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Monday, February 18, 2019

Two Days in the Delta - Tell Basta to Tanis

After touring the inside museum at Tell Basta, we were ready to move on to Tanis.  But first let's consider other travelers who have passed through Tell Basta.  The museum lists three historic routes through the surrounding countryside:
  • The path of Moses with his people leaving Egypt.
  • The path of the Holy Family fleeing into Egypt from King Herod
  • The family of Islamic prophet Muhammed, came to the area and then went on to Al Fustat which was the first Islamic capital of Egypt.
The Coptic Church gets quite specific about the journey of the Holy Family (You can find their version of the story here.)  In this version, Jesus creates a spring when the family is thirsty.  Since the Holy Family was believed to have stayed in Tell Basta, we went outside to have a look at the well associated with this miraculous spring.

Following a close inspection of the well, we prepared to set off on the 42 mile journey to Tanis.

Naturally, we were curious as to how this leg of the trip could possibly take two hours as the lady in my phone was suggesting.

The short answer to that question is, "speed bumps!"  Other impediments include donkeys, trucks, tuk-tuks and road construction.

I suppose I should add a note here that we now had an added complication.  When we signed in with the guards upon arriving at Tell Basta, we were noted as Americans.  The tourist police take special precautions on behalf of certain tourists.  We were now assigned a police escort of four men in a truck.  The two men in the back of the truck had body armor and AK-47s. At one point we were escorted by two police trucks, one in front and one behind us. We were very safe! (??)

These police would be joined by another set from the next governate as we approached Tanis.  We would have the police escort with us until we returned to metropolitan Cairo the next day.  There were at least two dozen phone calls between the units picking up security responsibility for us and Roshdy, our driver, over this time.  This does not make the driving easier.  "Are you OK?"  "Where are you?"  "When will you reach us?"

The road meandered through the rich green fields of the delta, many small towns and a number of cities.  This GPS routing through a road junction will give you some idea of the path we took.
Tanis1-2 Tanis1-1

We eventually did reach the Tanis site at about half past noon - exactly two hours and ten minutes after leaving Tell Basta - believe the lady in the phone, she is always right.

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