personal

My trip to Egypt

Hey guys, I’m back!

This is one of the personal posts which I do like, once a year LOL. My recent trip to Egypt was AMAZING and I cannot describe how much I loved going.

I’ve been in love with Egypt ever since I can remember. My mom is a graduate in History, so she managed to pass down the love for anything historical to me and my sister. Egypt was one of the most advanced ancient civilizations and their culture was so rich and fascinating. Can you imagine 5000 people building pyramids without concrete simply with math and the technology available? If you need any more proof that Egyptians were brilliant, I can’t give you more than that.

Or maybe I can, through the pictures of the trip.

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This was kind of sudden — I graduated at the end of last year, and my sister graduates this year. In Brazil it’s traditional to have one big party once you graduate and spend $$, but neither me or Clara were interested in that. And then my parents asked if we didn’t prefer to spend it on a trip. And of course we said yes!

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We went to Egypt in a tourist group. For some countries this is important because it makes for safer travel and it’s easier to get around. I cannot imagine doing this trip on my own for the first time without having a group and transport provided. Having a group is great because of the many shared experiences – the only con being the fact that often you have a schedule to follow and aren’t allowed to spend more time inside the temples.

We spent nine days there – the first two in Cairo and then we flew to Luxor and boarded one of the Nile Cruises to Aswan and saw the sights along the way.

I was so taken aback by the sheer grandiosity of the pyramids. They’re what you see everywhere since the day you were born, but it’s SO DIFFERENT just standing under them and looking up. The blocks on the base are taller than me and weight about a ton and a half, so you can imagine what it was like moving them at the time. It’s a masterful engineering projects.

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I also went inside the Great Pyramid, which is definetly something I didn’t think I would be doing! So many people said it was claustrophobic and that we had to kneel down to get inside, which sent shudders through my body. Luckily, it wasn’t half as bad as I thought – there’s only one place where you have to effectively kneel, but the passageway inside is quite large.

On the same day we also visited the Sphinx and later on Sakkara and Memphis, which were both great too! I wanted to get closer to the Red Pyramid (in honor of Kane Chronicles, which funnily helped me know SO MUCH stuff already) but we didn’t have the time, so I just had to look from afar.

The second day we visited the Cairo Museum. They’re actually building a new one closer to the PIMG_20170423_145128414yramids which is going to be HUGE, so they’ve been taking down some exhibits. The museum itself is gigantic but frankly it’s kind of a mess – it looks like a big deposit. There’s simply too much stuff. There are eighteen rooms dedicated almost exclusively to the treasure of Tutankhamon.

And on Sunday it was also my birthday! So if this isn’t the best way to spend your birthday, I honestly don’t know what is. On the afternoon, we also visited the Mosque of Muhammed Ali and the citadel of Saladin, which was built in the Middle Ages. I honestly wished we could have spent more time in the Muslim part of the city, but there just wasn’t time on the schedule.

 

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The next day we embarked to Luxor. The first day we visited the Karnak Temple (which you might remember from some iconic scenes on The Mummy 2), and the Luxor Temple. In ancient times there was a road lined by sphinxes that connected the two temples, and now the government is rebuilding them! It’s absolutely stunning, and the walk from one temple to the other might run on about 2km.

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I also had the privilege of having the absolute best experience in Karnak. So my sister desperately wanted to go to the Sound & Light show at the Pyramids, but we couldn’t fit into the schedule. However, on Monday, we had an opening and they also offered the show at Karnak. The only problem is that the show only happened if there were seven or more people, and no one was sure if it was going to happen. (There are 3 shows, the first is always guaranteed, the two others eventually don’t happen). So my dad talked to the guy organizing the excursion and if we were willing to pay for the extra tickets if no one else showed up, they would play the show regularly.

