Sunday, May 7, 2017

Snapshots of Egypt - Cairo


Not only was Egypt one of the most incredible experiences of my life, as I was able to experience one of the cradles of civilization and gaze upon the wonders that have drawn intellectuals, thrill-seekers, and tourists for over three millennia, but I also was joined by my parents, who I got to see for the first time in three months. Having my parents with me only enhanced the incredible experience of seeing the pyramids. 

The pyramid complex contains three main pyramids belonging to the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure (listed in order of age and size). After a night enjoying traditional Egyptian food and dance, my parents and I were transported to Giza, where the Pyramids are located.

We first approached the Great Pyramid of Khufu - the only true surviving wonder of the seven wonder of the ancient world! The extent of the architectural feat is breathtaking and even impressed my father, who couldn't stop asking questions about the construction and engineering techniques used to built the pyramids. One of the best parts of the trip was seeing my parents experience the history that I love so much, and how much they got into it. Both my mom and dad proceeded to point out objects at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and tell me little things about them that they learned on the tour - their enthusiasm and support meant everything to me. 

Touching a Wonder of the World
After seeing the Great Pyramid, we traveled to the look out point (where the first picture was taken) where we took a camel ride. These animals are awesome and the fact that I have ridden a camel in front of the pyramids of Egypt would be inconceivable if not for the pictures. So many of my bucket-list items have been crossed off while studying abroad, I am going to have to find new dreams to chase.  

Camel Ride

Once we got to the second lookout site, we took pictures (LOOK AT THIS PICTURE OF ME!!) and drank ten euro Pepsis (but at least I got a nice glass soda bottle out of it) which made it feel like we were in a commercial. From here we went to the smallest pyramid - Menkaure - which we were able to enter. We followed the entrance down on a stepped ramp which led into a holding chamber and from their the burial vault. Both my parents and I were surprised at the lack of decoration present inside the pyramid (we only saw white plastered walls), but we all enjoyed saying that we had walked inside one of these architectural wonders.

After seeing the pyramid of Khafre, we were taken to the site of the Sphinx, which is incredible impressive and detailed! I was taken aback, however, by how small the Sphinx appeared compared to the surrounding pyramids, but I think that speaks more to the grand scale of the pyramids than to the size of the Sphinx.
My parents and I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, before flying back to Athens for Easter. We spent Easter Sunday touring around the ruins of Athens, while eating gyros, baklava, and spit-roasted lamb. And as much as I absolutely loved Egypt, it was really a highlight of my study abroad experience to show my parents around the city in which I have been living these last four months.

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