We’ve been busy and on the go for eight days straight so there’s been no time to contemplate everything we’ve seen and attempted to absorb. Cathryn said it best after exploring our umpteenth temple, “it’s overwhelming.” It was meant in a good way since each and every ancient site was truly amazing. The pyramids at Giza are just a drop in the bucket of Egyptian wonders.
Our tour seemed ambitious when I first looked at it, but we never realized just how much there is to see and do. We actually opted out of a couple things and our tour guides politely adjusted our schedule accordingly. When we said we didn’t want to see the dam…seen one, seem them all…the guide felt obliged to offer other sites to fill the void. On another occasion we decided to sleep in instead of trudging off into the desert at 4 am.
It wasn’t until today, while soaking our weary bodies in the hotel spa, that we reflected on what we’ve experienced so far. The tour company called it a free day in Cairo, but offered excursions elsewhere to fill our day. Nope. We’ve both come down with colds so we promised each other to sleep in and do absolutely nothing. That meant Cathryn had time for spa treatments that included a coffee grind scrub and hot chocolate wrap. Use your imagination.
We had the indoor hot tub and pool all to ourselves. Staying in a luxury hotel and enjoying the perks that came with it, I had to wonder how ancient Egyptian royalty lived day to day. From the moment of their coronation, new kings began planning the temples and monuments they would erect to honor themselves. Artisans would be immediately put to work creating their elaborate tombs in preparation for the afterlife.
Artifacts from King Tut’s tomb are on display in the Egyptian museum, the extravagance of gold and jewels that were buried with royalty is completely ridiculous. They also took boats, animals, their queens, family, and even some of their favorite servants with them so they would be comfortable in their next life. Too bad none of the material things ever made it there.
Cruising the Nile was a truly unique experience. There wasn’t much in the way of scenery, but I grew to appreciate how the waters of the river brought life to the land and the people. Running through the desert, its watershed offered a place for crops to grow. It is a source of fish, and it is still used as a major transportation route for people and the country’s natural resources.
As westerners, many of us have taken on a dim view of Muslims. We have found that they look and live differently than us, but they are a friendly and humble people. We heard and witnessed their call to prayer and learned that they are a devout people, who have been tarnished by extremists. After witnessing the severe damage done to many temples by Christian invaders, I have to wonder if we are any better.
Egypt suffers from some of the same social problems that we do, poverty is up to about 70% of the population and the rich are building their own protected neighborhoods. Tourism is down since their revolution in 2011. Pollution in the city has gotten out of hand. It comes down to public education, we witnessed the disrespect by the city’s own inhabitants.
Overall, I have to say that Egypt is probably the most unique and wondrous country I’ve ever visited. There is no other place on earth that I’m aware of that can compare when it comes to history an architecture. It it’s not on your bucket list, it aught to be.