Traveling Solo: Second Edition

So last April on yet another short break, I decided to travel. Typical! And since I only had 5 days, it had to be somewhere close and visa-hassle free and I decided on a nearby country that I have always wanted to visit; Jordan. I was finally going to see Petra, hurray!!

Now 5 days don’t do Jordan justice but they were all I had and I needed to make full use of them. I searched here and there and got everything settled, I even bought myself a Jordan Pass just to discover later that I didn’t actually need one since I’m an Egyptian. So yes Egyptians, and Arabs as well I was told, are entitled for a free of charge 30 days entry, just head straight to the Jordanian section of passport control at the airport (if you are an Arab holding a foreign passport you will need to pay for the visa). Another cool thing that I also discovered later is that while sightseeing, I get to pay as a Jordanian. I ended up paying so little at all sights and the one day ticket to Petra cost me 1 JD instead of 50. Sorry folks! Well yeah I saved those 50 dinars but ended up paying them for a certified guide, ha ha, was totally worth it though.

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The Dead Sea – Jordan

Now, for such a short break, I shouldn’t be needing much luggage I thought. Consequently I replaced my suitcase with a backpack. I have never backpacked before and the idea seemed so appealing at the time that I totally went for it. It was inevitable anyway, I would have to do it sooner or later so why not now. I went shopping for one and got the biggest backpack I found at the shop (90 L), thinking the bigger size the better, right? Thank God I did 😀 I do pack light don’t get me wrong but being veiled doesn’t make packing any easier since everything tends to take more space. And though I really did pack light, taking only the necessary stuff, the 15 k-backpack looked gigantic. People would give me looks of sympathy at the sight of it hanging over my back and would ask me what I have inside! That incident reminded me of Wild, the book/movie, when Cheryl used to call her backpack monster. You can say that mine was monster’s baby sister 😀

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Is it an epic fail 😦

When I arrived in Amman early morning I had few hours till check in time at the hotel and I used those hours to take a quick trip to the Dead Sea which is about two hours away from the capital. The Dead Sea is simply remarkable, it’s earth’s lowest elevation, the deepest and saltiest waterbody in the world, and absolutely worth the visit. The floating experience, if you haven’t done it before, is something to look for. And of course you must treat yourself with one of those mud masks to relish in their medicinal benefits.

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The Castle in Amman

I only had that day for Amman so once I checked in, I went straight out to walk around the downtown area where I was staying. My starting point was the Roman Theatre which was just across the street from the hotel. The presence of this antique in the midst of modern-day buildings and paved streets is significant. You walk inside, climb a step or two, and you surpass the daily hustle and bustle into history. What a feeling! For the few remaining hours I had till sunset, I took myself to the castle which is another great place to visit. The remains of it lay on a high point in town and the views of the city from up there with those Roman columns decorating them are extraordinary. After all that walking, I treated myself to an oven hot konafa from Habibah, the thought of it now leaves me drawling 😀 yummy!!

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The Roman Theater in Amman

The highlight of that trip was actually visiting Petra, I had it on my bucket list for quite a very long time and I was so happy to be finally there. The site is just huge, you can’t cover it all in one visit and there is actually a 3-days ticket to the Rose City. Petra was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom and can be accessed via walking through a canyon called Al Siq. The entire city was carved into rose colored sandstone cliffs hence the name; Rose City. It’s so impressive how those huge and beautifully designed temples and tombs were carved so precisely at times where only primitive techniques and tools were used. The first sight of the treasury nearly to the end of the Siq took my breath away, I was so mesmerized by its presence that I was left in awe.

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The Treasury – Petra

I started my visit around noon with approximately 6 to 7 hours before the site closes at sunset and have decided to go for the most visited, main trail. I thought I would do the main trail, which took me through the Siq to the treasury and ended up at the Girl’s Palace, then try to do something else if time allowed it afterwards. This time, I had my mind set on hiring a certified guide (learning from a mistake I did few years back in Pompeii). It was my first time to go on a somehow guided tour for a historic sight but it was totally worth it. I was lucky enough to have a native, an actual Nabatean, as my guide who was so informative and made my visit so enjoyable. I had few hours left until sunset by the time I was finished with the main trail and for those remaining hours I went up to the monastery or Ad Deir following the suggestion of the guide and the Visit Petra people, who by the way were very helpful with their prompt replies/recommendations. Ad Deir is the smaller version of the treasury façade/size-wise but it wasn’t less impressive. And the “climb” up there was scenic. Yes climb because you would actually need to go over a couple of hundred steps to reach the place.

