Posts Tagged With: Sphinx

Postcards from Egypt

Here are my postcards from Egypt. There are a lot so it took some time to get them all uploaded. Hope you enjoy them! You can read about my trip to Egypt here.

To view some of my other postcards click here

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Categories: Africa, Egypt, Egypt, History, Postcards, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Luxor at Night

8/3/11

The bus ride to Luxor was short, beautiful, and peaceful. We watched the sun set over the Valley of the Kings while we drove.

Our first stop was the Avenue of the Sphinxes. I couldn’t believe I was there! I’ve always wanted to see the avenue. It was just as I pictured it. We posed for some pictures and then turned our attention to the main temple. One day I hope to come back and walk the avenue from Luxor to Karnak just like the ancient Egyptians did.

The two Ramesses II statues looked incredible all lit up. The obelisk was also amazing to look at. It must have been a wondrous sight to see the temple with both obelisks. Now the other one is in the Palace de la Concorde (click here to read the entry for when I saw that one). It was given to Paris by King Mohammad Ali in 1831. There were also baboons at the bottom of the obelisk. While we were taking pictures, tourists started climbing on the statues and going behind the ropes. This was upsetting Sherif. Lexi eventually yelled “oy get off!” They didn’t listen. Lexi made me laugh because she confirmed the stereotype that Australians say oy. The call to prayer sounded, which let us know that Ramadan was done for the day. We all offered Sherif food and water. However, the tourists were annoying him so much that he went to say something to them. Then he told the guards. The tourists were taking advantage of the fact that there very few guards and that they were eating.

The video below is of the call to prayer and Sherif telling the tourists to stop.

Next we entered the Court of Ramesses II. Sherif pointed out a door to us that was really high up, which showed us where street level was in the past. It was a door to the mosque called Abu Al Haggag. The court was filled with columns and standing statues of Ramesses II. There were two black granite statues of Ramesses II in sitting positions. Sonja took a picture of me with the one on the right. Next we walked through the colonnade, which consisted of 14 columns.

Then we stooped at the entrance to the court of Amenhotep III. It was beautiful! The columns really stood out against the dark sky. It looked Greek. Sherif asked us to sing opera and all of a sudden Paul busted out some fake opera song that surprised all of us.

Next we walked through the Hypostyle Hall. In the next area Sherif showed us Christian paintings because in the 6th century it was used as a church. There were also references to Alexander the Great.

As we head back Sherif tells me not to use flash on my camera because it will work better. I try one picture and it is awful. Sherif takes the camera from me and takes a picture that rocks. He keeps taking pictures, but they suck so I tease him about it. We take one final look at the temple and walk towards the bus. We pass the guards who are still eating and a gift shop. We get to the bus, but our driver isn’t there. He eventually comes running and apologizes. We climb aboard and I chug my water. It may be night time, but it is still hot. We were all hungry. Everyone was asking me if I was excited to finally open my suitcase. I was trying not to be excited because I didn’t know if I would open it and it would be empty. Sherif said I should wear my costume to dinner. In my head I agreed to do it if all my stuff was in the bag.

Luxor from the bus

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pyramids of Giza

7/31/13
Next stop Giza! On our way out of Cairo we saw a man on a motorcycle with cages of chicken. We also saw a bunch of women with an infant in the back of a pickup truck. As we crossed over from Cairo to Giza we stopped to take pictures.

As we drove we passed a lot of rundown areas. Sonja and I eventually decided to use the restroom on the bus, which was an experience to say the least. We struggled to find the light and the flusher. We survived though!

