Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Aegean Sea Cruise: A Bit More From Cairo, & Alexandria, Egypt

Today is our last full day aboard the Grand Princess ship. We are still at sea, sailing the beautiful and shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. I’m reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child, and what a terrific book so far. It was the final book written by the venerable cooking expert known as The French Chef, and more importantly, author of numerous best selling cookbooks including “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. I can almost hear her speak the words I am reading, with her usual sense of humor and amusing manner. It is a perfect book to read on vacation. So my last two days at sea are filled with this enjoyable story of the great Julia Child. Anyway, I digress.
I have a few more photos to share from Cairo, Egypt and then a few quick flashes of Alexandria. This one above left was within our hotel in Cairo, it is a replica statue of the "guard" statues inside King Tut's tomb. Next up are photos from a rather interesting place where we stopped for lunch in Giza. It looked a bit like a camp for gypsies, hurriedly put together with color tents and makeshift grounds. But it was actually connected to a hotel (see hotel pool below), and made to look as it were. We sat down and were enthusiastically gre
eted by a man who mainly spoke Arabic but knew enough English for us to communicate. To the table he brought an individual mini-grill, which had piles of chicken pieces, elongated meatballs and tomatoes. It sizzled and smelled absolutely delicious. Immediately behind him was another waiter who served plates of hummus, diced eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some other dip, plus a dish of things wrapped in grape leaves and other mysterious foods. Finally a plate of freshly made bread- sort of liked pita bread but all puffy. It was quite good. It was surprisingly good, and I bravely consumed most of what they served. Yes, I was trying to delve deep into the local culture and taste Egypt. Here are a few photos:

above: as we first approached the restaurant, this is what we saw. Naturally I was hesitant, but I always keep an open mind while traveling!

above: this was the sort of hookah bar...

above: it sure looked festive....

above: this was the little grill with all the meat on it sizzling away

above: there were all sorts of dishes with delicacies, including some mystery friend things next to the french fries- I tried it all.
The Imperial Mohammed Ali Mosque
We visited a grand Imperial Mosque, called the Mohammed Ali Mosque. It was up on a high hill in the center of a fortress, along with the Sultan Hassan. Interestingly, this mosque was built by the same architect who constructed the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. Within this mosque is the tomb of the prophet Mohammed Ali.

above: exterior view of the Mosque. The silver domes are all covered in lead.

above: the external courtyard, but this is considered a prayer area at the mosque, so shoes came off here.

above: the water fountain within the courtyard to cleanse yourself before prayer

above: this was reserved for the Sultan, who back in the day, would have a grand place within the mosque.

above: beautiful inscriptions on these round panels adorned the four pillars of the main dome.

above: the main dome was surrounded by half domes, all beautiful and ornate. These are actually carved from wood, and decorated.

above: difficult to see in this photo but above the door is a wonderful gold half ring.

above: within the mosque is the tomb of Mohammed

above: and within that room is the actual marble tomb itself

above: I like the lion on the wall here with the mosque in the distance.

above: close up of the water fountain- it was carved from ONE giant piece of alabaster

above: a close up of the detail above the water fountain. You can see the restoration work in progress, look at the panels on either side of the center one.
A few other glimpses of Cairo
Here are some other random photos around Cairo to give you more of an sense of the city:

above: Cairo is a huge, sprawling city

above: its not uncommon to find donkey drawn carts on the main streets

above and below: or herds of sheep crossing in the middle of busy roads!

Finally while in Alexandria I didn’t take many photos, but here are a few:

above: the Alexandria Library building itself is slanted with an interesting glass roof

above: an ordinary building, but I just liked the arched windows with blue tile work

Once again, thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Egypt. We’ll arrive back in Rome tomorrow, which is starting to feel like home we've been there so often this past year. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend.
-Rick Rockhill


kenju said...

Wonderful photos! The carvings on the tomb and fountain, etc. are astounding. And I love those arched windows with the blue tiles and the white railings below. Thanks for sharing so much of Egypt with me.

KathyA said...

The food! (you are adventuresome!), the mosque, the alabaster, fantastic!!
So you left from Rome (Cittavecchio) and are returning to Rome? My husband was asking. We looked at a similar cruise that left from Venice and returned to Barcelona.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i sure have enjoyed traveling with you!!! thanks for taking us along.

smiles, bee

grace said...

the food, the colours, the fabrics, the architecture. Marvelous.

Kanani said...

Wonderful adventure!

I just loved Julia Child's My Life In France. I loved it SO much that I found her cookbooks --used, and have those too.

I sent My Life In France to my husband who is in Afghanistan now. He loved it! Perfect escape material.


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