The ‘trip of a lifetime’

Hardin couple explores the depths of ancient Egypt

The Ellis’ had their picture taken with antiquities expert Dr. Zahi Hawass in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza. (Photo courtesy of Kirk and Linda Ellis)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

While flipping through a magazine found in his doctor’s office, Hardin resident Kirk Ellis found an ad for a unique trip through Egypt that would take him and his wife, Linda, on an archaeological tour unlike any other.

“I came home and told Linda, ‘I want to do this trip,’” Kirk said. “And she says, ‘I’m kind of afraid to go.’”

The couple discussed the tensions in Egypt, as well as with the folks at the agency that organized the tour. The Ellises were told that travel problems are a “misconception about Egypt.”

Satisfied they would be safe, the couple didn’t waste any time booking the tour, eager to set off on a new adventure.

Booking a “royal tour”

The Ellises both said they didn’t see any turmoil while in Egypt from Feb. 19 to March 9 of this year.

“We’ve been to Egypt before,” Kirk said. “But this trip was with Zahi Hawass, known as the king of Egyptian antiquities.”

Hawass is a well-known Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist and former minister of state for antiquities affairs. He has worked at archeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert and the upper Nile valley.

The tour, booked through the Archaeological Paths website, features lectures and private tours with Hawass as the main draw of the tour.  As an added bonus, everyone on the tour was to meet Jehan Sadat, widow of the late Egyptian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Anwar Sadat.

“We got to go into her home and have tea,” Linda said.

“It’s a first-class operation,” Kirk said of the tour. “Dr. Hawass is the Donald Trump of Egypt because he’s so well known,” he said. “I told him so – he loved it!”

Hawass, who had broken an ankle shortly before the tour, still managed to conduct four presentations with the tour group.

“He’s so energetic,” Kirk said. “You can see it in his eyes. He just lights up when he talks about this stuff (ancient Egypt).”

Hawass had the keys to all the archaeological sites the tour group visited, including ones that other tours were unable to enter.

The complete story is in the Friday, June 2, 2017, Living 50-Plus edition of the Richmond News.

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