Egypt + Rome

I have dreamt about visiting Egypt since I was about six years old. I used to read Ancient Egypt history textbooks for fun because I was that fascinated with it, especially the Sphinx. I’m not exactly sure how or why the fascination started, but somehow a part of it stuck with me. So I decided why not visit while in England when travel is cheaper than in America?

Day One: Horse riding through the desert to the pyramids and Sphinx.

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Yup! I never would have thought this would be something I can say I have done until this past week. But now my sore legs remind me that it was definitely real, and definitely worth it.

My horse’s name is Demaroda, which means “lady” in Arabic. Salem, a sweet, down to earth Egyptian, raised and trained all the horses we rode. The control he has and the love he shows for them is just unreal.

I admit I am not a natural horse rider, but I have been told it is something you need to practice more than two days. Despite my inexperience, I enjoyed riding through the Sahara desert with a view of the pyramids!

After our host Mohammed brought us to explore the pyramids and Pharaoh Khafre’s tomb, and take some fun photos, we visited the Sphinx. As I saw the top of this statue from afar, I told my flatmate/Egypt travel companion Brynn that my eyes were tearing up from happiness. Little did I know, once I climbed over the little wall and saw the Sphinx in its entirety, I would be bawling my eyes out from sheer disbelief over what I was only able to dream about beforehand. I think that moment is my happiest moment so far, considering I do not remember ever crying that much out of happiness.

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Brynn and I, having arrived in Cairo at 2 am, barely slept before this day’s outings. So we decided to move the rest of day one’s plans to day two and sleep early. But, this was not until after Brynn had her chance to drive Mohammed’s car on Egypt’s crazy no-rules road.

Day Two: Cairo Museum, Old Cairo, City of Three Religions, Nile cruise, Cairo Tower, Khan El Khalilly market and a party. In other words, this day was jam packed.

The Cairo Museum is filled with Ancient Egyptian artifacts, including a section with King Tut’s sarcophagus, mummy headdress and other objects from his tomb. The City of Three Religions combines places of worship from Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions in a single place. Our cruise on the River Nile was during sunset, so we had breathtaking views of the Nile in the sunlight, sunset and nighttime.

 

Cairo Tower is an observation tower overlooking Egypt. We went up top at night and the lights from the city really added to the view, which included a sports club near the tower. It was super cold up there, and Mohammed thinks this is why I got a horrible sore throat the next day.

We visited Khan El Khalilly market, where Egyptian souvenirs are sold. With the exchange rate, I probably spent about ten USD on a large bag filled with souvenirs and presents for friends and family. I bought a huge Egyptian cotton scarf, big enough to double as a blanket, for 35 EGP, which equals about two USD.

The second day ended with a party at the house including a big meal and a “dancing horse” who is trained to gallop fancily.

Day Three: Visit to Alexandria, including the library and the Citadel next to the Mediterranean Sea.

We walked around the library in Alexandria, which is based on the Library of Alexandria that was burned down throughout history. I saw some modern art and read a book about the Nile flooding. Brynn found an interactive digital sarcophagus, where you can look at all the different layers of a mummy. At the Citadel in Alexandria, we enjoyed air from the Mediterranean and beautiful views of the blue waters.

This day, I woke up with a terrible sore throat. Mohammed and Salem gave me some juice and honey at breakfast, which I think helped me clear some of the mucus out. On our way to Alexandria, we stopped at a pharmacy and picked up some medicine. After I took it, I spent the two hour drive to Alexandria sleeping in the backseat and woke up feeling a lot better. My throat still hurts a little today, but not as bad as when it first started.

Day Four: Horse ride through the Sahara Desert.

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This ride gave us one last look at the pyramids before our flight back to the UK. We enjoyed a mint tea break and took some more pictures. Then we went to a supermarket for some fresh fruit and bought some Egyptian Delights, too.

Before our visit to Egypt, Brynn and I had an eleven hour layover in Rome, Italy. We spent the day visiting most of the main sights, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. We also ate some Italian food: spaghetti, pizza, cannoli and gelato.

Fun fact: since it was raining, there were men walking around selling overpriced umbrellas. Brynn and I settled on 39 as the amount of times we were approached by umbrella salespeople.

Today is Christmas and I am spending the day with my flatmate Jess. We are watching Christmas movies and having a cozy day in the flat.

Up next: Experiencing Egyptian culture as an outsider. Updates on my upcoming month long travel journey to Spain, Belgium, France, Greece, Germany and London.

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