March 11, 2009

Egypt, the Land of Ancient Wonders

Camel and horse riding, smoking sheesha (hubble-bubble) and cigarettes, pubbing and discothequing, shopping and sunbathing is what most tourists do in Egypt. I did not engage in any of those activities, yet I had a marvellous time.

What did I do? Oh, Egypt has lots to offer and the mystery of the land kept me busy and fascinated. To name a few: its ancient history, gods and religion, churches and mosques, palaces and museums, kings and queens, cults and tombs, the hieroglyphs adorning the monuments, music and sports, art and architecture etc.


Making two trips to explore one of the ancient seven wonders of the world, the Pyramids of Giza, and an early morning ride on a hot-air balloon in Luxor for aerial viewing of the populated River Nile delta plains as well as the arid deserts and mountains were interesting highlights of the trip.


Other memorable highlights of my trip:
  • Cruising on the Nile River in Cairo, and then exploring the Sphinx, and other pyramids of the Giza necropolis;
  • Visiting the other pyramids of Dashour and Saqqara and to the ancient city of Memphis near Cairo;
  • Sauntering along the beaches of Alexandria and Lighthouse near the Montaza Palace;
  • Walking along the Nile and at the High Dam in Aswan, and learning about Nubian culture and mingling with the locals;
  • Boating to the Nile River island of Agilika to explore the ancient temple complex of Philae;
  • Journeying prior to dawn through previously arranged police-escorted convoy to the twin temples of Abu Simbel at the borders with the Sudan;
  • Visiting the Karnak Temple, the Colossi of Memnon, the Luxor Temple of the ancient city of Thebes, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, and also the Valleys of Kings and Queens to have a closer look at some of the many tombs of Luxor;
  • Relaxing in the touristy Naama Bay of the city of Sharm-El-Sheikh on the coastal tip of the Red Sea and Mount Sinai; and
  • Travelling through the Sinai peninsula towards the city to seek the Mount Sinai and the St. Catherine Monastery.
Mostly up and about for almost 16 hours a day, those times have sometimes been pretty hectic with much to cover in the little time I had apportioned and it was finally in a Red Sea resort at Namaa Bay that I eventually slackened my pace. With a few hours of sleep each night, and enjoying good health throughout in spite of cold winds and temperature dipping as low as 4 deg C along the Sinai mountains, I managed to reach all those places and had a better experience than anticipated. That felt really good.

Here’s a glimpse of Egypt through my eyes:

