In the early years of my tours I gradually added the places I wanted to go in the Bible world that I thought were important in Bible study. By the third tour in 1970 I included Iraq. Our group took a flight from Beirut, Lebanon, to Baghdad, Iraq, for a few days in the country. The visit concentrated on seeing the ancient sites of Ur, Babylon and Nineveh.
We had a view of one of the branches or canals of the Euphrates at Babylon. Perhaps my first certain view of the famous river was at Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.
How did we move around in the historic area? From Baghdad on the Tigris river we traveled by bus to Hillah for a visit of the ruins of ancient Babylon long before Saddam Hussein made an effort to rebuilt the city. After the visit we had dinner and then waited until about 10 p.m. to take the night train to Ur Junction near Nasiriyah. There our sleeper car was sidetracked and we had the day to visit the site suggested by Sir Leonard Wooley as Ur of Chaldeans. That identification was generally accepted at the time, but more recently some have argued that biblical Ur should be identified with Urfa, or the general area, in northern Mesopotamia now in modern Turkey.
When we returned from visiting Ur we had some time along the Euphrates River before our train to Baghdad came. I recall this view of the Euphrates at dusk to be one of my best memories of the trip.
When the Basra-Baghdad train arrived our sleeper car was picked up and we were in Baghdad by morning.
One of the ladies in our group, Marilyn Hardage, was known as an outstanding student and teacher. She was making copious notes as we had already visited Rome, Athens, Cairo, Lebanon, and Damascus. Perhaps as an oversight her notebook was left on the train. Do you suppose someday Marilyn’s notebook will be discovered?