Category Archives: Africa

Diving in the Land of Moses

In the Footsteps of Moses 1Beautiful Dahab A Table by the SeaIn the Footsteps of Moses 2In the Footsteps of Moses 3In the Footsteps of Moses 4In the Footsteps of Moses 5In the Footsteps of Moses 6In the Footsteps of Moses 7In the Footsteps of Moses 8Saint Katherine’s Monastery 1Saint Katherine’s Monastery 2Saint Katherine’s Monastery 3The Burning Bush - Saint Katherine’s Monastery Saint Katherine’s Monastery 4Saint Katherine’s Monastery 5Saint Katherine’s Monastery 6Saint Katherine’s Monastery 7
Eastward I went toward the edge of Africa and beyond. My route passed the town of Rosetta, famous for the stone found there that helped researchers decipher the hieroglyphics, and continued through the Nile delta. The darkness outside my window eased my desire to watch the landscape go by, so I spent most of the journey fading in and out of sleep. I woke up when we hit bumps in the road, or when we stopped for a restroom break, or when large vehicles passed us in the other direction. The landscape was always the same, featureless darkness, so I always drifted back to sleep. At some point in the night I woke up as the bus entered a tunnel – It was the highlight of the night’s journey. Down we went into the earth leaving Africa in our dust. Above us the famous Suez Canal joined the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. It was one of the most important manmade waterways in the world, since it allowed ships to take a shortcut and bypass the often-dangerous voyage around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope. The road started heading up and then we immerged into the early-morning twilight on the other side of the canal. At some point in the tunnel we said farewell to the wild continent of Africa and greeted the exotic realm of Asia. As the bus rambled on into the lightening sky I marveled at the rugged landscape I was passing through. It was a large peninsula filled with jagged mountains and stunning desert scenery and it was one of the most important and most contested pieces of land in the world – I had crossed over into the Sinai Peninsula. Continue reading »

(Not So) Lazy Days in Alexandria

Fort Qaitbey 7The Library of Alexandria 1The Library of Alexandria 2The Library of Alexandria 3The Chatby Necropolis 1The Chatby Necropolis 2Under the Mosque of An-Nabi DanielThe Library of Alexandria 4The Library of Alexandria 5The Library of Alexandria 6Exploring Alexandria 1The Library of Alexandria 7Exploring Alexandria 2Exploring Alexandria 3Exploring Alexandria 4Fort Qaitbey 1Fort Qaitbey 2Fort Qaitbey 3Fort Qaitbey 4Fort Qaitbey 5Fort Qaitbey 6Fort Qaitbey 8Fort Qaitbey 9Fort Qaitbey 10Fort Qaitbey 11Fort Qaitbey 12Fort Qaitbey 13Exploring Alexandria 5Exploring Alexandria 6Mosque of Abu Abbas al-Mursi Pompey’s Pillar Serapeum Temple Complex 1Serapeum Temple Complex - The Library 1Serapeum Temple Complex - The Library 2Serapeum Temple Complex - Electrocution Serapeum Temple Complex 2Serapeum Temple Complex 3Serapeum Temple Complex 4
“Why is the library closed?” The guard baring my way smiled and said, “The library is closed to celebrate its fifth anniversary. It is a very important event.” “When will it reopen?” “In three days.” He was a new class of guard, unlike any I had met in Egypt to that point, and I knew there was no point in trying to talk my way past him. Instead, I stood back and watched all of the commotion around the library. It was clear that they were planning a big party. I was a little frustrated, having walked all the way across town to see it, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Continue reading »

Exploring the Submerged Ruins of Alexandria

Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 10Explorer KeithNapoleon's AnchorAn Amphora Explorer Keith with an AmphoraExploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 1Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 2Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 3Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 4Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 5Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 6Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 7Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 8Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 9Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 11Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 12Exploring the Ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse 13The Octopus
All around me I saw the same, featureless, chalky blue void. If it weren’t for the bubbles coming out of my regulator and rising toward the faint silhouette of the boat above me I couldn’t have even told you which way was up. I sank deeper into the gloom with each passing second. As I went, I carefully equalized the pressure in my ears as I scanned the slightly darker blue below me. My depth gauge read just over 10 meters, so I knew that the bottom was getting close. A few seconds later several shadows materialized out of the void below me, slowly taking on the jumbled shape of a boulder field. One of the objects on the bottom stood out from the rest. Its surface was hidden beneath thousands of years worth of crust and barnacles, but it was still easy to make out its graceful curves and narrow, open mouth. Under different circumstances I would have bellowed a joyous victory cry, but, in the interest of conserving my air, I decided to skip vocalizing my excitement and I just enjoyed the moment. It was a moment that had been long in the making, a childhood dream right up there with stepping foot on the Antarctic continent, or seeing the great pyramids, and finally it was being fulfilled. I drifted closer to the object and I reached out with my hands and I cautiously touched the handles on either side of its mouth – It was the real thing! I drifted back a few feet and just took in the marvelous scene. Scattered around the boulders all around me were several more lovely examples of amphorae, the transport container of choice throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. How the amphorae ended up on the bottom of the sea just outside of Alexandria’s harbor was not clear, but, according to our dive-master, the shipwreck was of Greek origin and had been there for more than 2000 years. Continue reading »

