Oh me Oh my! We truly had no idea what this year had in store for us when we boarded a plane to South Africa in January. Egypt had been on our list for quite some time, but we never imagined that this year would be the year we would see it with our own eyes! Every 90 days, we have “conveniently” (not so conveniently… or affordably) had to leave the country, to “take a vacation……err, get a new visa stamp, so this was our 90 day vacay, and we were not complaining.
You wouldn’t believe how cool it was flying into Cairo. There was something so beautiful and artistic about the dry, cracked earth that went on for miles and miles. Peaceful and untouched. As we neared the city, we flew right over Red Sea – I was in awe. Thoughts of the ancient days of Egypt and Bible stories I had read all my life filled my mind. The miracle of Moses parting the Red Sea and the children of Israel walking through on dry ground penetrated my heart more than ever before. Starring at the Red Sea, I was even more amazed by the act of faith, trust and courage it took, to walk away from Egypt and into the barren wasteland that lay before them. It was truly a miracle! Joseph and the story of his technicolor dream coat also came to my mind. The sadness that must have filled Joseph’s heart as he was sold into Egypt by his brothers must have been overwhelming for him and his parents. The last story from the New Testament that came to my mind was the story of Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus and their flight to Egypt. This realization struck a tender chord in my heart; we were coming to a place where Jesus once was. I felt such reverence for this beautiful desert city. I hadn’t thought about how many connections to Egypt there are in the scriptures, but they were all coming alive for me as I stared down through that tiny airplane window. I was filled with humility and gratitude.
The plane ride lit a fire in me, and the flame grew as we explored Cairo. We only had a few days to explore, but enough time to get a taste of Cairo and be hungry for more. Traffic from the airport to our hotel was insane; wall-to-wall cars for almost 2 solid hours. Egypt in July, a total sweat fest, but truthfully, I didn’t mind the heat and we didn’t sweat nearly as much as we did in Dubai. We were both just ecstatic to be there!
The Egyptian Museum was literally right across the street from our hotel, so naturally this was our first stop. Egypt is an amazing city, but one that is plagued by terrorism, and so there was quick a bit of security to get to the museum. We went through 3 checkpoints before entering. The building itself is a bright pink color, and definitely stands out. The artifacts, sculptures, papyrus scrolls, furniture, sarcophagus, mummies, ancient hieroglyphics, and everything in the museum was fascinating. There was so much to see and learn! Even in our fatigued state, we were so intrigued we walked around for hours investigating every room.
Tuesday evening we walked through the streets looking for something delicious to eat. We came to a restaurant that was packed with people and nobody spoke a lick English. That is when we knew we were in the right place! We pointed to some wraps that others were eating and shook our heads to confirm that we wanted to order whatever they were eating. We paid only 3 Egyptian Pounds for two sandwich wraps, good-size too! They were only about .08 cents per sandwich – delicious and incredibly cheap! Since it was Fourth of July, we found ourselves a package of Oreo’s and a Coca-Cola (even though we aren’t really Coke drinkers), because that was the most American things we could find to celebrate. We also enjoyed ice cream cones and bought 2 Egyptian cotton button-ups for Rob, because they were super cheap and when in Egypt you’ve got to buy Egyptian cotton – it’s a thing!
Our last day in Cairo we woke up early and headed straight to the pyramids – YES, the Egyptian Pyramids!!! This was a place we had both dreamed of coming for years. Our anticipation was running wild! As we were driving through the city, we were surprised when one of the pyramids popped up between the trees. We had no idea they were so close to the city. When you see picture of the Pyramids, they look so isolated, like they are way out in the middle of nowhere, but they’re actually not! Crazy what photos will do to your expectations. From the moment we saw them, Rob couldn’t take his eyes off of them. He was like a puppy dog sticking his head out the window. He was in a trance. I love seeing him this excited. 🙂 We ran past several people trying to sell us a camel or horse ride, hurried up the small hill to the ticket booths, bought our tickets, and ran into the park. The first pyramid is literally right in front of you when you enter the gate. We both stopped and looked at each other in disbelief. We were standing next to one of the Pyramids of Giza. It was incredible. It seemed unreal. We walked around it, climbed around, touched the stones, and stared at it for a while. Each individual stone was almost as tall as me (5′-3″) and even wider than that. The engineering is amazing, especially when you think about the limited tools they had to work with. Imagine trying to pick one of those stones up by hand!
We walked around each pyramid for hours and eventually made our way over to the Sphinx. The Sphinx was also really cool. The nose is partially gone, but there is a lot of emotion you can see in the face. It is beautiful. We also got to go inside one of the pyramids and see the one of the tombs. The tomb was actually quick large after you walked down the long, narrow tunnel to get there. It’s intriguing to me they went to so much effort to bury and protect their kings (Pharaohs). Each pyramid has been worn by desert winds and sand over the years, but each possesses such character and raw beauty.
I am amazed that they are still standing strong after so many years. Egypt and the Pyramids were unlike anything we have ever seen and they will forever hold a special place in our memories. We keep saying to dream big, because when you dream big, work hard, and you go after those dreams, they really do come true. 🙂