Egypt: The sandy land of the Mummies and the Pyramids

The obelisk stands tallOur annual family trip plan meandered through various options until it finally reached in the ‘desert’ed ,(yet brimming with tourists ) land of the pharaohs, the mummies and the great pyramids!
My heart was filled with an ecstasy which can’t be explained in just a few synonyms. So, we set off through the Qatar Airways, and as we neared Cairo, I kept peeking out of my window to get a glimpse of the pyramids (impatience was never a sin). Me and my misfortune landed on the grey ribbon of runway laid on the huge cloth of sand.
The Cairo Airport was unwelcoming, so was the city traffic. We used to snail through the traffic jams while looking onto the pedestrians crossing us.

Right after we landed, we rushed to see the light and sound show at the Pyramid complex at Giza. It was indeed beautiful and gave us a brief summary of the history of what we were about to see the next morning.
 ......
After a good night’s sleep at the Shepheard’s hotel, one of the oldest in Cairo, we reached the pyramids again.
And this time, the feeling of being right in front of the grandiose wonder of the world, touched our hearts.
 The rays of light Not to be missed - Facebook profile picture
We entered the Great Pyramid, and stooped low while climbing the steep ramp that lead us to the chamber where the coffin was kept. It had been removed, but the feeling of being in the pyramid, with yellow lights placed alternately in the narrow path surrounded by stones- was similar to being filmed for a movie like the Indiana Jones.
The hieroglyphs ...
After clicking the usual photos from the panoramic view point, we went inside the Queen’s Pyramid, and then in the compound the Great Sphinx.
LOL The Sphinx

Our shades and the beautiful backgrounds behind us kept our temptations to keep clicking the photographs.
Before we went on to catch our overnight train to Aswan we ate. Never realized taking photographs was so exhausting! We being vegetarians have little choice most of the times but looked like some angel up there did not want us to eat a pizza from pizza hut even in Egypt. We ate a dish called ‘Kosharey’.
YUM I wanna eat this again
A bowl filled with noodles, macaroni, beans, lintels, and sauce. SIMPLY YUM.
On the way to the station we stopped over at two showrooms. Both famous for the famous souvenirs one must buy from Egypt- Papyrus paintings and Perfume bottles. And we went to Aswan, gulping down the Falafels for our dinner.
At Aswan, we visited a a rose granite quarry wherein was kept an unfinished obelisk, and the famous temple of Philae ( whose entire complex was dismantled and reshifted as a UNESCO project).
 
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Here , Crocy boy! I wonder why this rope around its mouth.
Our evening was spent in a nubian village where we saw live crocodiles being kept as pets in each of the houses.
Cute nubian boy.
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Aboard the cruise.
The cruise itself was an unforgettable experience. Especially when you have a room with a view- A view that resurrects the poet in your heart.
Room with a view
समुद्र के नीले दुपट्टे पे सलवट
हर सलवट को हवा छू जाए
वो दूर की हरियाली को देखने के लिए
दुपट्टा खुद एक आइना बन जाए




   पहाड़ो के पैरों पर पड़े पेड़
   उन रेगिस्तान के अचलों का आशीर्वाद मिल जाए
   जब उनके उम्र और तजुर्बा मिलें
   तो स्वयं भगवान् बन जाए




What was more lovely, was the really cute way the housekeeping used to set up our rooms for us everyday.
 
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We sailed to the temple of Kom Ombo, then visited the temple of Edfu in the afternoon.
     Grand.
The second morning was followed by a visit to West luxor, where we saw the valley of kings and went down in the natural pyramids of Ramses the Second. There’s also the Temple of Hatshepsut nearby, a very renown female Pharaoh.
Ehm. :P
Next stop, east Luxor- a very good area which invited us to the huge and seemingly infinite Karnak temple. Egypt is a place that will be only enjoyed if you have a guide with you( which we fortunately had, and a great one at that). The way the history unfolds and you realize that the walls, the carvings, the monumental standings were made like 4000 years ago, the beauty of the place hits you hard.
The obelisk stands tall  
Our next visit was to the Luxor temple. The pictures here show the obelisks, the great colonnade and Alexander the Great’s cartouche.
Then we flew back to Cairo from Luxor, and went to Alexandria by a long road trip.
The horse carriage.. So in the trip as a whole, we covered many means of transport( Including a horse ride!).
and the horse!

Before the road trip to Alexandria, our evening at Cairo was spent in a divine place. Watching Sufi Dancing with music was one of the few moments that leave me speechless, with no mood to utter a sound, click a photograph, just stay mesmerized by the music reverberating through the mind.
No words for it. Spiritually refreshing.
Alexandria had quite a lot to show in the short time we had there, but I guess it was sufficient. We visited the catacombs( Sorry, no photographs were allowed ). The roman amphitheatre was quite a welcoming structure with a very peculiar and interesting thing that the guide showed us. You stand in the center of the amphitheatre, at a particular spot and your voice echoes strongly. And you move one step elsewhere, it doesn’t. Interesting right?
The amphitheatre.
The great grand library of Alexandria, as it was in the ancient times- The bibliotheca Alexandria is today’s modern library which left us wide eyed and open mouthed at its grand structure, and mind-blowing architecture.
  The citadel and the Mediterranean sea
Before going back to Cairo, we stopped to try a Turkish coffee. You won’t believe how many of my nights went by in just counting sheep.
***
 The Egyptian museum

Our last day in Cairo was spent in seeing the Egyptian Museum (Yes, we finally saw the mummies. Yes, we could see their hair and their skin too. No, they did not come out alive from the their glass enclosures and chase us around.) , the hanging church, the Alabastar mosque, and a bit of shopping, before we flew off back to India with loads of memories in our hearts, and a myriad of photos in our camera.
The time we visited was just perfect. No summer- no scorching sun. Light winter breezes with the warm sunshine was the perfect tourist weather. And no threat from the ongoing protests, we came back alive and well, with no problems at all.
One trip to Egypt gives a tangible touch to an extent of the ancientness that our imagination takes us to.

2 Comments:

Alok K. said...

and I am so jealous of you.
Travel is always exhilarating. Great to see the traveler in you through your pics.

And aS travel goes international with this. Highfive!!!

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