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Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Beautiful Glimpse of Egypt



Egypt was the last of the triumvirate of nations which consist the HolyLand tour I joined. After kicking off our trip in Jordan and spending almost a week in Israel, the last leg of our journey took us to the land of the Pharaohs and Cleopatra. Along the way we passed by endless stretch of deserted valleys and mountains until the azure waters of the Red Sea signaled the approaching border crossing to Egypt. It was here where we followed the trail of Moses and the Holy Family when they fled Israel after King Herod Antipas issued a marching order to execute all infants in Israel.


Our first stop was Saint Catherine where we settled for the night, but not before, in the afternoon, visiting Saint Catherine's Monastery, one of the oldest Christian monasteries where the biblical "burning bush" is also located.

Mount Sinai


Following the advice of our guides, we started our trek just after the stroke of midnight. Accompanied by the Bedouins – a nomadic group of Arab people inhabiting the vast desert regions of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, we persevered for five hours until we reached the peak of Sinai. The otherworldly landscape and spectacular sunrise took a backseat to the magical feeling of summiting what many believe is the biblical Mount Sinai-the sacred place where God handed the 10 commandments to Moses, thus laying the foundation of what would become "Christian life, piety and worship"

Feels like F-I-R-E-I-N Cairo


After our 10 commandments pilgrimage we crossed an underwater tunnel bridging the Suez Canal and into the African continent part of Egypt and into the city of Cairo where also, a mighty river flows. Awaking to a scorching day where the pavements felt like the inside of an oven, our group spent our day immersing at the extensive collection of ancient relics housed inside the Egyptian Museum. From the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun to numerous statues of Egypt's earliest rulers to the hair-raising mummified corpses inside the Royal Mummies Hall, the museum is truly a must for history junkies.

The River Nile


Our second night in Cairo provided a moment leafed from the pages of history books I read back in grade school, as our group dined aboard a yacht that sailed off the waters of the River Nile. Regarded as the longest river in the world with a total length of 6,853 kilometers, the River Nile slashes through 11 African countries draining at the Mediterranean Sea in Cairo all the way from one of its main water source-Lake Victoria in Uganda. Greek historian Herodotus once wrote that Egypt was a "gift of the Nile" because of the important role the river played through many Egyptian civilizations dating back to the Stone Age.

The Great Pyramid of Giza


"Forward! Remember that from these monuments yonder 40 centuries look down upon you", Napoleon Bonaparte declared to his troops as they geared for the Battle of the Pyramids in July 1798. Indeed, the history of the great pyramids goes back to some of the earliest civilizations on Earth. This very fact made my experience of being there felt more surreal in real life. I remembered looking at the pyramids with a wide eye fascination and standing still being lost in a spectacular-now kind of moment. There is no better way to cap our Holy Land trip than a chance to see the Great Pyramid of Giza up close.

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