Day 4 & 5. Abu Simbel and Nile Cruise

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Jan/25 Breakfast on board train, Upon arrival at Aswan Station you will meet with our local representative to transfer you to your hotel for check in and freshen up. Later meeting with your Egyptologist tour guide at the lobby to start your tour visiting the Philae Temple, the High Dam, and the Granite Quarries. Return back to your hotel for overnight.

Jan/26 Day/05 Breakfast at hotel. Meeting with your tour manager to transfer you to Abu Simbel by private air conditioned Van. Upon arrival Abu Simbel, you will be transferred to visit the Great Temple of Ramses the 2nd one of the greatest and most whimsical kings of Egypt the temple is dedicated in theory to the gods Amon-Ra, Harmakis and Ptah, the temple was carved in and stone rock cliff with the four colossal seated statues of the King in front of the entrance, each statue is 20 meters high and measures 4 meters from ear to ear, taking a closer look you will realize that each statue present the king Ramses in different ages of his life starting from youth age till he became a mature King, the temple wall decorations celebrate the military grandeur of the king, continue your tour visit the temple of Nefertari the King’s beloved wife. Both temples were threatened by the increasing level of the Nile upon the completion of the Aswan High Dam and have been preserved in the 60’s by international action organized by UNESCO. All parts of the temple have been moved and rebuilt on a plateau above the former site, the temple is considered a miracle of the ancient and modern history. Return to Abu-Simbel a hewn in rock with the four colossal seated statues of the king in front of the entrance. It was dedicated to Amun-Ra, the Horrakhti and Ramses II. After visiting the Temple you will be transferred again to Aswan to your Deluxe Nile Cruise ship embarkation. Lunch on board. Sail on the Nile by felucca around Elephantine Island, Botanical Gardens and Agha Khan Mausoleum. Afternoon tea. Dinner on board & Nubian folkloric show. Overnight in Aswan.

After we got off of the disgusting train, we were finally in Aswan. Aswan was beautiful. Our hotel was right by the Nile and the weather was great. When we arrived at our hotel, we were crushed to discover that our rooms wouldn’t be ready until 1pm. We were expected to head out and start our tour in about half an hour. We drank some tea and freshened up in the bathroom. Our guide was a woman this time, which was different, because all of our previous guides had been men. Our first stop was the Philae Temple. I think that this was my favorite temple, but they’ve sadly all blurred in my head by now. After the temple we went back to our hotel to rest, and then back out to go on a felucca ride! The felucca ride was a lot of fun. The temple was as usual, beautiful, and surrounded with paper flowers (that’s the name of the flowers, they weren’t actually made out of paper.) These are my new favourite flowers. They smell like fruit! If I could grow them in Canada I would.

We stopped at McDonalds on the Nile for lunch, and had the McArriba, which was chicken or beef in a flatbread. I love how McDonalds adapts around the world for different nations. Then we went back on the felucca, for an extra $25 US a person (a lot compared to everything else!) and visited the Nubian village. The village was ok. It was weird to see. It was a mix of shops and stalls selling things to tourists, and a decrepit village. For some reason, people here ( and this trend continued throughout Egypt) were fascinated by my felt tipped pens, and kept asking if they could have some. I gave some away, but needed them to draw with! We had dinner at a local restaurant that was floating on a barge on the Nile. Pretty!

The next day, we had to get up at the ungodly hour of 3am to join a convoy. All of the tour buses and vans were going to travel in an armed convoy to go to Abu Simbel, because it is in the middle of the dessert and not safe to go alone. It took us 3 hours to get there. I mostly slept. When we arrived there, it was breathtaking. Ramses II was pretty conceited, he had tons of statues of himself, but he built a temple for Nefertari, which I guess redeems him?
There was an interesting hieroglyphic in there, of a horse depicting movement. It is believed to be one of the first forms of animation in the world. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the temple (so UNESCO could make money selling postcards, I think.)

We drove back to Aswan, where to embarked onto our cruise ship. We had to walk through 5 ships to get to our ship, and we didn’t even SEE the outside of our ship until the 3rd day. The ship was really relaxing, and the food was delicious.

