, involving some early starts, long drives, and being outside for an extended period each day – there are steps (sometimes many) slopes and long galleries with low ceilings, and dusty uneven desert terrain to negotiate, therefore unsuitable for those with limited mobility or respiratory problems. Please inquire! Let us know if you have any health issues we should know about.

The Egypt Odyssey is organized by Dietmar Kreuer of reputable Sekem-Reisen, Kiel,Germany

Reservations should be made as soon as possible. Your deposit of $1600 payable to GILLIAN SCHOEMAKER will secure your place , with  ‘Odyssey’ on the memo line.

Should you have to cancel – if we cannot fill your place, the deposit is non-refundable

Cancellations: Because costs arising from cancellation must be carried by the individuals concerned, you must take out travel insurance which includes cancellation.

No responsibility can be ascribed to Gillian or Sekem-Reisen. We are, essentially, a group of friends traveling together.                                                                                                                                                          The balance will be due September 30th 2020

Later, we will send you further suggestions, and a list of what to bring.

In the event that either of the leaders is unable to come, which has never happened so far – of course every attempt to find a substitute will be made.

Gillian Schoemaker
1784 Fairview Road  Glenmoore PA 19343
610  455 2040  gillianschoemaker@gmail.com