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If you made it all the way up to Ad Deir, just go a little further up the hill to the “best view” point and you will be rewarded by this view ❤

I was really tired by the time I started wrapping my visit up but nonetheless, I walked myself through the Colonnaded Street and paid the church a visit before finally leaving the premises. The main church in Petra has those marvelous well preserved mosaic floors that can’t be missed. When I reached the treasury on my way back to the visitor center, the spot was quieter and the sun wasn’t shining from the back of the façade unlike in the afternoon when I first laid my eyes on it and with those colors, the treasury felt more captivating. So I sat on a bench, resting, and at the same time staring at it while marveling at its beauty and greatness.

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Ad Deir – Petra

I have decided in advance to spend that night in Petra, which happens to be the name of the town as well, because for one, I wanted to go to Petra at night and for two, I wanted to go to Wadi Rum which is much closer to Petra than to Amman. And although I was worn out after all the walking and the 5 hours bus trip in the morning from Amman to Petra, I had to overcome the tiredness to walk myself back to my night’s accommodation for dinner before compelling myself to walk all the way through the Siq again in order to witness the treasury when being lit by over 1500 candles. One word, spectacular!

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Saying good bye to my host before heading to Wadi Rum – Petra

The accommodation I had in Petra was recommended to me by the agency I contacted to organize the Wadi Rum visit and it was just fantastic. The place is actually a villa turned into a B&B that is run by a Dutch lady named Jolanda who happens to be very hospitable and an excellent cook. My room had views of Wadi Musa from its balcony and was spacious and very comfortable. The dinner I had that night was super delicious, one of the best meals I have ever had and Jolanda was kind enough to arrange for a taxi to take me back to Petra for the night show since I was already walking funny after I came back from the morning visit. I was heading to Wadi Rum early next morning and she made sure that I have breakfast before the bus takes me to the wadi to meet with my guide. It was such a nice short stay, it felt like staying at a friend or a relative and as always, I wished I had the time to stay longer!

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Wadi Rum ❤

I came across the agency I hired for the Wadi Rum tour through TripAdvisor, they came highly recommended and they lived up to it. I had a funny incident with those guys while booking the tour because since I was traveling solo, I didn’t want to end up being on my own with the guide camping in the desert. It would have been so awkward and inconvenient I have to admit! So I asked to join a group and they told me that there was only this family who signed up to the same trip at the same day but they will need to check with them first if they won’t mind having me on board. And so I joined the family for the day and the night camp with no expectations on how they will be and they turned out to be such a cool and fun family. Thank God 😀 hahahaha (just kidding, I know you will be reading this guys :D) I just had a blast with those fellas and literally laughed my heart out over their jokes. It was such a pleasure to get to know them. My future family must be as cool as that one is 😀 hahahaha

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With the gorgeous family and our very nice and kind guide Habis – Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum was unreal, the reddish sands and hills were incredible; no wonder The Martian was filmed there. The vastness of the wadi with the unusual sand colors and scattered greenery were imaginary. It somehow reminded me of South Sinai but only through a different palette of colors. I have not realized how much I have missed camping until that night, the Bedouin food and tea under a sky full of stars ❤ Simply and utterly wonderful.

After an amazing night camp and a peaceful morning, I had to say good bye to those lovely people as I was driven to Aqaba to catch the bus back to Amman. I was dead tired by the time I arrived at the hotel in Amman, the same one where I spent my first night. I was in a bad need of a shower and a good rest but I also needed to get some food into my system so I forced myself to postpone sleeping for few hours till I get something to eat and Rainbow street was a good choice with a wide selection of cafes and restaurants.

