By Lyn Harley, December 2019 – January 2020
So sorry for the delay, but the schedule for our hearty group of travelers has been quite packed! There are 17 of us, dubbed by our local tour company as “Fun Lenka Travelers”, and it has certainly been a fun and amazing journey. It has also been a delightful journey for the senses as the sights, tastes and smells of Egypt and Jordan are unique.
We relished in the taste of warm felafel served only in the morning, the fresh pressed pomegranate and mango juice served on the street in paper cups, the astounding variety of colorful chopped salads presented at every meal, as well as the hummus, baba ghanoush, eggplant, and grilled meats. We became accustomed to the call to prayer throughout the day and night, the hawkers barking at us to sell their wares (even from a small boat attaching itself to our cruise ship), the constant beeping of car horns, the bleating of the donkeys and the grunting of the camels, and, yes the smell of those animals will certainly not be forgotten!
Photo Album: Egypt
The sights defy the imagination. None of us will forget the grungy town we stopped in on our Nile River tour to see the Edfu Temple -the second largest in Egypt, which we had to access by horse and carriage. Every tour boat on the Nile stopped at the same spot, at the same time carrying their passengers in horse drawn carts. We arrived at the temple in a conglomeration of carriages, tourists, and guides talking, running and pushing their way into the temple to see the huge walls, hieroglyphics, columns and eventually the shrine of the falcon. But then when we were done, we had to somehow find the exact carriage we had arrived in among the confusion and chaos of everyone else trying to do the same thing. But somehow it all worked out!
I think we collectively gasped in awe in the Cairo Museum at the golden face mask of Tutankhamun and the dazzling, astounding array of gold statues, artifacts, and precious gems that had been found in his tomb, where we had just visited the day before! We traveled several hours for a sight we will never forget, Abu Simbel, the magnificent temples of King Ramses II and Queen Nefertari, located on its own gorgeous island cut into the face of a red rock mountain. But was more astounding was that the temple with its huge statues and magnificent pictures of battles and life were moved over the course of 6 years, piece by piece 600 feet to preserve it from disintegrating into the sea. A new mountain was even created!
Photo Album: Jordan
And then there was Jordan with some of the most emotionally riveting sights of all. We stood at the top of Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the promised land before he died, and now I saw it with my own tear filled eyes. We stood at the spot in the Jordan River and watched a young woman in a thin white dress dunk herself in the cold winter waters at the exact place that it was said Jesus had been baptized. We slept in the desert of Wadi Rum (the Valley of the Moon) with its stunning desert landscape and spectacular sandstone mountains, canyons, dunes and arches. Our jeeps traveled over the sand that had been traversed by Lawrence of Arabia!
But almost nothing can compare to Petra, the spectacular sandstone city built in the 3rd century. We accessed the city through a narrow canyon and sky scraping walls, where it is said that water from the stone that Moses struck had once raced through. At last we caught a glimpse of the magnificent ornate, pink columned building carved into the cliff, known as the Treasury. We stood in awe in this pink city of hundreds of tombs, baths, halls, streets and drawings imagining it alive so many thousands of years ago… Some of us climbed or took a donkey up the thousand steps of a monastery to gaze in wonder at the view. This is the place that will surely remain emblazoned in our memories forever!
We continued our travels through Jordan, which was the sight of ancient magnificent Roman cities and we were amazed to walk through ruins trying to understand the historic turns of events that led us to where we are today. We also enjoyed a brief respite at the Dead Sea, where a dunk in the salt filled water is definitely an event!
Our adventures came to a close. We were exhausted but emotionally satiated. Our guides, mainly named Mohammed, brought the history alive with their enthusiasm and stories. Our inspiration and fabulous organizers, Igor and Elena, were incredible in providing us with an experience of a lifetime. Our fellow travelers created a bond and a spirit that forged us into a family. We had the most amazing adventure ever!!
Oh, and one more thing. In Cairo, our group did make it across the street to the cafe on the other side. Our trusty guide, Hani, led us across and somehow managed to part the sea of the fearsome relentless, traffic and, with trepidation but trust, we followed…
With love, Lyn