PS: If you are reading this…comment!

Day three: churches, mosques and museums.

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Jan/24 :Breakfast at hotel. Meeting with your Egyptologist tour guide at the lobby to enjoy your tour visiting one of the famous and unique museums the World the Egyptian Museum, famous for its antiquities from Egypt’s Pharaonic period, which include the fabulous treasures of King Tut-Ankh-Amon. Continue your tour to Old Cairo, visiting the oldest part of Cairo to St. Sergious Church, where the Holy Family was hidden while they were in Egypt.Followed by visiting the oldest Jewish Synagogue of Ben Ezra. Lunch at local restaurant. Visit the medieval Citadel of Salah El- Din, which contains many structures, the most impressive of which is the Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali,It was designed in the early 19th Century by a Greek Architect from Turkey. At the end of your tour visit Khan El Khalili Bazaar, which is the main tourist bazaar located in narrow passageways. (Complimentary from our Company) At the End of your tour you are invited to have mint Tea and nergile (if you wish) at the oldest and most popular cafe named “Fishawy cafe”. Then meeting with your tour manager to transfer you to Cairo station for your sleeper train to Aswan. Dinner and overnight on board train.

We started off the day by heading to the Cairo museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. The museum had lots of random street cats milling about outside. They were cute! The museum had lots of interesting exhibitions, but it was packed with tourists. My favourite part was seeing the illustrated papryus. We paid $10 extra to go into the mummy room. The mummies were nice but creepy. Their toes were almost as long as fingers. (yes you needed to know that.)
After the museum, we went to old Cairo, which was really pretty with lots of old churches and cobblestones. We visited a catholic church, a synagogue and then finally Citadel of Salah El-Din. It was beautiful outside. We had to cover our shoulders and take off our shoes to go inside of the mosque. We had lunch at another gross tourist buffet place, and then went to the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. The Khan El Khalili Bazaar is amazing. It has tons of twisted tunnels and is chock full of people selling interesting clothes, purses, spices and silver. The only downfall were the merchants. They were so aggressive! They would call out to you according to your background, so they kept calling me “brown sugar,” and they kept calling out “namaste!” to my travel companions. It was very annoying. It was also really hard to shop, because if you even paused to look for something, they would urge you to come in and follow you for a little bit. If you said someone to the people you were with, ie, “I need to find some spices.” They would be like, oh, I have spices, very good spices, come and see. One shop owner even called out, “Maybe I will take some money from you today?” Which was a weird way to encourage sales, but whatever floats your boat…

I bought lots of stuff, like spices, leather purses ( made from camels! =S) figurines, perfume oil and glass perfume bottles. The prices were very good, but you had to haggle, because if you accepted the first price you would be over paying by the very least, half of what the item was worth.

After, we went to the train station to go from Cairo to Aswan. The train was terrible, and we had first class tickets! It was really rickety, and the food was awful. IT was an overnight train. The next morning, someone told me that they had seen a cockroach in their compartment. I’m REALLY glad I didn’t see one.

Trip of a Lifetime: Egypt

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So, last month I was fortunate enough to be invited on what you could call the trip of a lifetime. I went to Egypt! For two weeks. The tour company that we went with was called Royal Egypt/Just Egypt. For the most part, they were pretty excellent. I’m going to start with trying to post a day at a time.

Day 1:

We flew from Toronto to Paris, and then Paris to Cairo. Being so close to Paris and not being able to LEAVE THE TERMINAL “damn near killed me,” in the words of Holden Caulfield. I was able to eat a super yummy croissant, and have a pretty good chocolate ganache macaroon though. When we finally landed in Cairo, it was pretty late, around 9pm, and the airport was hectic. They stamped our passports, we exchanged some money, and then we went off to find our guide.

Our guide dropped us off at our hotel in Giza, and we pretty much fell asleep. (the call to prayer woke me up about 3 times, though.)