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Ajloun Castle which is built on a hilltop of Jabal Ajloun offers stunning views of the surrounding area but unlucky us, it wasn’t the perfect weather for such view – Ajloun

For the last day before leaving Jordan, I signed up for a day tour to Um Qais, Ajloun Castle, and Jerash with the hotel I was staying at, most hotels organize such trips for their guests in case you are wondering. I was joined by Lux from Argentina and Allan from Indonesia for the day, more company to enjoy. I must give it up to Allan here, he has such a big appetite for life and he is a living proof that it’s never too late and one is never too old to start doing what one loves or to even enjoy life. So please, don’t bother about the number that is your age and just live. It was great spending the day with the two of them, it’s always fun to get to know new people while traveling and in that trip, I came to know more people than I thought I will.

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Um Qais is a town in north Jordan, it offers panoramic views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. It was cloudy when we visited unfortunately but it was quite enjoyable nonetheless.

The best part of that tour was Jerash I have to admit so if you don’t have the time for the 3 of them just go straight there. It was so gloomy and a little rainy all through the day unfortunately which made the views from Um Qais and up the castle in Ajloun not that perfect but the sun finally welcomed us by the time we were at Jerash. Jerash was just mesmerizing, the architecture was stunning and the views of the modern city as seen from inside the historical sight made such an interesting mixture between the old and the new; it’s truly “Pompeii of the East”.

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Jerash ❤

That tour was the wrap up to my short trip to beautiful Jordan, I just had to go for one last konafa before leaving Amman though 😀 My second solo traveling experience turned out to be richer than I thought it would be. I was hardly on my own throughout the trip unlike my first solo encounter where I was completely enjoying my solitude. I got to know lots of awesome people during those days I spent in Jordan and I had such great times with them.

They were people to learn from, people who enabled me to experience more of myself, what I’m and what I want to be. Some of the most interesting encounters I had with locals while traveling were during that trip as Jordanians were quite curious about me, a Middle Eastern female who is veiled and travels solo. I was always approached and asked where I’m from and most of the times, talked to in English because for some reason they didn’t think of me as Middle Eastern and the best encounters were the ones I had in Petra with the Bedouins, who spoke perfect English by the way. I went on that trip last April but it feels like it was yesterday. Jordan was one of the top countries on my list, I’m glad I was able to finally pay it a visit but I can’t really say it got crossed off my list as I’m definitely sure that I will be visiting again. Till next time Jordan ❤

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At the top of one of the Roman Theaters in Jerash ❤

 

 

 

Hiking Omani Landscape

I fell in love with Oman when I visited for the first time few months ago and before that trip I had no idea how beautiful nature is in that country. And though I was able to experience some of the natural beauty the Sultanate has to offer I was still craving for more. So once a chance materialized itself I jumped into a plane and flew back to this mesmerizing country. This time I was on a specific mission, a hiking one that ends up at a waterfall. The hike was organized by Husaak Adventures.

The view around Wadi Al Arbaeen

The view around Wadi Al Arbaeen

It wasn’t my first time to hike but I have to say this was actually my first time to go on such a combo hike; one that included hiking, scrambling, swimming, and occasionally jumping off cliffs. Some of my friends think hiking is unpleasant and tiring and would even wonder why I still do it. They can’t seem to notice the enjoyment behind it and only manage to see the physical effort exerted. Yes, hiking requires employing some physical effort and that can be intense sometimes but despite that notion and the fact that I do have a bad knee I still go hiking and can’t seem to stop … ???

Well if you put the physical effort aside you can note that hiking tones you down on so many levels and one of those levels will be “your surroundings/needs” which has lots to do with packing for a hike. Yes, packing! When you are limited by the size of the backpack you will be carrying on your back throughout the hike you start thinking about the essential things you will mostly need to carriage along; the things you won’t be able to survive without. You will be surprised by how minimal those things can be. At such a moment I realize that we don’t actually need much to live or lead a good life, that we tend to cram our surroundings with lots of stuff and most of them are even unnecessary. I then comprehend that life is simple, that it’s us who make it complicated by being kind of materialistic. I believe that once such a realization is procured one should think about what is/is not important in his life and start to declutter the unnecessary rubble occupying it. And believe me, when that process is done you won’t believe the relieving feeling you will come across, the feeling of becoming lighter and at peace with what surrounds you because only then, the things you will be surrounded with will be exactly what you need in order to go on living and not what you thought you needed to do so.

