Embroiderers of Cairo

16 Days | 29 Oct – 13 Nov, 2019

$AUD8256 per person, departing Cairo

A journey throughout Egypt focussing on millennia of textile expertise experienced in Edwardian style. Utilising attractive accommodation, dahabiya  boats developed by the British to cruise the Nile in Style, and wonderful meals, guests not only experience the diversity of excellent textiles and crafts, but do so in a way reminiscent of past times.

Tour is hosted with Textile Expert Nancy Hoskins and assisted by Christine Pearson, a Director of Intentionally Different Travel as Tour Concierge.

The programme

Nancy explains that “Egypt’s textile history spans thousands of years. Rare Pharaonic, Coptic, and Islamic fabrics in linen, wool, silk and cotton, that were preserved on the tombs of kings, queens and nobles and in humble sandy burial grounds, are now displayed in museum collections along with the amazing art work of Egypt.

“Our small group travels along the Nile Valley from Alexandria to Abu Simbel as our textile theme weaves together fabric from 5000 B.C. to contemporary cloth created by craftsmen and women, cottage industries, and commercial enterprises that export Egyptian cotton worldwide”

In Cairo we have enough time to explore many important sights  in the heart of the medieval city. We see the old city gates, visit Ottoman homes and there’s time to browse the celebrated Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. A ‘must’ are the fine textile collections in the Coptic, Egyptian, Islamic, and Textile museums.

At Haraniya, we make a special visit to a weaving centre established by Ramses Wissa Wassef, in the 1950’s, where local villagers still learn how to create magnificent tapestries. Wissa Wassef was an architect and Professor of Fine Art at Cairo University and he is considered by many to be the ‘father’ of Cairo’s modern tapestry industry.

We then travel by overnight sleeper train to Luxor and board our five-star Edwardian era dahabiya for the next five days to Aswan. In Luxor we see all the sights including the superb Luxor Museum and the Valley of the Kings. On cruise we visit the temples at Edfu and Komombo and in Aswan we make a special visit to the Nubian Museum. There is also time for an optional side trip to see the great temples at Abu Simbel. A highlight is our late afternoon camel ride to St Simeon’s Monastery.

Nile Dahabiya

We also have the opportunity to meet local Nubian women in their home, where they make traditional caps and baskets.

Our final visit is to Alexandria, an important metropolis since antiquity founded by Alexander the Great. It is a very pleasant coastal city reflecting on the Edwardian Age with excellent museums and an outstanding new library that has already achieved worldwide acclaim.

Then return to Cairo, and home.

Dates and costs

16 days/15 nights | 29 October – 13 November, 2019

$AUD8256 per person twin share, joining in Cairo

*Single supplement: Hotel only = $998. Including Nile Cruise = $1985

Itinerary

Tuesday, 29 Oct- Day 1: Cairo

Arriving into Cairo you will be met and transferred to our hotel. This afternoon we begin with the first of many highlights – viewing the Pyramids and Sphinx. Welcome get-together lunch. (L)

Wednesday, 30 Oct- Day 2 to Day 5, Saturday, 02 November: Cairo Explored in Depth

Over the next days we intersperse ancient sites – mosques, pyramids, and tombs with museums, the fascinating Old Quarter, weaving centres and more.

Our program includes:

The ruins of Memphis and nearby Sakkara and the Step Pyramid, Heb Sed court and some of the magnificent Old Kingdom tombs.

We inspect he Byzantine churches of ‘Old Cairo’ and the Coptic Museum, with its fine collection of textiles. Then we visit the spectacular Mosque of Ibn Tulun, and two historic Ottoman houses, now the Gayer-Anderson Museum. A visit to the Egyptian Museum or the Grand Egyptian Museum is on our list depending on the availability.

Also in ’Old Cairo’ we visit the complex of Sultan Hassan. Other visits include Bab Zuweila, Wikalat al Ghuri and Al Azhar Mosque. Then, after browsing the Khan el Khalili bazaar we can have dinner at a local cafe.

We return to the medieval city to visit Bab al Futah and walk to the Siheimi House, a historic 16th century Ottoman home and onto the fabulous Textile Museum where we receive a personal visit.

 A special highlight is a visit to the Wissa Wassef weaving centre and dinner at Al Azhar Park.

We depart Cairo on the evening deluxe sleeper train (with simple dinner) to Luxor. (B, 3D)

Sunday, 03 Nov- Day 6: Luxor

Arrive Luxor and visit Karnak Temple and the superb Luxor Museum, with an afternoon visit to the bazaar. (BL)

Monday, 04 Nov- Day 7: Sail the Nile by Dahabiya Luxor to Esna

Board our chartered 10 cabin comfortable dahabiya and sail to the celebrated Valley of the Kings, the splendid Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon. Cruise towards Edfu.

All meals are served on board and there is plenty of time to relax. (BLD)

Tuesday, 05 Nov- Day 8: Nile by Dahabiya Edfu-Komombo-Aswan

Arrive Edfu and visit the Temple of Horusl. (BLD)

Wednesday, 06 Nov – Day 9: Nile by Dahabiya – Aswan

We visit the temple of Sobek and Komombo. Arrive Aswan in the evening. (BLD)

Thursday, 07 Nov- Day 10: Nile by Dahabiya – Aswan

This morning we have time for an optional tour to Abu Simbel (must be pre-booked).

