The following comments have been made by previous clients of 'B.C. Archaeology' Study Tours:
Adrienne and Don, January 2003
"Michael. Thank you for fitting us in with your group. You have been most instructive, erudite and amusing - in fact you have made Egypt come alive for us".
Christine, January 2003.
Excerpts from an article written for WAMCAES News, the Journal of the Western Australian Museum Vol.2 , 2003, p.15-17
"In January 2003, Margaret and I boarded the plane for our first long awaited trip to Egypt. It was a mixed group, singles and married couples aged from twenties to retirees. Everyone shared an interest in Ancient Egypt albeit at varying levels. This was important because Michael's tours are not for the average tourist, but rather for those wishing to learn about ancient Egypt and experience the culture at close hand. I found it informative, exciting, extremely informative and quite intense. Our days were well planned and usually full …
One of the bonuses of going on a tour with someone like Dr Birrell was that at Saqqara he met up with Naguib Kanawati, Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University who was working in Mereruka's tomb. He gave us a personal guided tour of the tomb, explaining the work they were doing there …
We spent approximately nine days in Luxor and I think I fell in love with the place. We stayed on the West Bank at a lovely old hotel with lots of character. Our room had a balcony overlooking the water, a small garden and we could, even see the Luxor Temple. Breakfast was on the roof with a wonderful view and even though it was winter it wasn't too cold …
We had a free day in Luxor - some went shopping, one even went hot air ballooning, and some, with a tendency towards madness decided to climb a mountain. We climbed to the top of the Qurn, the pyramid mountain, way above the Valley of the Kings and incorporating the inevitable steps, 1420 of them (exactly). However, the scenery, as well as the climb, was breathtaking.
We went by bus to Aswan, stopping on the way at the Edfu temple and Kom Ombo. The buses travel in convoy under police supervision, which is good from a safety point of view but it also means the buses arrive at a site together and consequently the places are over-run with 'tourists'. Luckily, the tourists soon get bored and go to find the shops and cafes, leaving the way clear for dedicated students like ourselves …
A hint if you go with Michael - learn to count in Arabic and learn the names of the gods and goddesses - you will be tested! For a student of Ancient Egypt, or anyone really interested in the subject, I would recommend a study tour. You spend more time at sites with someone who can explain everything thoroughly and correctly. You have time to ask questions and take everything in. The emphasis is on learning not just seeing. We still found time to shop and relax and we learnt something of the modern as well as the ancient Egypt. We met the locals, tried local dishes, had lots of fun and we made new and hopefully lasting friendships. In fact I liked it so much, I'm already booked on Michael's January 2004 trip".
John and Lyn, January 2003
"Thank you, Michael, for your patience and clarity and for your understated leadership that helps create an easy, relaxed atmosphere and allows ample freedom for individuals in the group. A fine combination of education, relaxation and fun. A very rewarding experience".
Lindsay and Paul, September 2003
"Dear Michael. We did want to say again how much we enjoyed our trip with you. Normally we eschew escorted trips in favour of travelling independently. However when we were planning our trip to Egypt we felt perhaps it might be easier and more sensible to travel with someone who knew the country and its history well. Driving in from the airport to Cairo confirmed we had made the right decision. We quickly realised the idea of hiring a car and "doing" Egypt by ourselves would have been impossible and concluded that if we had attempted it we would have ended up having to join a tour as soon as we arrived in Cairo. Having heard, whilst we were travelling around, various English-speaking guides and the very mediocre, and frequently inaccurate, picture they were painting about the various monuments, we appreciated all the more your extremely knowledgeable and professional approach.
Every tourist to Egypt goes to Giza to see the pyramids but we actually found Giza rather commercialised and full of tourists. Far fewer Egyptian travellers see Saqqara which we enjoyed much more and hardly anyone makes it to Dahshur which was for us one of the highlights of our trip. It was so austere and remote and far more how we imagined the pyramids to be - magnificent huge edifices towering over a limitless sandy expanse and not a soul there - just us and a guard on a camel to appreciate them. We would never have made it to Dahshur by ourselves, or indeed, with an 'ordinary' tour and this experience was repeated over and over again. We would not have seen one-hundredth of what we saw with you if we had tried to do it independently.
There were many high points of our trip. The step and bent pyramids, the colossi at Memnon, "Ozymandias - king of kings", the nilometer at Elephantine Island, Phylae, Karnak.
The detailed explanations you gave of the reliefs, the history and archaeology and the bewildering myths and gods contributed to a fascinating and rewarding experience for us. From the walls of Medinet Habu depicting the battle of Rameses III with the boats of the Sea People to the walk in Islamic Cairo and the markets in Luxor and Aswan, our trip to Egypt with you will always remain for us a most memorable time.
I cannot think of a better way of seeing Egypt than travelling with an archaeologist who knows the country and the people so well. It was a fantastic holiday, we enjoyed every minute of it and we are both looking forward to our next trip with you".
Matt, January 2004
"Dear Michael. Thanks for the tour and the great time. I learned more and had a more enjoyable time than I thought possible in Egypt".
Christine, January 2004
"Thanks for another great study tour. Have a wonderful year and looking forward to next year".
Jeremy, January 2004
"Dear Michael. Many thanks for another terrific tour of this dusty country. Hope to be a returnee with B.C. Archaeology in the future".
Caroline, January 2004
"A great trip - looking forward to the next one!!"