Wadi Al Arbaeen

Wadi Al Arbaeen

Hiking is also a great teacher and one of the lessons I learned through hiking is gratefulness. Gratefulness for the beauty encircling me, for the inner peace that fills up my being after spending time among nature, for being able to appreciate silence and the serenity that comes within, for the acknowledgment of how tiny a place I occupy in this vast universe and how humbling that realization is, and even for the things that are taken for granted such as the bliss of a hot shower 😀 Hiking taught me to appreciate my life, what I have and be thankful.

The view during the hike

The view during the hike

As I noted before this was one of a kind hike to me; I would go up a rock then down a water stream with scenery changing from water running on pavements of stones to solid formations of rocks in different sizes, shapes, and colors. But yet that hike wasn’t only special in that sense but also in how I managed to deal with some encounters and reflect on them as well.

The physical effort was quite challenging this time because the terrain was different than other ones I experienced before and because of my bad knee too but the main test wasn’t the physical aspect of the hike but jumping off cliffs, that was something I have never done before!

The reward at the end of the hike <3

The reward at the end of the hike ❤

The first jump was an optional 15 meters heigh jump that I ended up doing but after some considerations 😀 I hesitated and took some time till I finally made it. I kept on thinking, my head cover will be taken off once I hit the water (that’s what happened actually!), what should I do about that? Should I jump? Or shouldn’t I? And so I jumped, eventually, and till now I can’t be sure whether I hesitated because of my head cover issue for real or because I was simply afraid to jump!! The second one wasn’t as high but it was off a steep cliff and watching some of us getting scared before they jumped, I kind of chickened out myself! But, I was able to do that one too, only this time I was worried about my eye glasses which came jumping right after me 😀 hahaha

The scenery along the hike

The scenery along the hike

All that hesitation to jump off those not so high at all cliffs made me think what if I was bungee jumping?! I have always had bungee jumping on my bucket list but didn’t get the chance to actually do it till now and with all the indecision I had with those cliffs, I wondered if I will be able to easily jump if not at all!! I always thought I was gallant enough for such adventurous acts but looks like something has changed in me along the way.

It could be owed to the loss of a best friend over a hiking accident; a simple activity that everyone does including myself but unfortunately ended up tragically at her end. An accident that could have changed how I think about such acts and whether it’s actually worth it or not to put myself under such a risk! Or maybe I’m not as courageous as I was few years back when I used to think that I can do lots of such ventures without considering the consequences regardless of what they may turn out to be. We usually take such acts for granted thinking that nothing can go wrong but only when something does that we come to our senses or start thinking objectively about the gains of going under such activities; at least that is how I have been thinking recently. Apparently, I still have some loose ended issues regarding all of this and I know I have lots of “facing” to do but perhaps talking about or thinking those thoughts over is a way of facing whatever fears I’m having; the fears that are hidden under the surface of glamour. I do my best to handle the uncertainties I still possess, I don’t want to end up being scared, it’s such a horrible feeling, to be scared of being out there doing and experiencing things. It will feel as if I’m letting life with all its pleasures and qualms pass me by and I know I don’t want that to happen because I’m not such a person.

I had the chance to meet this beautiful and peaceful creature while camping the night at Ras Al Hadd <3

I had the chance to meet this beautiful and peaceful creature while camping the night at Ras Al Hadd ❤

In spite of the previous introspection and whether it’s considered bravery or cowardice, during that hike I was able to make an accomplishment that I failed to fulfill before and that made me really happy though it could be regarded as a small thing! See, I never had the arms to pull myself up a rope and formerly failed a couple of times. So when I was faced by that few steps rope climb I kind of freaked out. Surprisingly I was able to do it gracefully if I may say and to me that was one of the best moments in that trip. I always struggled with this issue in few previous hikes but being able to pull it off that smoothly just made my day; I can now pull myself up a rope 😀 Hurray! You might think what the big deal is, it’s just a few steps pull up nothing major! Nevertheless, those little achievements can have a huge impact on you, a positive one. Those little things work as an incentive, or a reminder that everything is possible as long as you are trying because all of a sudden after all those trials, bam, you have done it! That feeling of accomplishment is priceless.

