Subject: Re: Israel, Jordan, Egypt
Dear Felice,

I think you have got a very sound advice from previous posters.

I went to Egypt two years ago on a trip organized by a travel agency from my home town. They have been doing those Egypt trips since more than 30 years ago, and everybody travelling with them ends up really happy (including the really "hard" "on-my-own" travellers). I went at the beginning of the month of September, and didnīt find the heat unbearable (mind you, it was the year of the big heat wave here in Europe, and I guess that after tramping across Toledo with 48 degrees, anything around 40 sounded cool enough). The trip was one of those typical "cruise + Cairo stay", 10 days in total, and every day full.

I really cannot find something that disappointed me. We didnīt have any extra excursion, everything was booked and paid before leaving Bilbao (including the tips for the guides and the boat crew and the baksheesh for the people in the monuments ... that was only 40 Euros, far, far cheaper than other trips ...). The trip was a bit on the expensive side, but the boat ( Nile Vision ) was brand new, with full bathrooms and really nice, and the hotel in Cairo ( Hyatt ) was great (very good looking people working there, and a great disco just by the door). We went to a few places other groups werenīt going (such as Abydos and Dendera, high security in these two cases, with armed soldiers in the bus), or the Aswan market after midnight (everybody was hanging around, buying the food for the next day, great spices there, and also good peanuts and pistacchio nuts).

I seem to remember that you mentioned doing Egypt, Israel and Jordania in 15, 18 days. I donīt feel itīs enough time at all for the three countries, no matter how near they are.

Regarding Israel, most of the people in Spain travel there with the Franciscan Brothers. They have become specialists in Holy Land trips, and in fact, if you go to really good travel agencies here, you get sent to them ( Byblos does it, and so El Corte Ingles). They are pretty good, not only for catholics. I donīt know if they have something similar in Canada, but they might be worth checking.

My aunts are just back from Israel. They have come back really delighted, and they also had a pretty full 12- days trip. Some of the people in the group joined a 5 day extension to Jordania (Petra being the main part of it, but you shouldnīt forget the Decapolis cities. The roman heritage is pretty strong there).

I think that you should look into two different trips : either Egypt + Jordania, or Israel + Jordania. And I am very sorry, but I donīt know which one to recommend to you. I guess if you are really spiritual, Israel is a must, but Egypt has something fascinating that I wasnīt expecting. One must see at least once the Pyramids (think of Napoleon), Abu Simbel, the valleys of the Kings and Queens, the temple of Hatshepsut before the sun rises, Luxor ... and, of course, the Nile ... Never a sunset has been more breathtaking, and never swimming in a river has been more exhilarating ...

BTW, I have some pictures that might help you to decide ...

And regarding security, I felt it was quite high. Tourism industry is very important in Egypt. Another thing that everybody told us it was the number of american tourists had decreased inmensely.

Kind regards, Covadonga Bilbao / Madrid - Spain