At 8:45am the 8-person Madison contingent gathered at the Dutch Mill Park & Ride lot to catch the Van Galder Bus to O'Hare airport. The eight travelers were:
Harry Fischer, Waunakee, WI Sharon Franklin, Evansville, WI Terri Gates, DeForest, WI Connie Jacobus, Madison WI Gordon Govier, Monona WI Gary & Judy Lindberg, DeForest WI, and their daughter Shawn Jacobsen, Dallas, OR
After stops at Janesville, South Beloit and Rockford, we arrived at O'Hare in plenty of time for our 3:30 departure. There we were met the rest of our group
David and Laura Taylor, Tallahassee FL Pat Lohrengel, Beverly Hills MI, and her son Ben Lohrengel.We were met at O'Hare by Joe Benedetti of TTI Travel, who had our tickets. Prior to boarding we had time to grab a bite at the convenient restaurant and get acquainted with each other. Aside from several family contingents, most of us didn't know each other before this trip. We came in contact with each other through Gordon, our leader, through his BOOK & THE SPADE radio program on Biblical Archaeology or through the ARTIFAX, the archaeology newsletter he edits.
Alitalia Flight 627 left at 3:30pm. We arrived at Milan's Malpensa Airport at 7:245am on February 23rd after an enjoyable flight during which most people slept when not having meals served. With a 2.5 hour layover I began my search for a functional carry-on bag, having destroyed mine by trying to fit one more item (my sweater) into it. Pat was gracious enough to donate an extra bag she carried for the interim. The news recently has been filled with stories of destructive avalanches in the Alps. Looking off to the north we can see angry clouds covering the mountains.
At 10:00am we boarded Alitalia Flight 882 for Cairo. After a comparatively short flight over the Mediterranean we arrived in dusty Cairo. A representative of our tour company, The International Travel Center of Heliopolis, whisked us through customs and we piled onto our bus. We drove through Cairo's rush hour, crossed the Nile River, and arrived at Pyramids Park Hotel in Giza about dusk.
The hotel was within site of the pyramids and was very convenient for the time spent in Egypt. Room assignments were distributed and a short time later dinner was served. Before retiring we exchanged some dollars for Egyptian pounds and visited the gift shop in the hotel.