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Patricia May 16th, 2001 08:45 AM

Magic Carpet
<BR> I want to know, if you had a magic carpet and you could fly off into the night (let's say to the Mid East), where would you go first and why? <BR> <BR> What sounds, sights, and events would make this trip one to remember and why would you recommend it for a newcomer to the region? <BR> <BR>Thanks for playing along with my what if game! <BR>Patricia

Mily May 16th, 2001 03:58 PM

I've only been to Egypt and Turkey and although I loved both trips, I would strongly recommend Egypt. I think the fact that the culture shock in this country was greater, made it a tremendously exciting destination. Turkey is more modern in many aspects including religious customs (Islam). Istanbul is a very modern city, while Cairo is more rustic. Its history I found very interesting, the sights are breathtaking, the people are very friendly and the food was awsome. Taking a Nile cruise and visiting the city of Luxor (Karnak Temple) are a must! Enjoy your trip.

PatriciaV2 May 16th, 2001 06:56 PM

<BR> Mily, <BR> <BR> Thank you for your post! I have been strongly considering Egypt as well. I have always wanted to go, and maybe now is the time.:) Did you go independently or with a tour? <BR> <BR>Thanks for your help! <BR>Patricia <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

Mily May 17th, 2001 09:46 AM

Patrica...I visited Egypt with Contiki Holidays. Unless you are a very seasoned and adventurous traveller, my personal recommendation would be taking a tour, at least for the first few days. Still, I have read a lot of postings in this site of people who have travelled on their own and had a wonderful experience.

Dick May 17th, 2001 12:57 PM

Patricia, <BR> <BR>I would probably return to Israel. Would like to see more of old city of Jerusalem but not so much the more noted mosques/churches. Want to revisit Masada on my own. Beth Shean and similar sites intrigued me. Sea of Galilee and Jordan Valley were great. <BR> <BR>Egypt would be nice also. Agree with idea of escorted tour as we did last June. But, I would leave a day or two at either end of the trip so we could go off on our own with local guide. Our look-see at Luxor and Karnak was simply too short given all that is there. Same might apply to Valley of the Kings/Queens. <BR> <BR>Dick

PatriciaV2 May 17th, 2001 07:15 PM

Mily, <BR> <BR> I am really considering taking a tour wherever I decide to go, b/c I'm definitely not that seasoned of a traveller. Egypt sounds wonderful. Do you have any more traveller's tips? <BR> <BR>Thanks for all your help! <BR>Patricia

PatriciaV2 May 17th, 2001 07:18 PM

Dick, <BR> <BR> Israel also sounds very nice and at some point I will definitely take a Holy Land tour! What is Beth Shean exactly and what was it like? <BR> <BR>Thanks for your help! <BR>Patricia

Mily May 18th, 2001 05:02 AM

Patricia...if you decide to make Egypt your final destination, you must visit Abu Simbel (close to the Sudan border). We took a very early tour bus (5AM) to get there and it was a 3hr trip through the desert. On our way we saw camel herds and a beautiful desert sunrise. I've read in this forum of a lot of people taking morning flights to see this sight. Either way it is worth the trip. Also, look for tours that include a train ride either from Cairo to Aswan or vice-versa. This was a wonderful experience also. The exchange rate was very good when I was there a few years ago and I took US$ with me. When bargaining at the bazaars always ask for the vendor to give the first price and don't pay more than 30%-40% of this. They always want you to give a price first, that way they know what you think the merchandise should be worth. Hope this info helps.

Dick May 18th, 2001 09:55 AM

Patricia, Bet (I spelled it Beth--undoubtedly due to having a daughter Beth) Shean is steeped in history of the area. Located on the crossroads between Jordan and Israel it was important commerce center way back when. Digs in the area have documented some 15-plus different occupational levels. One of the 10 cities of the Decapolis during the time of Christ. Lots of water in the midst of somewhat arid land. Ruins continue to be uncovered. The 5,000 capacity Roman theater really impressed me as well as the mosaic tile floor being unearthed as we watched June/2001. I guess I really took to the place and would like to revisit but more on my own. I looked around on the web and noted pictures of Bet Shean on the site under their diary/israel portion. In referencing that web site I am in no way endorsing that particular business (nor being negative on it either) but the pictures were great. Thanks for giving me reason to recall our trip last year while I checked out the pics. <BR>Dick

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