19 Nov 2 days in ancient Egypt
Egypt, the ancient land of the pharaohs and living gods that has kept the world in wonder for thousands of years.
If like me you’ve wondered about the safety of coming here, or even had very low expectations of a visit to this country, well let me tell you: it was the opposite. I was very impressed. With over 97million people living in this mostly Islamic part of Africa, it left us wondering what a quick visit would look like.
Let’s not forget that Egypt is one of the oldest human civilizations and they gave us so many precious things, among which the 9 that I’m gonna share with you today.
The pyramids of Giza are the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World, and until this day no one really knows how they were built. To make our visit even more authentic we went on camel back through the Sahara desert city that was home to thousands of slaves. Did you know that the pyramids were tombs for the pharaohs and their families? I learned the names of each of them- ok I tried to learn- but instead I learned a little song and dance.
I also want to say that we visited in October and that’s why you don’t see so many people around us. We avoided the tourist season and so we were lucky to have the whole place just to ourselves.
The Egyptian Museum
Many of the treasures found inside the pyramids are kept at the Egyptian Museum, where we saw the most amazing artefacts, mummies and sacred coffins. We also saw the very famous jeweled mask of Tutankhamun, the Golden Pharaoh.
The Pharaonic papyrus museum
Of course, ancient Egyptians are among the first civilizations to write down their history on paper, and the amazing way they did that was by growing Papyrus fields and developing their own method of turning the plant into parchment.
It was fascinating to discover this ancient art, and that it is still ongoing on the banks of the Nile.
The Nile cruise
Egypt’s history is closely associated with the Nile River, a river so majestic that it was considered the source of all life by the ancient Egyptians. The Nile is the longest river in the world, and it was the reason of the success of ancient Egypt, since it was the only water source in the desert. We had a great time on a Nile cruise that showed us the beautiful views and entertained us with good food and a world class dancing show (of course not mine haha).
This souk is a must see for the authentic and colorful experience. It’s a popular market, a great place to sit down and enjoy a shisha, or to hunt for bargains as we did, and we found beautiful hand-made rugs that we couldn’t resist.
While walking through the souk everyone kept commenting on my 3 girl friends who were with me on this trip, thinking that I had 3 wives. Of course these were actually my best friends who came on this adventure with me, but don’t be shocked: in certain parts of Egypt it’s normal to have 4 wives.
And don’t forget, like I always say, whenever you are in a souk, bargaining is part of the whole experience.
The Library of Alexandria
The most famous library in the ancient world is not just an architectural gem. It is also the first digital libraries in the world, and it is home to 8 million books, museums, research centers and art galleries. Talk about a culture overdose! I feel smarter just having visited the place.
The Citadel of Qaitbay
This defense fortress was built on the legendary lighthouse of Pharos which was destroyed by an earthquake. The imposing structure was built by the sultan Qaitbay to protect the city from foreign threats, and it has been kept in excellent condition and restored through the years. It was a fun way of exploring it with some of the locals, and we enjoyed the many gorgeous views that it offered of the marina below and its many other attractions.
The Pompey Pillar
This Roman edifice was thought to have the ashes of the great Roman general Pompey, who had visited Alexandria while it was under Roman rule. The column was made as a gift for the city’s Emperor, and it still stands today overlooking one of the city’s largest cemeteries.
The Abul Abbas al Mursi Mosque
A great way to end our trip was by visiting this magnificent building that contains the catacomb of the Sufi saint Abul Abbas al Mursi, who came from Andalusia to become a great Egyptian teacher. It is simply breathtaking with a large golden dome, intricately carved and lavishly decorated in blue details. A note to remember that you should dress conservatively when entering a mosque and also avoid going during the time of prayer.
While the sun was setting on our adventure, we said a silent prayer and enjoyed these moments of peace and tranquility looking out to the horizon that I hope you will get to experience yourself.
In the end I felt like we could take many more days for a vacation in Egypt but I was satisfied with our little trip through this birthplace of civilization and I do wish to come back here someday to complete my visit through the whole country.
Life is an adventure so go live it, and as always stay safe.
Ruen on the road