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A closer view of the waterfall ❤

With what I wrote so far, I can’t help but think of the mixture of emotions, thoughts, and contemplations the trip offered me. That was a trip where I was able to reflect, unwind, see and experience beautiful things, and also make new friends. Merely, this is how nature can disrupt your way of thinking I guess, shaking it up into a new format, changing how you used to consider things and upgrading your view of life. Spending more time outdoors makes you happy, happy at the mental and physical state you turn into. Connect to nature and you will become a better you. I owe it to the outdoors for what I’m and still to become and will be forever grateful 🙂

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A feeling of contentment and appreciation to the beauty I see in the world 🙂 ❤

 

Let’s go to Oman …

So I had another extended weekend from work and of course I had to seize the opportunity and go somewhere, it wouldn’t feel like me if I stayed put huh 😀  And again I needed to go someplace near with minimal visa issuance hassles and while I was considering Dubai for the Jazz festival and the Sting concert I had friends who were going to Oman and suggested I go with them. I thought to myself, Muscat? Why would I want to go to Oman? What’s there to see or do? It wasn’t even on my list! But as I decided to join them and started searching for what to do I ended up being mesmerized by that country. Oman, please accept my deepest apologies!

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat

We had only a 3 days trip where we stayed in Muscat and moved around as far as we could; those few days were enough to have my opinion changed and fall in love with Oman. Muscat on its own is beautiful. The streets, the buildings, the gardens and greenery you find everywhere, the corniche area, and the people; oh the people are so kind and welcoming  ❤  It very much reminded me of Saint Catherine in South Sinai but on a city scale. I open the window in the morning and I see mountains, I walk around and I’m still surrounded by mountains and above all of that there are those perfectly blue beaches; the scenery left me nostalgic with a sweet melancholic feeling of days past as I realized how much I have missed those weekends in Egypt where I used to go hiking or traveling around getting in touch with nature. Oman offered me a well needed compensatory dosage.

Hiking the Wadi Shab gorge and what a hike that was <3

Hiking the Wadi Shab gorge and what a hike that was ❤

In Muscat I was able to enjoy simple pleasures, those effortlessly little things that can make you feel happy and content. I was amused by walking along the corniche taking time to dip my feet in the cool water while enjoying some sunshine. I loved sitting outdoors in the fresh night air to have a drink or some ice cream just outside the old souq of Mutrah which overlooks the corniche. Or even basking in the nightly breeze by the beach listening to some  music with the moonlight slithering over us. I felt relaxed and at peace; I thought to myself that we don’t really need to spend much or go extravagant to enjoy ourselves because most of the times those little things are all that matters.

Qurum Beach .. With those tropical palm trees and people playing Bob Marley's music it won't feel like the Middle East

Qurum Beach in Muscat. With those tropical palm trees and people playing Bob Marley’s music it won’t feel like the Middle East

That trip though short it was a bliss and it made me feel composed and tranquil; I couldn’t be more grateful. Till next time Oman  ❤

Hiking Jabel Akhdar (The Green Mountain), you can view the terraces in the right section of the photo.

Hiking Jabel Akhdar (The Green Mountain), you can view the terraces in the right section of the photo.

 

 

Of course roaming with the local is the best way to get to know the country :) It wouldn't have been the same without you guys, thanks a bunch :)

Of course roaming with the locals is the best way to get to know a country … It wouldn’t have been the same without you guys, thanks a bunch 🙂

Going Hiking

I fell in love with hiking ever since my first hike to Mousses Mountain in Saint Catherine on February 2010. And despite my bad knee I kept on hiking during that very same year till I got injured after summiting Abbas Mountain; back then I was told by the doctors not to hike! And I haven’t done so until last February when I went to Saint Catherine and hiked El-Dir (The Monastery) Mountain. I didn’t know how much I have missed hiking and the Saint Catherine area till I was there after more than 4 years of not crossing over to Sinai.

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Resting on the way up, that was my view ❤

I have deeply missed getting in touch with nature in that way. I have missed the blue skies shining against the rocks of the mountains; the beauty of the mountains’ curves; the traces of melted ice; the hidden water streams. But above all I have missed the serenity I used to feel when I’m up there. I have longed for that feeling when I’m surrounded by nothing but mountains, blue skies, and silence; the silence that can heal your soul and leave you at peace with yourself. And there, up there at the top seeing how infinite the scenery can get I can’t help but think how great nature is and at the same time how insignificant we are to such a majestic being. Doesn’t that make you feel humbled? It does to me and I’m grateful for such a feeling; the feeling that allows me to see myself as it really is without the additives which keep on piling as days go by!

