Monday, January 18, 2010


We recently returned from what was possibly the best trip of our lives, at least in terms of breadth of experience. During our seven days in Egypt, we toured some of the holiest and architecturally stunning sites in Islam, saw many of the marvels of ancient Egypt including the Giza pyramids/sphinx and the Karnak temple complex, sailed the Nile at sunset, survived the organized chaos that is Cairo driving where "lane" is truly a foreign concept (and we thought Abu Dhabi drivers were insane...hah!), and swam/snorkeled in some of the most beautiful waters in the world. And while we encountered a plethora of places and people, there was one constant refrain throughout our time there: the warmth, humor, and generosity of the Egyptians. We'll say more about this in an upcoming entry so for now I'll let the pictures do the talking.

1st Destination - Cairo

Giza Pyramids and Sphinx

Barquq Mausoleum

The Citadel - built by Saladin (he retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders in the 12th century)

Mohammed Ali Pasha Mosque

Sultan Hassan Mosque

View of Cairo from Minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque

Inner courtyard of Ibn Tulun Mosque, the largest and oldest mosque in Cairo still in its original form

Example of arabesque geometric designs found in Islamic architecture

Courtyard of Al-Azhar Mosque, the center of learning in Sunni Islam (and part of Al-Azhar University, the oldest in the world)

Al-Ghuri Complex (marketplace on the oldest street in Islamic Cairo)

Mmm...Egyptian bread (they're talented in both making and carrying it)!

Fishawy's - famous example of Cairene cafe culture

A merchant's stall in Khan El-Khalili, a bustling marketplace where you can pretty much buy anything your heart desires and enjoy the art of haggling

2nd Destination - Luxor

Waiting for breakfast to be served in the courtyard of the Amon Hotel on the west bank of Luxor, a serene oasis after the chaos and clamor of Cairo

Sunset felucca ride on the Nile heading toward Banana Island (our captain was a Bob Marley fan)

Banana Island

hence the name

Sam steering us home

Fabulous Egyptian-style dinner at Africa, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the village of Gezira and the Nile

Excavation continues to this day - this dig is led by archeologists at University of Basel, Switzerland

One of three tombs we went inside (Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep II, and Ramses I)

Hiking over the mountain from Valley of the Kings to Hatshepsut's Temple

View of the Nile River Valley (unfortunately a hazy day, but you can sort of make out the lush green in the background)

Ruins of Deir El-Medina, the city where the workers lived who constructed all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings over hundreds of years

Djeser-Djeseru, Hatshepsut's mortuary temple complex (a female Pharoah who reigned nearly 22 years, Hatshepsut is a fascinating historical figure)

Ramesseum (memorial temple of Ramesses the Great, believed to be the pharoah of the biblical exodus)

Final Destination - Sharm El-Sheikh

View from our hotel room of the pool and the Red Sea beyond - exquisite!

After four days of nonstop sight-seeing in Cairo and Luxor, we spent the entire first day in Sharm at our hotel - lying on the beach, swimming, lying by the pool, eating, and playing ping pong

On the second day we were a bit more productive (though we still spent a good deal of time lying in the sun) with a snorkeling tour of the Red Sea coral reefs at Ras Mohammed marine national park

Shannon eagerly awaiting her first-ever snorkeling attempt (without any instruction, she soon realized this is not an intuitive activity, but she finally got the hang of it)

Sam returning to the boat after his first underwater view of the coral reefs

Relaxed by the sun and satiated by witnessing the beauty of God's creation, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for our early morning flight back to Abu Dhabi


  1. Love the pics! So many familiar scenes to stir memories from so long ago. Are those freckles I see on your face?

  2. Oh, what a fabulous trip! Please tell me you ate a lot of ful! -Allison

  3. Amazing! The first pictures brought tears to my eyes. I'm such a dork. It's one thing to read about this stuff in history books or whatever, but to see your friends standing there...Wow. :)

  4. I'm revisiting this while sipping on my yummy and surprisingly deep red jasmine tea from the Khan El-Khalili Market Place that arrived from you today, a bit squashed.

  5. Great posts you guys! Smiling thinking about you two having fun doing all that traveling! (In a non creepy way, I promise)