Sherif had the bus make a stop at a clothing store so Nicole and I could pick up some items. I thought he wanted us to be quick about it so I tried to just pick up easy stuff. I picked out 2 Egypt t-shirts at 75 LE each and a pair of socks. The socks were 40 LE when I could buy them at home for 5LE ($1). I had no other choice. I didn’t buy anything else because I thought we were in a rush, it was expensive, and I hoped my suitcase would be arriving soon. Nicole wound up taking at least 30 minutes in the store. Sherif and I chatted while we waited for her. He asked me about my scarab necklace and laughed when I explained I won it at the Luxor in Las Vegas. I got some free postcards and Sherif told the owner of the store something about me so I got a free bottle of pretty sand.

After we finally left the shop we continued on to the pyramids. We got to catch glimpses of them as we got closer. I was so excited! We pulled up to them and had to get out of the bus to go through security. Then we re-boarded the bus. Sherif gave us each 20LE to tip our camel drivers. I took my epipen, camera, the tip, extra cash, and a water bottle with me. We got off the bus and were immediately hounded by vendors. I navigated my way through them and went to the camels, while most of the group purchased headdresses for 15LE. The camels only had one hump. The ones in Israel had two. The guy put my water bottle in the camel’s side pocket because he said I would need my hands to hold on. Thus, I put my camera bag around my neck. This camel was a lot taller than the one in Israel and way more uncomfortable. When the camels got up almost everyone freaked out a bit, but I was already used to it from Israel. My camel was led by a little boy, which scared me a bit.

We had a long ride to get to the best spot for pictures. The ride was not comfortable and though I was looking at the pyramids my mind was distracted by the camel. The boy told me his name was Abraham and he was 10. He also told me the camel’s name, which I don’t remember. Halfway through our journey the camel handlers got into a fight. From what I could make out between Arabic and gestures, one of the small boys was leading a camel and they deemed him to be too young to help out. At this point Abraham took some pictures of me and we rode on. I kept trying to focus on the pyramids and their beauty, but something related to the camel always seemed to distract me. I also kept wishing I had on the jeans I packed instead of the sweatpants which caused me to feel everything. My butt and legs were killing me!

On the way back Abraham was now in charge of the little boy’s camels as well. Sonja’s money blew away, but Abraham got it. When we got back it was time for the tip and the group picture. I gave Abraham the 20LE, but then he had a sad look on his face. I felt bad and he reminded me of the poor children in Chichen Itza, so I gave him an extra 5LE. His whole face lit up and he looked like he wanted to hug me. He shook my hand and hid the money. That was the best $1 I have spent in a while. His reaction was priceless. I had to get back on the camel for the group picture.

Then we headed off to a ramp for more pictures with the pyramids. The vendors of course followed. I saw the postcards I wanted and spent either 5LE or 10LE for 10 postcards. We took more pictures and boarded the bus to drive right up to the pyramids.

The pyramids looked less impressive up close because you really couldn’t see high they were. We were able to climb on the pyramids and take pics. I wish I could have spent every moment of down time looking at the pyramids instead of talking to people. I really needed more time to soak them in. Then Sherif took us to a pyramid that we could go into. At that point I was feeling way too hot to go in. I knew there was nothing inside, it would be super hot, and very clastrophic. We headed back to the bus and there were no vendors in sight.

I asked Sherif for an update about my bag since it was after 2pm. I also texted my mom. Sherif tells me that the plane is late so it will be closer to 3pm. He gives us our tickets to the Sphinx. My mom calls me and tells me that my bag wasn’t put on the plane. My head starts spinning. What now? When will I get my bag? I had to hang up because we were at the Sphinx. I get halfway down the block and realize I left my ticket on the bus. I turn around, but the bus is gone. I run to Sherif and tell him about my bag and ticket. I’m completely out of it and he can tell. He tries to calm me down and tells me they’ll have the bag flown to the cruise. He also tells me not to let this ruin my trip. He’s right. I have spent my whole life dreaming about this trip and I can’t let KLM screw it up. He shakes me a bit and I realize that I am in front of the Sphinx! He tells the guard about my ticket situation. He lets me go in.

