ACROSS THE RED SEA
On 9 December Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, Ida Uhse and the dragoman Abdul travel to Suez. The next morning they take a boat over the Red Sea to the Moses Springs. Three donkeys are transported on another boat and later the ladies ride for two hours to the bitter springs, eat breakfast and ride back. “We also saw the Petrified Forest. Not many would do this having ridden a donkey for four hours in high temperatures.”
It was the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 that really kick-started tourism in Egypt. The Egyptian Government organised a number of events to celebrate the inauguration and Ismail Pasha had Gezirah Palace built to accommodate visiting royalty such as Empress Eugénie of France and the Prince and Princess of Wales. The tour operator Thomas Cook also participated in the festivities, together with a party of 60 tourists. Thomas Cook later spearheaded tourism, he was the first to offer trips to Palestine, which included a visit to Egypt on the way. That was the start of the organised Nile trips with steamships.