Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Trip of a Lifetime: Part IV Goodbye to Egypt and a Week in Paris

Dear Viewers, I hope you will tolerate looking through one more photo album of my trip to Egypt and France. The end of our time in Egypt continued with more adventures--riding camels at the Pyramids, riding horses in the desert, seeing Whirling Dervishes, learning more about bartering, and soaking in as much of this interesting and exotic culture as possible.

We saved the most iconic sights for the last days in Egypt. Our trip to Sakkura where the oldest step-pyramid stands, proved to be both historically fascinating as well as presenting its own mystery. As is typical at the tourist attractions throughout Egypt, there are many men waiting to tell you about the ruins and show you especially interesting details, etc. for a baksheesh (tip). These people may or may not distribute the true history, but it can turn into an adventure. 

Sakkura and Giza

When we entered Sakkura, we paid for an additional ticket to go into a special tomb, one that features the tomb of two brothers. As we wandered through the ruins, we could not see any signs or indications of where our special ticket was going to be of use. One fellow took us into a tomb where we had to hunch over for 50 yards, climbing down a steep slope to finally arrive in the tomb. He even talked me into letting him take an illegal photograph, as photography is not allowed in the tombs. (He was very insistent!)

But this was not the tomb we had a special ticket for, so on we went on our quest.

Finally, one fellow seemed to understand what we were looking for. He told us to wait, while he found the man who had the key to open the tomb. Several minutes later, he reappeared with the man who did indeed have the key and we did indeed get into the tomb of the two brothers, which was the frosting on the cake for me. (But I enjoyed the hunt for the tomb almost as much.)

After the morning's trekking around ruins in 100 degree searing sun, we were ready for a lunch break. This restaurant is renowned to have the best chicken in Cairo, and I would not argue. It was delicious.

Chickens roasting on quite the mechanical set-up.
After lunch we went on to the Pyramids of Giza, and I finally lived my dream of riding a camel by a Pyramid.

The Sphinx through the haze of Cairo.

Whirling Dervishes

Entering the Wekalet El Ghouri Arts Center which was built in 1504 which is the venue for the Whirling Dervishes in Cairo.

A Desert Horse Ride

Something our granddaughter loves is horseback riding, so our hosts, the Rutherfords, arranged for a ride in the desert. It was an activity they had not done before, but everyone was game to try. The expat woman who created her own piece of paradise in Egypt rescues both horses and dogs, with a few goats and water buffalo she has quite a menagerie. 

L to R, Sam, Wayne, Maya, Yoshiko and Angelica
This was another great experience. As we rode along pyramids, we found that there are many lesser pyramids all through the desert, and no one could identify them for us.

Six Days in Paris/Versailles
(It's not enough!)

We had one day and night in Paris before meeting our friends in Versailles and we made the most of it, eating our first French croissants, visiting the Louvre, and taking a night tour of the Eiffel Tower.


We met up with our friends Anna and Rose who joined us for their school break in Versailles.
They taught us that bread or croissants are the go-to breakfast in France and you must buy it that morning!

Château de Versailles

is so glitzy. Apparently there was never too much gold, too many chandeliers, or too many paintings for the Louis (plural).

When Marie Antoinette got overwhelmed by the glitz, she would retreat to her small chateau, built purely for her pleasure. No wonder the French rebelled!

After a day of touring the Castle and it's grounds, we attended the horse show at the Equestrian Show Academy - Palace of Versailles. This was an impressive display of what horses can be trained to do.

Back in Paris, we tried to fit in as much as possible into our short stay.

Musée d'Orsay

Outside the Musee d'Orsay

Inside the fabulous gallery
Wow! Van Gogh 
Gorgeous view from the roof.
Monmartre, Paris

Basilica of Sacre-Coeur
Angelica got a charcoal portrait done in the square full of artists selling their skills. We had a yet another delicious French bread sandwich on the sidewalks. 

And a visit to the Dali Museum was mind-bending! Below is a quote of Dali's that I couldn't resist!

We eventually had to pack up and head home. Thank you to our friends and family for making this a Trip of a Lifetime!
Anna and Rose made our last dinner in our Paris apartment.
We were well worn out by the end of the 3 weeks!

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