In my former ‘day job’ as a Project Director on a major construction scheme I hadn’t taken a holiday for some time and was in need of break – so I joined a group of similarly like-minded tourists on a week-long guided tour of the ‘tombs and temples’ in Luxor, Egypt.
We were an eclectic group – 6 women with careers ranging from PAs to CEO’s and 3 men from engineers to an ex ‘Lloyds name’. We stayed in a luxury hotel on the banks of the River Nile on the outskirts of Luxor and were accompanied each day by a guide, his assistant and a driver (our guide being an Egyptologist connected to the Cairo museum – and what he didn’t know about Ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs going back 5,000 years, wasn’t worth knowing!!)
Each morning after breakfast the minibus would pick us up and we would be taken to see some of the great historic sites – the Valley of Kings (an ancient burial ground used by the pharaohs from the 18th to the 20th dynasties that famously includes the Tomb of Tutankhamun among the 63 royal tombs), the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut (a mortuary dedicated to the longest ruling female of Ancient Egypt, which has been meticulously restored over time and decorated with statues, sphinxes and reliefs) and the Temple of Karnak (known as Ipet-isut – most select of places, and where the pharaohs built for over 2000 years). As a civil engineer I never ceased to be amazed at the skill and ingenuity this ancient civilisation had in constructing such massive monuments, without the expertise and equipment we know in modern construction today!!
We would arrive back at the hotel late morning / early afternoon, reflect on the morning’s activities over lunch around the pool, and then ‘chill out’ for the remainder of the afternoon – perhaps taking in some ‘stall shopping’ on the local market. In the evening we would reconvene and dine out in some favoured, more traditional restaurants. It was this concept of combining ancient history with local culture and cuisine – and it all being laid on for me so that I could totally relax on holiday – that gave me the idea for Essential Sailing.
So ancient history has been replaced by luxury sailing, the tour guide and driver by a skipper and host / crew and Egypt by the French & Italian Riviera initially (further destinations being planned for the future). Culture and cuisine are provided by Provencal and Tuscan society and cooking respectively. The format is ‘essentially’ the same however – activity in the morning, chill out in the afternoon and fine dining in the evening.
It’s one thing to have a dream however – yet another to make it a reality!! Till next time.
Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing – with a reputation for offering luxury boutique sailing, culture & cuisine holidays in the French & Italian Riviera. https://essentialsailing.com/