An Egyptian Sojourn

An Egyptian Sojourn

                                                         

Enigma and adventure...Egypt was my first love from the time I learnt to spell pyramid. Who isn’t mesmerized? Those gigantic pyramids and acres of golden sand with herds of camels striding down gracefully with their necks high. Picturesque is an understatement for this beautiful country. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to visit this land of the Pharaohs last year. It was no less than a magical ride. The country was beautiful and every scene was to be cherished. I was like a child at a candy shop, running to every nook and corner of the places that we visited hoping to see every last script of hieroglyphic or the secret chamber leading to the valley of kings. I’ll probably fail to tell you people how amazing and breathtaking my trip was but I can surely bring you a piece of my experiences. Egypt is a considerably large country situated in the African continent just along the blue waters of the Mediterranean. We all know the story of Egypt being the ‘Gift of Nile’. From the time of the ancient Egyptian civilization to the present Egypt has remained a very important country. The culture, its people, the cuisine, each and every detail of the country is to be treasured.
                                            
Magnificence is an underrate expression for this place because there is history in every single brick, in the grandeur of the arches. In the time, frozen for eternity, in the walls and the breeze. Could it be any more mesmerizing?
Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country so the population mainly consists of Urdu speaking Muslims. The people were delightful as wherever we went be it the locals or the shopkeepers or simply a commoner, greeted us with the warmest smile! The men wore abayas or a long kind of tunic while the women wore niqabs and hijabs suitable according to their faith. I haven’t seen such women with exquisite beauty as it reminds me of queen Nefertiti and queen Cleopatra of the ancient times who were thought to be the most beautiful women of their times. The streets were packed with vendors and the hustle and bustle of the daily market was unbelievably dynamic. The beautiful Middle Eastern lamps, fresh smell of the papyrus, stunning earrings and necklaces of semi precious stones like the lapis lazuli which was used to make the mask of King Tutankhamen, were being sold. Showcases and pottery made of alabaster; a fine quality marble was something to look out for. And how can I forget to mention the marvelous cuisine. Their staple consisted of flat bread which was delicious along with the special barley soup and camel meat curry. All of these were freshly garnished with the aromatic spices sold in the old souks of the city. The most striking thing that one will notice is that the people are extremely proud of their lineage and have still maintained the rich culture that was practiced during the time of the great Pharaohs, and of course the still continuing tradition of keeping furry felines was a delight for pet lovers like me. I actually lost count of the fluffy fat cats I met there.
I was on a limited tour so I could visit Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria and Giza. And in that time I saw the incredible wonder of the world, the Great pyramids and the Sphinx, the beautiful and intricate tombs and catacombs in the valley of the kings which was complete with a hot air balloon ride at 4 in the morning. The glorious sunrise and the immediate way of travelling time as the sunrays fall over the majestic temples of Abu Simbel and over the ruins of an empire so great that it can still send down a shiver down one’s spine. Alexandria happens to be my favorite spot because of the deep blue sea and the dainty little city on the coast of the sea. A cup of hibiscus tea just beside the sea in a quaint little bistro should be on the bucket list. So if I start rambling about the breathtaking monuments, people will easily identify me as a student of history but I just can’t resist informing the people who plan to visit this land of dreams that great pyramid has a false chamber inside. You have to walk like the ancient Egyptian workers by bending your head for about 1156 steps that leads you to more or less the heart of the pyramid. It can be a little tedious, but you can take my word that it will be an adventure of a lifetime.  Other landmarks like the pillar of Pompeii and Cairo Museum, the grand Luxor temple should be in everyone’s list. The rich history and mind-blowing landscapes will surely make you go back to the ancient times to get the taste of the civilization.

To all the people out there driven by wanderlust I would definitely recommend this piece of paradise. It’s the place for adventure, indulging yourselves and that too at dirt cheap prices if you know the right places. The hot air balloon ride is a beauty and will make you awestruck when that first ray of sunshine falls on the temple of Luxor. If you want to relax, avail the service of cruise ships that sail down the Nile and you can go to Nubian villages on feluccas from these ships. The villages are still inhabited by the original tribes and they will treat you like royalty. Here you can have the privilege of cuddling a crocodile! And if you have some time you can avail the mesmerizing train journey from Cairo, which will give you a typical Midnight Express feel. Also you can go for a cross country backpacking spree were you can stay at local places and enjoy the place from a very basic social level. Also my last Q-tip for all the shopaholics out there will be the Khan al Khalili market. You will get literally anything you want to. From key chains to necklaces, gold jewelry to fine carpets, semi precious stones to gems and glass beads, Papyrus scroll to exquisite perfumes will make you go bonkers! And when that last call for your hometown will be announced in the airport, you will long for another evening on a camel riding past the glory of the Pharaohs, or simply that starry night with a cool breeze cruising on the Nile with some soulful music.

Comments

  1. Woww!!.... u med me fall in love wid Egypt newly yet again....

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