Day 2: Jan/23

Breakfast at hotel.8: 30 A.M. You will meet with your guide at the lobby to tour some of Egypt’s most ancient sites:
the ruins of Memphis at the edge of the western desert, Egypt’s first Capital until the end of the Kingdom and one of the most important cities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Close to Memphis, we drive to Sakkara, the
City of the dead with the famous step Pyramid of Djosser. Lunch at local restaurant. Continue your tour the Pyramids of Giza, The Great Pyramid Cheops (Khufu’s), is the largest one of the three and one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, was built In the 4th dynasty about 2690 B.C.In front of the Pyramid of Chephren, there stand the alabaster Sphinx, which was discovered in 1912,carved from a single piece of stone. It is a lion with a Pharaoh’s head thought to be a portrait of the Pharaoh Chephren.

Breakfast was buffet style, and there were lots of different types of breads. We went to meet our guide, who was very much like a teacher. He really wanted to make sure we understood this history behind everything, and he would get annoyed when we took pictures outside of our allotted “photo time.” We saw Memphis, which was kind of like an outdoor open air museum. We saw a small sphinx, a mummification table, and the ruins of great statues. After, we went to see one of pyramids, the step Pyramid of Djosser. It was great to see it, but it was under visible construction, which was a little sad. After, we went to a buffet for lunch. The restaurant was full of tourists getting off of their tour buses. I didn’t really like the food, and it felt like it was kind of the go to place to take busloads of tourists. It didn’t feel very authentic, but the bread (as usual?) was delicious.

After lunch we went to see the great pyramids. They were huge! We also got to ride camels, my favourite part. Camels make pretty horrifying noises. Case in point. I didn’t realize that getting on a camel would be so SCARY. They are HUGE. I kept feeling like I was going to fall off at any second. It was also not confidence inspiring that my other three travel companions had their camels led around by grown men, and my camel was led by a 4 year old, non English speaking little boy. (Ahmed). It was a lot of fun, though. After the camel rides, they day was over. I decided to visit the local mall, which had a surprising variety of womens fashions. It was weird, because the mall had about 8 levels.

Quebec City & Montreal in Fall

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I went on a mini trip <3

North Bay

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Last week, I went to visit my friend in the glorious land of North Bay, Powassan.
Or something.

2 more days till I return to english.

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So I haven’t been posting much. Here are some pictures from when we visited le Centre de la Biodiversité a trois rivieres for environment class. Everyone loves bunnies!
And some pictures from when I was in Montreal. More Montreal pics coming soon!

the view from my window

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yeah, I’m in the middle of nowhere.

the paper factory

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So, I think that the best choice I made at Trois Rivieres was taking Environment as an elective.
Each class is different and interesting, and the instructor is very nice.

So far we’re gone hiking in the woods, visited an anatomy lab, seen dead stuffed animals [ ick ] and today, we went to the paper factory!

I love paper. I just wish that the tour had been in english so that I would have understood it all.
I also wish that the machines would have been up and running while we were there, but that would have been unsafe.

Sigh.

This has just left me with a large urge to find kraft paper envelopes.

Old Quebec City

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So on Saturday we went to Quebec City.

It was beautiful! It makes me wonder why there isn’t an “Old Toronto.”

There should be. We mostly stayed in Old Quebec.

I fell in love with the cobblestones and Simons.

Warning: These photos are not the best. I was too excited to stop and get good shots!

Week 2, day 2.

j'explore, quebec, trois rivieres No Comments »

Bonjour !
I am having severe problems with uploading photos. it seems that my laptop doesn`t like quebec.
but, here are some photos I managed to upload at the library.

We visited a church that was strangely very commerical. It was really pretty outside, though.

this was my pastry, vol au vent. I thought it would be filled with something wonderful and delicious, but alas, it was only filled with …nothingness. you are supposed to fill it with your own yumminess.

This is in the downtown, Trois Rivieres.

 

this was an overpriced panini, that was cold in the middle from Press Cafe. The waitresses were very nice though.

this croissant looked better than it tasted. =(

Yesterday, Julie and I went for a walk. This saturday we are going to visit Quebec City! Je suis tres excite.