Incidents of Travel in the Monumental City of Thebes

The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 1The Temple of Karnak 1The Temple of Karnak 2The Temple of Karnak 3The Temple of Karnak 4The Temple of Karnak 5The Temple of Karnak 6The Temple of Karnak 7The Temple of Karnak 8The Temple of Karnak 9The Temple of Karnak 10The Temple of Karnak 11The Temple of Karnak 12The Temple of Karnak 13The Temple of Karnak 14The Temple of Karnak 15The Temple of Karnak 16Colossi of MemnonThe Valley of the Kings 1The Valley of the Kings 2The Valley of the Kings 3The Valley of the Kings 4The Valley of the Kings 5The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 2The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 3The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 4The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 5The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 6The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 7The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 8The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 9The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 10The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 11The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 12The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 13The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut 14Exploring the Temple of Luxor 1Exploring the Temple of Luxor 2Exploring the Temple of Luxor 3Exploring the Temple of Luxor 4Exploring the Temple of Luxor 5Exploring the Temple of Luxor 6Exploring the Temple of Luxor 7Exploring the Temple of Luxor 8Exploring the Temple of Luxor 9Exploring the Temple of Luxor 10Exploring the Temple of Luxor 11Exploring the Temple of Luxor 12Exploring the Temple of Luxor 13Exploring the Temple of Luxor 14Exploring the Temple of Luxor 15Exploring the Temple of Luxor 16Exploring the Temple of Luxor 17
It was turning into a beautiful day. The sun was low in the morning sky and the heat was still at a bearable level. I had eaten an early breakfast at the hotel and set off to explore Luxor. I was walking along the wide, riverside promenade beside the Nile enjoying the shade from the trees that lined the way. The river was still asleep and the felucca touts were nowhere to be found. All was peaceful… Continue reading »

Drifting Down the Nile

Drifting Down the Nile 4Drifting Down the Nile 1Drifting Down the Nile 2Drifting Down the Nile 3Drifting Down the Nile 5Exploring Kom Ombo 1Exploring Kom Ombo 2Exploring Kom Ombo 3Exploring Kom Ombo 4Exploring Kom Ombo 5Exploring Kom Ombo 6Exploring Kom Ombo 7Exploring Kom Ombo 8Drifting Down the Nile-14.jpgExploring Kom Ombo 9Exploring Kom Ombo 10Exploring Kom Ombo 11Exploring Kom Ombo 12Exploring Kom Ombo 13Exploring Kom Ombo 14Exploring Kom Ombo 15Exploring Kom Ombo 16Exploring Kom Ombo 17Exploring Kom Ombo 18Temple of Horus 1 - EdfuTemple of Horus 2 - EdfuTemple of Horus 3 - EdfuTemple of Horus 4 - EdfuTemple of Horus 5 - EdfuTemple of Horus 6 - EdfuTemple of Horus 7 - EdfuTemple of Horus 8 - EdfuTemple of Horus 9 - EdfuTemple of Horus 10 - EdfuTemple of Horus 11 - EdfuTemple of Horus 12 - EdfuTemple of Horus 13 - EdfuTemple of Horus 14 - Edfu
The thought of sailing down the Nile on a felucca has always evoked romantic images of the past for me. Their broad triangular sails have been part of the Nile landscape since the time of the pharaohs. For thousands of years feluccas were the main mode of transportation along the Nile. Their importance waned only after the British pushed the steel rails south into the desert during the nineteenth century. Now they are almost exclusively reserved for the tourist industry. Many of the guidebooks list cruising on a felucca as the ultimate Nile experience. I have heard travelers call their felucca journey the highlight of their trip in Egypt, but I have also heard the voyages described as boring, uncomfortable and painfully long. I love boats, especially sailboats, and everything to do with being out on the water, so there was no question in my mind that I wanted to cruise down the Nile on a felucca. The question was whether or not I was going to be able to. Continue reading »