A flowering tree on a street, Cairo

The Great Pyramid of Khufu, Giza Necropolis

River Nile Sunset, Aswan

A part of the Luxor Temple, Luxor

At a Red Sea Resort, Sharm-El-Sheikh

Montaza Palace, Alexandria

St. Catherine Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai

Nefertari's Temple carved out of the mountainside, Abu Simbel

~~~

It feels good to be back in the blogworld. I wish my friends and readers a very Happy Holi. Enjoy the festival of colours and the freshness of the spring season.

24 comments:

Vamsee said...

I am out of town and need to head for dinner, but could not resist coming to your blog when I saw that you updated it.

Fabulous pictures. Look at those Pyramids against the blue sky!! Awesome pictures. Will come back to read the text and comment again.

indicaspecies said...

Vamsee,

Thanks and welcome always.

Have a great time, and enjoy your dinner.

Jeevan Baretto said...

Superb pics! I was waiting for your update about the trip. Nice piece of information about the place there. Happy Holi to you too :)

Indrani said...

Ah! Lucky you!
So you visited the Great Egypt!

This was a nice read, thanks for sharing. :)

oo7 said...

someday someday i will be there.
you keep posting these pics and make me jealous of you all the time.
Tell me sachhi mein yar aisa kaun sa job hai yeh...
i want in too...plz plz plz

hugs and tc

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

Happy Holi to you too!

Nice post, great pictures. I would love to visit Egypt sometime :)

Arun said...

hey welcome back. The Nile balloon trip seems interesting.

The kid with the camera is funny :)

Final_Transit said...

Nice to see you back Celine! Picture are mesmerizing, and so was your trip I'm sure. Can't wait to hear more!

Vincent said...

Love that shot of the Aswan sunset!

Kalyan Banerjee said...

Happy Holi to you too Celine. Seems you had a great time at Egypt (or still having?) without even riding on a camel. Each of the activities in the 'bullets' is crying for a separate post - are you listening?

Cuckoo said...

Hey Celine ! Great to have you back. Can't wait to hear the stories.

And awesome pictures.

Lakshmi said...

Welcome back Celine..such wonderful pics and I understand your interest in Egypt..thats the reason Ive been dying to get there..planned twice and it hasnt happenned..maybe will be third time lucky

anoop said...

Egyptians believed big is better! btw, its not very often i feel like visiting a place so instantly. Thanks. I want to visit Egypt.

AJEYA RAO said...

Just three letters - WOW....

GMG said...

Hi Celine!
Happy Holi!
This one is the top! You have done all the highlights (even a resort in Sharm-El-Sheik), as usual... I'm so envious; green... ;))
But at least I take your list (as usual) as a programme for my one day trip to Egypt... ;)
Amazing that you could catch a flowering tree in a Cairo street; wouldn't expect it... ;)
The pictures are obviously stunning. Great job!!
Blogtrotter has Akbar’s capital city for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Zhu said...

Ah, that's where you are! It must be beautiful... looks like it through your pictures.

I would love to visit the pyramids... looks majestic.

Iona said...

Gr8 post and pictures....hopefully we will be able to make a trip someday:)

GMG said...

Hi Celine! Can't believe you're trying to recover all the work of the three weeks you were off... ;))
Have a great weekend!
Blogtrotter

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

great pics

bendtherulz said...

Lovely pics and so good to see that you have been to this place...(even on my to do list)....!!Pics are looking amazing...hope to see more updates on images as well as your views on the place ...!!!

tk care ~~

Shantanu said...

I had planned to be in Egypt this year, but then moved my vacation to Paris. Looks like fun!

indicaspecies said...

I’ve taken some time to settle down after my return from Egypt. Apologies for my belated response to your kind words here.


Vamsee,
I hope you had a good time. I’ll drop by you and find out where did you go gallivanting this time.;)


Jeevan,
I intend to write more details on each place I went to.:)


Indrani,
You are welcome.:)


Mr.Bond 007:
Yes, I do hope you get a chance to reach Egypt someday. Where I work and as what is already mentioned on this blog..you may wish to check it out sometime. Hey, am an ordinary person with a normal 8-4 office job yaar. It’s just my enthusiasm to travel that helps me reach places. You tc too.;)


Shalini,
Thank you. Do visit the place, it’s worth it.:)


Arun,
Thanks. The balloon ride was a real thrill and enjoyed it thoroughly. The kid was very cute, and smart. I shot the picture after taking permission from her/his parents.:)


Priyank,
Thank you. For interested readers like you, I ought to write more about my trip.;)


Vincent,
Thanks. The place was lovely, and I had endless late evening walks along the banks of the River Nile.:)


Kalyan,
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.:)
You are absolutely right. Each of the bullets can be easily expanded to a full post.
I hope to do that - someday! Will you please encourage me if I procrastinate too long?;)


Cuckoo,
Thank you very much. The demand for travel stories is there, so I have no choice but to start writing.;)


Lakshmi,
As you are probably aware, I too had planned a couple of times before and had to postpone, but finally made it. Egypt is a tourist-friendly country. I hope you get a chance to be there soon.:)


Anoop,
Delighted to hear those words from you. I truly hope you get an opportunity to be there.:)


Ajeya,
Thank you.:)


Gil,
In one day you can cover only a part of Cairo. Maybe check out the Pyramids - the ones at Giza, at Dashour and Saqqara. And perhaps also the old city of Memphis but not more.
This trip of mine, with two domestic flights, took more than 2 weeks and that too, not at a leisurely pace. For eg, it took about 4 hours just to explore the huge Karnak Temple in Luxor.
So, do charter a flight, and good luck.;)


Zhu,
For you, a citizen of the world, I highly recommend a visit to Egypt.
Thank you for dropping by and please accept my apologies for not visiting your site for a long time. I intend to spend a good deal of time catching up on all your recent interesting travels.


Iona,
Thank you. When you go, can I tag along as little Ilana’s babysitter? lol


Harekrishnaji,
Thank you.:)


BTR:
Thank you yaar. Will certainly post more.:)


Shantanu,
I’m sure Paris was exciting too.:)

Mridula said...

Lucky, lucky you!

Merisi said...

So good to see you back,
all happy and healthy,
and with such a great experience at that! Gosh, these images are simply gorgeous, the make you want to pack up and move into them.