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Blue skies and mountains ❤

Looking at the Sinai Mountains from afar all you will be able to see is rigid mountains and rock formations but you get amazed when you start peeling the mountains layer after another and the more you go in the more beauty you find. I was astounded by what I have seen during my last hike. I was hiking among bushes of all sorts of herbs smelling their refreshing scents all the way up and down. I passed by some really old trees standing tall between the rocks. And as I was going down, I came by the monastery the mountain was named after. This small holy site in the heart of the mountain next to a water spring with the sweetest and most fresh cool water I have ever tasted. And as I was reaching the end of my descend; I was greeted by the bells of the Saint Catherine Monastery and it never felt more serene.

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The Monastery

That was such a special hike to me; maybe because it was after a very long time of not being in Sinai, or maybe because the mountains showed me a different side of its beauty. It was also special because of the group (The Hiking Club) I was hiking with. Those people who tolerated me being slow, who offered me a helping hand, and kept on sending me those shouts of encouragement during our way up. I’m shouting back a big thank you to all of you 🙂

On the way down

On the way down

I have to admit I had fears that my knee might fail me or that I will end up hurting it even more but in fact I was wrong. The doctors had me believe that I won’t be able to get back to what I used to do before; they left me frightened thinking and considering every step I’m taking turning me into a couch potato.  At the end of the day it was all in my head; it was me who allowed their thoughts to stick in and control me. I’m super glad I was able to let those mistaken thoughts out. Yes, my knee is not getting any better but I’m back on the track of gaining my lost fitness improving my muscles performance to help support my knee. I won’t stop exercising nor hiking because of my injury but I will deal with it in the best way possible. So, here is to the outdoors and I have the mountains to thank for that ❤

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My three favorite colors ❤


The Hiking Club was founded by my dear friend Kareem Samy who loves hiking. He tries to spread the idea of hiking as an outdoor activity among the Egyptian community. I hiked with Kareem for the first time back in 2010 and he actually hated it but know I can only be proud of what he has accomplished. The Hiking Club is also the only Egyptian partner in the Abraham Path Initiative which is an international organization trying to develop the path of the journey of Abraham across the Middle East. For more about the activities of the club please visit https://www.facebook.com/thehikingclubeg and to know more about the Abraham Path Initiative please visit http://abrahampath.org/

Kareem Samy founder of The Hiking Club

Kareem Samy founder of The Hiking Club

More Photos to share with you 🙂

Some of the mountain plants you keep on passing by

Some of the mountain plants you keep on passing by

A pine from Egypt to add to my collection :)

A pine from Egypt to add to my collection 🙂

Beautiful flower <3

Beautiful flower ❤

Fox Camp <3

Fox Camp ❤

Inside Saint Catherine Monastery

Inside Saint Catherine Monastery

The ceiling of one of the compartments inside Saint Catherine Monastery

The ceiling of one of the compartments inside Saint Catherine Monastery

Soliman :) That nice boy who held my backpack to me during the hike and got me some milky quartz rocks

Soliman 🙂 That nice boy who held my backpack for me during the hike and got me some milky quartz rocks which are a representative of my name in Arabic

Around the corner from the Saint Catherine Monastery

Around the corner from the Saint Catherine Monastery

Siwa: Take 3

So yes I have been to Siwa for my 3rd time straight in the past 2 years and a half now and it felt like being there for the first time. I actually think about when I will be visiting again; maybe in time for the harvest of the dates next October or something! I honestly can’t wait. It looks like I can’t get enough of that far “forgotten” oasis in the western desert of Egypt near the Libyan borders.

The Sky Line of Siwa

The sky line of Siwa

I wondered what was so special about it this time and why it meant that much to me. Could it be because I was trying to perceive the oasis with a new eye, a different perspective maybe; allowing everything around me to get in and leave a mark? Could it be accepting the nature surrounding me and submitting to its different contrasts and colors; colors that range between blue (sky and lakes), yellow (hills and mountains), and green (fields and palm trees) with all of their different shades? Or was it because of all the kind people I kept on meeting everywhere I go? I guess I needed an escape; an escape to think, to contemplate, and perhaps to let go. I might have found it during those few days, so was finding it the reason behind how that time was the best one of them three?! Maybe! I just came to know how special Siwa is to me when the trip was wrapping up. And I’m sure now that every visit to that charming place will be an add up; that every visit will have its magic and I’m all caught up under that spell.