I walk in and it just doesn’t seem real. We are immediately hounded by kids who want 5LE to take our pics. All I want to do is be left alone and I tell them no, which was a super big mistake. Sherif feels bad for me and convinces me to take some pics with him. I eventually just sit with him and stare at the Sphinx. We talk about Zahi Hawass for a bit. He points out the dream stone. I never realized it was between the paws. I knew the story though. So Sherif has me tell the story to whoever was listening.

On our way back to the bus a guy offers Mat 100 camels and 1000 chickens to buy Lexi. I buy 10 Papyrus bookmarks for 5LE. (In hindsight I should have bought more). We board the bus and I fill everyone in on the news about my bag. We drive to Felfela. Sherif gets a call from Heather at AMEX. They are trying to get me my bag in Aswan or Luxor. Aswan would mean Monday or Tuesday. Luxor would mean Wednesday or Thursday. Oy! I decide not to eat in the restaurant. I use their restroom and then sit with Paul and Michael at the table. We recreate the pyramids with 3 water bottles and flan. Sherif tried to get me to eat. The guys then offered me clothes out of their suitcases. Aww!

After they finished eating, we went and sat in the restaurant’s garden area. Nicole smoked Shaseesh (the water pipe). We went around and formally introduced ourselves and said a bit about ourselves. All Australians except for Paul, Nicole, and me.

Lamps for Ramadan

Solar Boat Pit

Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Penn Museum

As I have previously mentioned I am studying for my certificate in Egyptology. So I try to see as many museums as I can that have Egyptian exhibits. I had never been to the Penn museum so we decided to go and take a look. The Penn Museum is on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania so we got to look around as we walked to the museum. The museum has a discount for AAA members, which shaved off a couple of dollars.

We started with the Egyptian exhibit. They have a great timeline that I took pictures of and still refer back to. There was a giant sphinx and there were several architectural pieces that belonged to Merenptah. There were numerous statues of the gods. They also had several mummies, some had undergone the artificial mummification process and some had gone through the natural mummification process. Additionally, there were artifacts from the Amarna period. There were some large busts but some were replicas. There was a copy of the Narmer Palette and of the Rosetta Stone.

After looking at the Egyptian exhibit we walked through the rest of the museum. There were some great pieces from Asia. I enjoyed looking at the dragons and Buddhas. There was also a copy of Hammurabi’s code. I spent a lot of time looking at the Greek statues. They also had a large collection of Greek Pottery. There were so many that it reminded me of the museums in Greece that were filled with them. The gift shop is small, but it has an entire room dedicated to Egypt. Many of the items were expensive and that was because many of them came from Egypt. I owned several pieces so I only bought some postcards. We eventually ran out of time in the Mexican and Central American section.

The museum is definitely worth seeing and is easy to get to via public transportation. I would allow at least two hours here.

King Tut

Akhenaten

Neferkheperure-Waenre
Akhenaten
Nefertiti

Ptah

A serekh

Sekhmet

Osiris

Replica

Ramesses II

Canopic Jar
Duamutef
Contains the stomach

Copy of the Narmer Palette

Hercules

That’s a big nail

I’m with the replica of Hammurabi’s Code

Penn Museum

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Egyptology, Family Vacation, History, Philadelphia, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spending Time with the Prisoners of the French Revolution

July 28 2012

We woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel since it was included in the price. The buffet was great! There was some hot food, but I ate my weight in different breads and cheeses. They had all these sweet breads with sugar, chocolate, and jam. Bread and cheese, my kind of heaven. I took some food to eat later in the day.

