Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “I” is for Island Temple of Philae

Without a doubt, the temple I was most excited to see was Philae. Why? Well, if you didn’t know, I’m a bit of a The Mummy fangirl.

Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy. We don’t speak of that other one.

In the sequel, The Mummy Returns, our heroes, Rick and Evie O’Connell, must prevent the reawakened Imhotep from raising Anubis’ army to conquer the world, as well as rescue their son, Alex, whom Imhotep holds captive, as he wears the Bracelet of Anubis, which contains the map to the Oasis of Ahm Shere, where Imhotep plans to kill the Scorpion King and take over command of Anubis’ army…

Yeah, there’s a lot going on. You really have to watch the movie to understand it all.

Anyway, in the movie, those following the map are guided to various (real) temples along the Nile en route to the (fictional) Oasis. Philae is one of those temples, along with Karnak and Abu Simbel. So I was very excited to see the real Philae after watching it on TV hundreds of times (because that’s about how many times I’ve seen this movie).

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “H” is for Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut. Not sure how to pronounce that? Here’s a quick tip from our tour guide: sound it out like hot chicken soup. Now replace the ken and p sounds with p and t, respectively, and you have the name of one of Egypt’s most famous female pharaohs, who was almost completely erased from history thanks to a family feud.

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, one of the many stops on a jam-packed Day 3 of our Egyptian tour of Thebes that started at 6AM, is located on the back side of the Valley of the Kings. Yep, you read that correctly. Queen Hatshepsut is buried with the kings of Egypt, not the queens.

And from the way she is depicted in the artwork on the temple walls and in the sphinxes that guard the walkway leading to the temple, you’d think she was a man. Even her statues posted against the columns of the temple assume the identity of Osiris, the male god of the dead.

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “G” is for Great Pyramid of Giza

Undoubtedly, the highlight of our tour of Egypt was seeing the pyramids of Giza, and not just seeing them but actually going inside one of them!

Giza was Day 1 of our sightseeing tour, and what an eventful Day 1 it was! We touched the pyramids, we climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid and posed with the king, we rode camels, we kissed the Sphinx, I nearly died of heat stroke…

Click images for captions

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “F” is for Fragrance

As you may have already figured out, I’m not normally a travel blogger. Outside of my dump of photos from previous birthdays spent in Tulum, Mexico, and the Maldives in this post and my flash fiction series inspired by my cruise to Alaska, I very rarely talk about my travels on this blog.

As such, when I take photos and record videos, the sole purpose is to create memories, not content. And sometimes I don’t even think to do that because I’m too busy relishing the moment, enjoying the experience of being in a place where I once could only dream of being. So please excuse the occasional grainy cellphone photo or, in the case of this post, no photo at all.

You see, on this trip, we visited two perfume palaces—one in Cairo and the other in Aswan—and while I’m sure you would’ve loved for me to have at least filmed a reel of all the different fragrances on the shelves or taken a snapshot of the various style of perfume bottles and incense burners or even the lavish furniture we sat on in the private back room, where the sales agent explained to us the difference between perfume and essence.

But if I did that, would I really remember everything that was said? And would I remember enough to come home and tell you just how much those overpriced name-brand perfumes are ripping us off?

Well, ripping y’all off. I’m way too cheap to buy expensive perfume. That is, until Egypt. But here’s why…

Okay, I lied. I did take pictures…at home…after I unpacked my suitcase
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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “E” is for Empty Tombs

During our stay in Egypt, we visited many tombs, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and the Valley of the Queens.

Some tombs we didn’t go inside, but we were still able to see them relatively up close, such as the tombs of ancient nobles from the Old and Middle Kingdoms (c. 2700–2200 BC and 2040 to 1782 BC, respectively) in Qubbet el-Hawa on the western bank of the Nile, which we sailed by on our way to the botanical island in Aswan, and the tomb of Muhammad Ali Pasha inside the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, one of our final stops on our Cairo sightseeing tour.

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “D” is for Delays, Delays, Delays

Note: I had some technical difficulties posting “C” last night, so if you missed that one, click the link at the end of this post. 🙂

I promise you, posts about the specific places we visited in Egypt are coming, eventually, but first we must discuss just how difficult it was to get there.

As I said in “Arrival,” we faced many obstacles. I had no idea what to wear, my visa was denied, we missed the window to book the direct flight, our bags were overweight…

And to top it all off, every single one of our flights was delayed. And they were delayed for the most bizarre of reasons. Let me explain…

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “C” is for Cruisin’ the River Nile

(Click to enlarge) A map of Egypt showing various locations along the Nile, with Cairo in the north (or Lower Egypt) and Luxor in the south (or Upper Egypt)

The majority of our nine-day tour of Egypt was spent cruisin’ up the Nile.

By the way, did you know that the river Nile flows north? So going up the river actually means going south.

The itinerary began with an early morning domestic flight from Cairo to Luxor, and our cruise was from Luxor to Aswan.

To backtrack just a little bit, we arrived in Cairo at around 12AM Sunday morning. We checked into our hotel at 2AM, squeezed in a few hours of sleep, and got up again at 7AM to begin a long Day 1 of sightseeing in Giza, Saqqara, and Memphis (future posts). Day 1 ended with a trip to Mall of Arabia, where Mama bought an extra suitcase so we wouldn’t have an issue with overweight bags coming back home. When we returned to the hotel at the end of the day, it was again late, and our flight to Luxor was scheduled for 7AM Monday, which meant we had to be ready to leave the hotel by 5AM.

It was starting to look like we wouldn’t get any sleep this trip.

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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “B” is for Buyer’s Remorse

When I was in high school, I traveled to Spain with my Spanish class for spring break. It was my first time out of the country and also my Sweet Sixteen. In that week, I saw a bullfight, swam in the Mediterranean, watched a flamenco show, partied the night away on a riverboat cruise on the río Guadalquivir in Seville, and toured many sights in Madrid and Andalusia. It was truly a birthday to remember, and I bought A LOT of souvenirs—some for myself but most of them for family and friends.

I bought so much stuff that when I came across a beautiful flamenco dress while browsing in a souvenir shop in Costa Del Sol, I decided not to spend the €80 to purchase it because I didn’t think I had enough money. When I returned home, Mom, who was monitoring my bank account, confirmed that I had in fact overdrawn it but assured me she would have deposited more money, so I could’ve bought the dress.

It was crushing to hear, but from that moment forward, I decided in my heart that whenever I traveled somewhere, if I saw something that I really wanted, particularly if it was something unique to that culture, such as an item of clothing, I was gonna buy it and worry about the money later.

However, there still should be a limit on how much money that is…

Entrance to a bazaar in Cairo, where I bought a galabeya dress, some spices, and dates
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Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “A” is for Arrival

plane at airport at dusk

It’s finally April, and I’ve returned from my month-long hiatus to tell you all about what I’ve been up to while away.

So where did I go? Well, it may be April Fool’s Day, but I’m not playing you for a fool. As the title of this blog post implies, I did in fact go to Egypt, and it was an incredible experience!

However, it started off kind of rocky…or should I say turbulent.

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2023 April A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Hello, Friends!

I’m briefly dropping in from my hiatus to announce that I’ve decided I will participate in the April A to Z Challenge this year to tell you all about my trip to Egypt!

(Did you decipher the clues at the end of this post?)

I haven’t decided whether I would do every letter in the alphabet, as I really am trying to cut down on posting every day so that I can make time for other personal goals, but I promise you’ll feel like you were there when it’s all said and done.

Here’s just a glimpse of our adventures!

Nortina's Egyptian Travel Diaries

See you in April!

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