Lakes and Palm Trees <3

That landscape ❤

Siwa people are the kindest and most generous people you could ever meet. You can walk around fields uninterrupted without feeling like you are trespassing; and if it happens that you run into the owners they won’t let you leave their land without dates or fruits or whatever the land brings out. They turn back your greetings though they don’t know you, they smile at you, and whenever you are on a bike children keep on waving at you and hello-ing you leaving you feeling warm and loved. And in return you can’t help but smile at all those lovely people feeling glad you had a chance to meet them, talk to them, and actually know them.

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The kind 3am Samir 🙂

One of the greatest advantages of traveling is that it allows you to see things differently, to see them through the eyes of the people around you and that puts you at a different perspective towards life. In Siwa, seeing how humble the people’s lives are I began to realize how simple life is. It made me think about the way I’m leading my life and how I’m being absorbed by the hustle and bustle of my busy life in Cairo. I came to realize how I don’t want to live in Cairo anymore, how I dislike being dragged into the materialistic life we are living thinking the more “stuff” we have the better so we keep on working harder and harder but for the wrong reasons!! And at a moment of truth with myself I decided to do my utmost best to drag myself out of such a labyrinth if I may say; to go back to the basics and keep it simple as it should be. To appreciate what I have and be thankful for it and to only seek what I do really need.

Reunion with Mahmoud & Mahmoud :) The two boys who asked me to take a photo for them last year, I was able to give them a printed copy of the photo this time. A small gesture that made them happy and left me overwhelmed <3

Reunion with Mahmoud & Mahmoud 🙂 The two boys who asked me to take a photo for them last year, I was able to give them a printed copy of the photo this time. A small gesture that made them happy and left me overwhelmed ❤

Since travelling is most importantly about meeting people so apart from the amazing group I was traveling with I had the chance to meet the man on a bike Galal Zekri Chatila. Galal has a dream of touring Egypt by bike and he is currently seeing this dream through with his road companion Sophia (that would be the bike :)). I met him while he was in Siwa waiting for the needed permits to continue on his journey. I know some people if not most will find what he is doing strange but I have to disagree. Interacting with the people of your own country in such a way would be amazing, the amount of experience you would get from traveling like this can’t be found elsewhere. And it’s a great way to connect with one another showing that we are eventually the same whether we are living in the south or up north; in the east or even west. Galal I salute you and wish you the best of luck.

For more about Galal and his journeys please visit http://www.egypton2wheels.com/

I will #getonabike soon thanks to you :)

I will #getonabike soon thanks to you 🙂

So simply travel, go somewhere new or someplace you went to before. Learn to see with a new eye, an eye wide opened to overlook the ordinary and reach to what’s beyond.


Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I shall leave it to do some talking.

Sunrise <3

Waking up to such a sunrise is a bless I’m thankful for ❤

 

Adrère Amellal, one of the most beautiful Eco-lodges in the oasis

Around the premises of Adrère Amellal which is considered to be one of the most beautiful Eco-lodges in the oasis

 

A sea shell found in the Great Sand Sea of Siwa. It's believed it was part of the ocean at ancient times

A sea shell found in the Great Sand Sea of Siwa. It’s believed it was part of the ocean at ancient times

 

That's how a Siwa bride will dress up for her wedding :) Never mind the sneakers :D

That’s how a Siwa bride will dress up for her wedding 🙂 Please disregard the sneakers 😀

 

Sunset of Lake Fitnas

Sunset over Lake Fitnas

 

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Drawings on the wall of one of the Pharaonic tombs in the Mountain of the Dead

 

Ready, steady, go .. Off-road driving in the Great Sand Sea

Ready, steady, go .. Off-road driving in the Great Sand Sea

 

The ruins of Shali

The ruins of Shali at sunrise

 

I was rewarded by this mesmerizing sunset on the day of my departure <3

I was rewarded by this mesmerizing sunset on the day of my departure ❤