Lesley & Don Nadel

the antipodean adventurers

Lesley & Don Nadel

Two retired travellers continue roaming the world after our first great adventure.

Middle East » Israel » South District » Ashdod August 18th 2023

The Museum of Philistine Culture is an archaeological museum in Ashdod by the southern coast in Israel. The museum is dedicated to the culture of the Philistines, the ancient people who inhabited the maritime part of Israel from the 12th century BC. It is the only museum in the world completely dedicated to the Philistine people. it held our for a few hours and were impressed by the exhibits and clear explanations. Using our own smartphones we followed a free self-guided online tour in audio and text. Several languages are available and we chose English, as did the couple who accompanied us. The Philistine people dominated the Mediterranean middle east for 6 centuries from From the 12th to 7th century BCE. Their kingdom centered in ancient Caanan with its seat of power on the southeastern Mediterranean ... read more
Philistine empire collapsing
Philistine archeology
Philistine religious artifacts

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 27th 2022

Early wakeup, with bags out by 6.30am as we were off to the airport early to catch our flight home. In the morning we flew from Luxor to Cairo. Then there was a wait to change planes and we flew home to Israel. Egypt-Air provided kosher meals on all the flights. Although the final flight was just over an hour long, the airline had obtained full dinner packs for us kosher passengers compared to the simple sandwich served to others. Unfortunately that meant 40 minutes to warm the food, and insufficient time to eat it. Many people including us brought home whatever we could salvage to eat later. Yesterday on the bus everyone had PCR tests for Covid and all results were negative. But today after landing in Israel, a majority of the group tested positive ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 26th 2022

After breakfast we went back across the Nile by boat again to the Valley of the Kings area. This time our focus was the Ramesseum, the massive memorial temple of Ramses II, the Pharaoh of the Exodus. We saw the massive inscription of his 80 year reign, full of references that bring alive the story of the Exodus and the building of the Mishkan. The temple is surrounded by mudbrick storehouses that date from the period of the Exodus. At this site we entered several tombs. Migo and Rabbi Berman pointed out many relevant hieroglyphs and coloured images. Their explanations helped us understand how the Egyptian kings told their story through artwork. In particular they highlighted elements which could relate to biblical references. . On the bus we all had PCR tests for Covid, required before ... read more
Theban Necropolis of Rameses
to Rameses V/VI tomb
Tomb of Rameses V/VI

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Valley of the Kings January 25th 2022

Day 9 for us started nice and late! There was a contingent that got up at the crack of dawn to catch a balloon to travel over the Valley of the Kings. We enjoyed the luxury of a lie in! Then after a delayed breakfast because the balloon participants arrived back late, it was on the bus to go to the Valley of the Kings. The Greeks named the Egyptian capital area around Luxor ‘Thebes‘ so this burial valley is also known as the Theban Necropolis. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile. To get there we boarded a boat and went for a ride along the Nile to cross to the other side. Once at the site it was off the bus and onto a cart to get down to the tombs ... read more
Valley of the Kings
Coloured art in Tomb 96
Temple of Horus

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 24th 2022

When I said we were up early, I meant early! 0400, bags outside the room at 0430 and on the bus at 0500. We just had time to grab a bite to eat and make our sandwiches for the day. We arrived at the airport in no time - there is little traffic at this time of day - checked in and sitting around waiting for our flight to Luxor. The name Luxor is the modern Arabic name meaning palaces. The ancient Egyptian name was Waset, meaning the city of the sceptre. It was the ruling centre. The Greeks renamed the city Thebes and it became the capital of Egypt. The Arabs couldn’t say Thebes and so it became Luxor which means temples in Arabic. The city became important during the 11th dynasty when the town ... read more
huge Karnak Temple columns
Karnak Temple ram heads
lonely Luxor Temple obelisk

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Giza » Saqqarah January 23rd 2022

What a treat we had in store today! Today we got on the bus to visit the Pyramids! These are from the 4th dynasty. Whilst in the bus we learned some old Egyptian. The area we passed through is called Memphis which is a Greek name. The original name of Memphis was Menefer - Men = harbour and nefer = beautiful. To get to the pyramids we crossed to the east side of the Nile and passed the tomb for a minister from the 6th dynasty. At this time many vizirs were stronger than the kings. As we approached the Pyramids of Giza we were aware of these large edifices standing in the middle of the desert. The shape of them relates to the creation story. The world was flooded and as the flood subsided the ... read more
the Pyramids are huge (?!)
deep descent into pyramid
The enigmatic Sphinx

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo January 22nd 2022

Shabbat - a real day of rest! I decided to skip shul and daven in the room. I really enjoyed "my time" while Don participated in the group service. At 10.30am I joined the rest of the group and we made kiddush and had brunch which was a special milky meal. Then Rabbi Berman gave a drasha and then it was sleep time! Some people went out for walks, but we just quietly read and rested. We all got together again at 4 pm when we had seudah shlishit with lots of singing. Again the table was set nicely with real crockery and cutlery. Then free time until after shabbat when Rabbi Berman gave an instructive PowerPoint presentation. He explained in further detail some of the scenes and hieroglyphics we had seen and would explore in ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo January 21st 2022

Up and out a bit later than usual and off to Fustat, the old quarter of Cairo. For me it was a bit disappointing that we were unable to visit the Genizah. The Genizah is being refurbished. The Genizah (literally meaning the treasury) is a treasury of old documents which contained Hebrew letters and which people didn’t want to throw away. So they were deposited in the Genizah. Holy books are buried but the fragments of the documents are an amazing pot pourri of social history. The documents were in Hebrew, Aramaic and Judea-Arabic. Fragments of ketubot (wedding contracts) are particularly interesting as they set out not only terms of the marriage – what each side will bring – but also what will happen in the event of divorce; they are a bit like prenuptial agreements. ... read more
Ben Ezra Synagogue holds the Genizah
Maimonides synagogue view from Women's gallery
Maimonides study in the synagogue

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan January 20th 2022

The day didn’t start too well for me (Lesley). I was upset that the people who were the most anxious about the trip before we left and wanted to cancel, refused to wear masks. I’m afraid I got quite cross at breakfast. We then left on the bus to go to a new embarkation point with a decent gangplank to travel up the Nile to Elephantine Island. This island is important to the Jewish community as papyri documents have been found relating to the oldest Jewish diaspora community. The site itself is much bigger than I thought it would be. It is 1200 meters from north to south and 300 meters at its widest point. It is believed that it was called Elephantine because from the air the island looks like an elephant’s tusk. However, how ... read more
Elephantine ruins
Temple at Elephantine
Altar at Elephantine

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Abu Simbel January 19th 2022

This morning we welcomed the new arrivals at our 7 am breakfast. Now we totalled 33 tourists, plus Rabbi Berman and tour leader Cindy accompanied by Egyptian guide Migo and Egyptian tour operator John. By 8 am we were on the bus for our three hour drive south to Abu Simbel. Unfortunately this was the first of several occasions of what I will call the mask war. I politely asked a member of the group to wear a mask to be told that he couldn’t do it for three hours! . En route we learnt some more history and geography of Egypt. In the Pharoah’s time there were seven branches to the Nile delta – today there are only two as five have dried up. Between the years 1500 - 1200 BCE was the zenith of ... read more
entering Abu Simbel temple
Rabbi + Migo show Nubian slaves
Battle of Kadesh in Abu Simbel temple

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