We took the metro and walked a couple of blocks to Place du Chatelet. There were sphinxes. So I posed for a couple of pictures. It gave us a great view of the Conciergerie. We walked along the seine. There was a fake beach set up. We walked to Hotel del Ville. The architecture was absolutely incredible. There was a HUGE tv with bean bag chairs set up so people could watch the Olympics.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. We passed the Conciergerie and Palais de Justice. We were coming back to Conciergerie since it is not a popular attraction. We took pictures from the outside of the Palais de Justice. We joined the line for Sainte Chapelle. The line moved very quickly. Then there was a second line for tickets. We got to skip that line because of the Paris Museum Pass. The bottom level is pretty much the gift shop. We bought some pens for people. We took the winding stairs (very claustrophobic) to the room with all the stained glass. I was expecting to be amazed, but I wasn’t. It was just pretty. They were doing some construction work which took away from it. People hyped the windows up so much so I had high expectations. I couldn’t believe it was just one room. We exited by the Palace de Justice and headed next door to the Conciergerie.

We used the Paris Museum Pass again. The Conciergerie is where they held Marie Antoinette before they beheaded her. We got to see her cell and what the other cells looked like. We also got to see items from the revolution. I enjoyed it. They had picnic tables so we sat down and ate our leftovers from breakfast for lunch. Then we used the ladies room and left.

Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, Food, France, History, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statues, Paintings, and Artifacts, O MY!

July 27 2012

After officially checking in to our hotel we started our walk to Le Orangerie and the Louvre. I mapped out a path that would allow us to see some other sights and walk through the Tuileries.

We passed Place Vendome first. It was surrounded by very fancy expensive stores. We took some photos and kept going. I was excited to see Place de la Concorde since it is Egyptian. The Obelisk of Luxor was given to Paris by Mohamed Ali.  The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Temple of Luxor, was installed in 1836. I loved that the obelisk and the Eiffel Tower were diagonal from each other. It made for a great picture.

We went to Le Orangerie because of Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum was free with our museum pass. We had to check our bags and cameras. Monet’s work was incredible and definitely made me glad that we stopped. They encompassed the whole room. Then we went downstairs to see the other pieces of art. I was surprised that I recognized some of the paintings and some of the artists. We stopped at the gift shop so I could buy some postcards. We were only there for 30 minutes, but we really didn’t need any more time. We went right before they closed so it was almost empty.

We walked through the Tuileries. I kept thinking about King Louis XVI and his contemporaries leisurely strolling around the Tuileries. The ferris wheel surprisingly didn’t seem strange. There was a mix of tourists and locals walking around. We approached Place du Carousel and took pictures on both sides. I can’t believe the statues on top were once completely made of gold.

The Louvre looked absolutely enormous. I can’t believe people once lived in it. The pyramid didn’t bother me. I guess that’s because I am so used to seeing it in movies, pictures, and documentaries. Our museum pass allowed us to skip the super long line and walk right in. We chose to come on the Louvre’s late night. I decided to have us start with what used to be the moat and then the Egyptian exhibit. My mom was super tired and wasn’t interested in the Egyptian artifacts. I left her on a bench and ran through all the rooms snapping pictures. I really wanted to spend time examining each item, but I couldn’t. I really wish I could go back and spend half a day looking at them. Since my mom was so tired we tried to just walk to see all the highlights. We saw the Napoleonic Apartments, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and the famous paintings of the renaissance. My friends Janelle and Megan warned me that the Mona Lisa was going to be very small. They were right! It was super packed in front of the painting. I took a couple of pictures and kept moving. We went back to the lobby area. I dropped my mom off at a bench. I looked around the gift shop and everything was just too expensive. The cheap books on Egypt were in French. O well. I still needed to see Hammurabi’s Code and I wasn’t leaving without seeing it. I ran through a bunch of exhibits and passed Greek and Roman statues. I found Hammurabi’s Code and took a bunch of pictures. I ran back and was officially exhausted. I was looking for the inverted pyramid that Dan Brown talked about, but didn’t see it.

We started to walk back to the hotel and passed a bunch of souvenir shops. We picked up a t-shirt and a couple of other things. We also passed a cookie place and bought a small bag. We made those cookies our dinner. We went back to the hotel and settled in. We soaked our feet in hot water and went to bed.

Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, France, History, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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