Jean-François Champollion broke the code of the hieroglyphs on 14 September 1822. But this didn't yet mean understanding how old the culture of the pharaohs was, or any of its details. This next milestone Champollion achieved six years later when he embarked on a two-year expedition to Egypt and became the first person to read the hieroglyphs on the monuments that had been built along the Nile for three thousand years. Single-handedly he paved the way for the scientific expeditions that would follow in his footsteps. Every day brought new discoveries and insights which he excitedly recorded in his letters and diaries. But he also marvelled at the lives of the 'modern' descendants of the ancient Egyptians and in these letters he provides a snapshot of both cultures, showing how little had changed in five millennia.