We plan to visit the Nubian Museum before visiting a Nubian village for lunch where we meet women who make traditional Nubian caps, baskets and beadwork. Later we travel by boat and camel to the spectacular St Simeon’s Monastery for sunset. (BLD)

Friday, 08 Nov – Day 11: Aswan – Cairo.

In the morning we visit Philae Temple (Isis temple). After lunch we fly to Cairo (B)

Saturday, 09 Nov- Day 12 to Day 13, Sunday, 10 Nov: Cairo – Alexandria

Over the next two days we visit an amazing small business that makes an outstanding range of soft furnishing treatments. We also go to the excellent Alexandria Museum and the stunning new library, and the Greco-Roman Museum. Our hotel, located on the Corniche is perfect to join the locals at a coffee shop for a mint tea or coffee and perhaps a shisha and generally getting a ‘feel’ for this popular seaside resort city during the Edwardian years. (B)

Monday, 11 Nov, Day 14 to Day 15, Tuesday, 12 Nov: Alexandria – Cairo

Return to Cairo, stopping on the way to enjoy an Egyptian Fateer for lunch. Explore Sharia Khayamiya – the tentmakers bazaar, where local artisans produce superb quilts and other items.

At Khan el Khalili Bazaar there is time for last minute shopping and our last dinner. (BD)

Wednesday, 13 Nov- Day 16: Depart Cairo for Home or Elsewhere

Transfer to Cairo Airport for our departure where our tour comes to an end. (B)

The trip price includes:

Services of Nancy Hoskins as our textile expert and Christine Pearson as tour concierge. Arrival and departure transfers, all transportation, 4-star hotels, 5-star Nile Dahabiya Cruise, sightseeing, entrance fees, local English-speaking guides, flight Aswan- Cairo, sleeper train Cairo-Luxor. Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Gratuities are included.

Items not included are:

International airfares to Cairo. Visa fees (available on arrival at Cairo Airport). Insurance – compulsory on all of our escorted tours. Additional meals. Drinks. Optional tour to Abu Simbel. Spending of a personal nature, e.g. laundry, souvenirs, phone calls etc.

Additional Expenses

For meals not included you should allow around US$20-25 for lunch and around USD$25-30 for dinner. In addition, you should allow for drinks and any personal shopping you may wish to do. There is plenty to purchase in the bazaars including textiles of all sorts, gold and silver jewellery, papyrus paintings and brass and copper items – so be prepared!

The cost of the Abu Simbel excursion is $USD295 per person including transport, flights, the entrance fee and a local guide. This must be pre-booked and is paid locally in US Dollars cash.

What We Provide

Accommodation

In Cairo our superior 4-star hotel is located in downtown Cairo providing good connections to the many attractions we visit. Between Luxor and Aswan, we travel aboard a 5-star chartered dahabiya with comfortable cabins, private facilities, a bar, restaurant, and spacious sundeck. In Alexandria we continue the Edwardian theme and stay at a lovely colonial hotel, built in 1904, in the heart of the city, overlooking the harbour. *Single cabins are limited on dahabiya and the supplement is not applied if we can’t provide a single use cabin.

Food and drink

Daily breakfast is included and all meals while cruising and four other dinners. Meals offer a choice of Egyptian and international cuisine with soups, salads, meat dishes, pasta and variety of desserts. In Cairo there will be an opportunity to eat at a number of local restaurants with recommendations provided by Nancy and Christine. Bottled water is widely available throughout Egypt and soft drinks are also easy to find. Alcoholic drinks (local beer and wines) are available in tourist hotels.

Flights

This tour has been designed to fit perfectly with the Emirates and Emirates into and out of Cairo. It is possible, however, to travel with other carriers that services Cairo. Contact us to discuss options.

Note on Prices

Prices are correct as at January 2019, and based on AUD-USD exchange rates at the time. Any moderate change may mean adjusting the price. Prices are in Australian dollar AUD.

Joining instructions

This detail and many others are provided with our comprehensive trip information booklet.

Reservations

Email to: robert@intent.id.au to send an inquiry. Or download our Reservation Form.

To secure your place, please email your intention to join Textiles of Egypt. You will then receive a reservation form to complete. Your option is held for seven days secured by receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person. Deposit is refunded if minimum numbers are not reached.

Your expert tour host

Nancy Hoskins

Based in the US, Nancy Hoskins, author, artist and teacher, has lectured, taught, and studied worldwide. Egyptian textiles, which have been the focus of her research in museums around the world, led to the publication of “The Coptic Tapestry Albums and the Archaeologist of Antinoé, Albert Gayet”.

Nancy also has a recent series of ten articles on “The Tutankhamun Textiles” and “Patterned Fabrics found in Egyptian Tomb Paintings” and other titles including “Weft Faced Pattern Weaves: Tabby to Taqueté” and “Universal Stiches for Weaving, Embroidery, and Other Fiber Arts”. Nancy was a college weaving instructor from 1981 to 1996. She has participated in solo and group exhibits in several US states as well as Australia. She is currently teaching weaving workshops, writing, exhibiting, researching and presenting lectures.