Cairo, SEKEM, Luxor

Our approach to Cairo, SEKEM and Luxor

Posted on 15 July 2019, by Bettina Groher and Ursula Locher

Spending some days on our own in Cairo, followed by two days in SEKEM plus a guided stay in Luxor's riches

Some days in Cairo, SEKEM and Luxor

Austrian is a very agreeable Airline with good service, though on the return-flight the stopover time in Vienna was calculated too short due to all the security measures during transit, so we missed the connecting flight to Zurich and had to stay a night in the hotel. That wasn't bad, especially as we didn't have to pay for it ... Everything fitted alright, the taxi transfer to the hotel in Luxor was fine. We very much liked our hotel Gezira Garden, situated nicely and making one feel relaxed. Our German speaking guide Ayman did a very good job guiding us through Luxor's riches, being very competent in Egyptian history, which he explained patiently and allowing us all the time to stop and look as much as we wanted to. He answered all our question and was a joyable company!

Friday: Visiting Luxor's Karnak and Luxor Temple, then sailing with a felukke to Banana Island.

Saturday: Valley of the Kings, Tempel of Queen Hatshepsut, the workshops of the artists, and three tombs (Ramses IV // Ramses IX // Mereptah), stopping at the Memnon Colossus.

Sunday: Visiting the settlement of the workers Deir el Medina (three tombs) and the Temple itself.
The three days were well framed in time for the shown program, more visits would have been too much, as the impressions are really overwhelming and their grandeur has to be intaken thoroughly.

Monday: as there wasn't a ship nile-up to the Temple of Dendera we decided to take a trip to the Temple of Horus in Edfu. Mr Gamal, the owner of the hotel, organized a very quiet and trustworthy chauffeur. It took us from 10 am to 4 pm. We paid 50 € pp. We enjoyed this extra tour very much and were touched not only by the magnificent temple, but also by passing small villages, farming life and desert parts.

Tuesday: We visited the Steiner School Hebet-el-Nil not far from our hotel. Nathalie Kux from Austria had invited us. Nathalie tutors the eight teachers since the recent beginnings of the school. We were allowed to take part in the lessons for classes 1 and 2 in the morning and to have a look into kindergarten. We then had lunch with all the teachers, and at the following sitting around a pot of tea they spoke about their biographies and enthusiasm that had brought them to be a teacher at this for Egypt still unusual type of school.
Later in the afternoon we visited the Luxor Museum.
In the evening we again spent in a felukke, this time without wind, so on one way the felukke floated along with the current of the Nile and was towed back by a motor boat.

The historical monuments in Luxor have impressed me a lot, everything is unbelievably grand in dimension, beauty, architecture and pieces of art ...

The first two days we did some sight-seeing in Cairo on our own, mainly on foot, and we visited the palace of Pasha Muhamad Ali.

On the third day we took a taxi to take us to SEKEM's Heliopolis University. We luckily met Curin (her husband works as geologist at the University), a very nice woman from the Netherlands. She showed us around and gave us many insights in the University's life. In the evening a coworker from SEKEM gave us a lift to the farm, which was a highlight to visit.

We very much enjoyed the next free day on the farm grounds ... In the afternoon we were transferred to the Airport to get our flights to Luxor.

All in all I enjoyed the tour thoroughly, especially the people I met will stay in my mind, we didn't have but very few not so nice encounters. That especially as a female tourist one has to be aware of sometimes awkward or at least "funny" situations was part of our expectations before we decided for the journey...

With my best regards
Bettina Groher


I'd like to add the following:
Being a teacher I sometimes teach about Africa, so I very intensely opened my eyes and senses on our way to the Horus Temple in Edfu. I was looking for places and things that on our way back I wanted to look at again with more time and attention. Our chauffeur was perfectly willing to follow our commands. We so were able to realize how direct and close people's habitats in small villages connect their gardens and small scale farmland to the immediately adjoining desert. There was no zone between growing and desert. Right next to harvesting on the small strips of farmland one could see other plants in blossom ...

Having in mind the ancient times that developed over thousands of years in these limited growth zones having produced the wonderful art and hieroglyphes in its beauty and accuracy of measuring the world, I was deeply impressed to feel how this cultural development has been rooted in these limited strips of farmland along the Nile...

Warm regards
Ursula Locher


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