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And guess what? NO ONE SHOWED UP. And it was awesome. It was only the four of us – me, my sister Clara, my mom and my dad on this big ass temple seeing the colorful show. It’s so STUNNING, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s super dramatic, and it tells the story of the building of the temple and all the Pharaohs that added to its construction along the years. The show plays with both narrative through sound and music, as well as light — the whole temple lighted up as we walked through in the most different colors. I couldn’t get enough. It was the best, most magical experience I’ve had in Egypt. When we were at the room of the columns, all of us were tearing up because it was just so great and emotional.

Like, I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved it.

The next day we visited the Valley of the Kings! This was particularly awesome for me, because some of you might know, I have a WIP set in Egypt about a group of archeologists. It’s very in-line with The Mummy and Indiana Jones, except it’s all Modern Day. I kinda stopped writing it for a while, but this was the inspiration I needed to get back to it. I learned so much and saw so many great things that it was impossible not to fuel my desire to get back to writing Adelina and Emerald’s story. We also had the opportunity to visit Hatshepsut’s temple, and I think I finally learned to write her name without getting it mixed up (a very real accomplishment for me).

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the sun doesn’t really agree with my eyes

The next three days we traveled between Luxor and Aswan, a path made slowly across the Nile. What I loved most about it was the contrast shown in the view — the water a deep blue and the margins very green full of palm trees and bushes, but if you looked beyond, there was the orange desert on both sides. It felt like I was inside a movie the entire time.

We visited the Abu Simbel temple (another of my favorites), the Temple of Edfu, which is dedicated to Horus, and the temple of Kom Ombo. I’ll be truthful to say that my sole disappointment with the trip was the fact that I didn’t see any crocodiles!!!! They’re now only located in Lake Nasser and there are no more of them in the Nile.

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the biggest tourist-y selfie ever

On the last day in Aswan we also visited Philae. This was particularly very interesting to me, because in the 39 clues book series Amy and Dan go there to get one of the clues. Book nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but get super overly excited about going to the same temple and imagining if there really weren’t ruins left behind that just sank into the water. IMG_20170428_090508702_TOP

We also visited a small Nubian village and rode camels, so it was a very complete trip LOL. I didn’t have the courage to actually swim in the Nile (omg, it’s UNBELIEVABLY COLD), but I did get up to my knees in it.

Then after that we had two more days in Cairo. On Saturday we had a free day, so me and my family decided we were going to walk to the Museum. This was great because I will never again complain about the traffic in São Paulo. It’s absolutely INSANE. There were like, five people riding a single motorcycle. There’s no signaling anywhere. No traffic lights. Nothing. It was honestly scary, but it was also a great way to actually see the city, not just from the bus. We spent a good part of the morning in the museum and then we went to this local restaurant called Felfela, which had honestly the best kofta I’ve eaten in MY ENTIRE LIFE.  Still in tears when I remember it.

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A great doggo I met in Aswan, 10/10 would pet.

Sunday was the last day, unfortunately. It was sad packing up to go, but it was such a great trip I can’t complain. Because our flight was only at midnight, we spent the afternoon in the Bazar Al Khalili and then we went to a shopping mall (where I got a gorgeous silk scarf which I will cherish forever).

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Egypt. I really hope I can come back one day, and it’s such an amazing trip, I can’t recommend it enough. The people are warmth and nice, and it was so good being welcomed like that. The Egyptian people are extremely receptive and I never felt misplaced there. It’s such a great country, and in the last few years, tourist numbers went down from 15million to under 5million, which is terrible. I can’t really recommend this trip enough – it was so good to see such great things of the past, and because I love history so much, it was indescribable to just stand in the same place where other people stood more than four thousand years ago. I hope that if you can, you choose to go too!

I also have like, a hundred pictures on Instagram of the trip and I didn’t want to overload the post. Besides, my mom took over 4000 pictures in her own camera! *gasps*

Besides, you can make all the Mummy and Kane Chronicle references in your posts, which increases the value of the trip in about 100%. Also, am I wrong to be slightly disappointed that there was no death in our cruise in the Nile?

 

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