I remember it so vividly, sitting in Mrs Loot’s class learning about Ancient Egyptian civilization. Since the 7th grade, travelling to Egypt was my dream. I held a fascination for the splendour, majesty and mystery of the Pharaonic era.
The air in Cairo was charged up and pulsating. Fatigued from the flight, yet surprisingly energized by this buzz in the air, we headed out. Bags were dropped off, currency exchanged, we were looking for adventure. The streets were bustling thick and fast at midday already when we set out to explore.
The streets in downtown are filled with dilapidated buildings browned by layers of dust accumulated from the periodic sand storms. The crowded streets are lined with clothing stalls, coffee and tea shops with people smoking hookah pipes while playing board games. Given the many passage and alleyways, getting lost is inevitable. What’s travelling without the fun of getting lost?
We walked the streets and found ourselves in the revolutionary Tahrir Square. People pasted on the lush green lawns, some taking pictures, some holding up boards during a peaceful protest. I must mention how people gawked at my friend and I. Apparently being black and female in Cairo is an oddity, so naturally we stuck out like a saw thumb. Have people in Cairo never seen black people before? I found it amusing that people were asking to take photos with us and asking to feel our skin. So funny!
We got lost along the banks of the River Nile. Hashtag awesome place to get lost in. We were saved by a kind guy who offered to show us around. He took us on a party boat ride on the Nile. These cost less than a dollar for an hour.
The next day, we travelled back into time. We visited the Museum’s and historical districts. Plenty of historic relics such as statutes of the famous Pharoahs, preserved royal mummies, treasures and jewels raided from their tombs were on display.
The one thing I was most looking forward to on my trip was the iconic world wonder –the Pyramids of Giza. Awestruck by the magnificence and majesty of the structure, I was speechless. This colossal structure made me revere the intelligence and diligence of the Egyptians. Part of me though wondered, all this hard work for a glorious tomb? Taking into account that the ancient Egyptians treasured and to an extent glorified death and of the afterlife, it made perfect sense. The Sphinx was equally as mesmerizing. My penchant for Egyptian history and civilization was more than quenched after seeing these sites.
We stayed in Cairo for 2 days before boarding our luxury cruise down the Nile. I recommend this cruise for its sheer luxury at a really good price, sure value for money. Our first stop was Aswan. Aswan is a bit of a mix breed. It is both ancient and modern. Traces of old temples can be found here with . beautiful colourful souks. Merchants coaxing you to part with your money in exchange for spices, herbs, traditional wear, textiles, souvenirs and all sorts of nick knacks. If anything, I found Egyptian merchants very convincing sales people. The High Dam is located in Aswan and is the country’s powerhouse for both irrigation and electricity.
Later that afternoon, we set off sailing on a felucca boat. This is a popular means of transport for the locals. It was a refreshing experience seeing the locals in their habitat fishing, and talking strolls down the River Nile and even swimming. They all just seemed so happy and carefree.
The beauty about our cruise was that we could see the timeless monuments while sailing the Nile. There was a pool on the cruise boat. I was truly feeling blessed. The next day we sailed to Edfu, where we saw Egypt’s second largest & best-preserved temple, the Temple of Horus the Avenger.
From Edfu we sailed to beautiful majestic Luxor. The ancient city of Thebes also known as the world’s largest open air museum. Home to the Valley of the Kings and Queens -the city of the Dead. Luxor is home to famous King Tutankhamen and about 60 other royal tombs.
Luxor was my favourite place to visit simply because of all the temples and history. I can see how it was the capital of ancient Egypt. The Temple built to commemorate Queen Hatshepsut was a highlight for me. Built on the backdrop of a cliff, it stands tall and regal. She was the longest reigning female Pharaoh in Egypt and the country flourished both politically and economically under her 22 year reign. Air fist for women empowerment! Quite impressive!
Our last night on the cruise was an Egyptian themed night. It was a very eventful evening filled with Tanoura and belly dancers showcasing Egyptian culture. We had to bid farewell to Luxor and the cruise boat the next morning.
We hopped in a minivan and took a 5 hour drive to the coast. We were Hurghada bound.
Hurghada is a Las Vegas of sorts situated on the Coast of the Red Sea. Yes the very same Red Sea that Moses parted! Holiday makers flock to Hurghada because of its scenic natural beaches and calm seas which are ideal for scuba diving, yachting and plain old swimming. There are plenty of nightclubs and pubs. The locals are very friendly. I had such a fun time here. My holiday was yet another beautiful balance.
- Enriched historical perspective. More ammo for my GK Trivia J
- Egypt is inexpensive
- People are the bombdiggity…super friendly and willing to help as far as English permits
- Food was really good.
Lessons Learnt: The excellence in workmanship of the monuments and temples reminded me of how excellence is important in every single thing we do. Most of these structures were built thousands of years ago and they still stood the test of time, they left a legacy. This all made me think of what legacy I would like to leave behind.
Have you travelled to Egypt? What were some of your highlights or lowlights?