Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Backtracking: Egypt Part 2

We got back to civilization at the neat-o Siwa Oasis, which I will remember most fondly (seriously, it makes me laugh every time I hear it) for the sound of its many donkeys braying in protest at being made to pull their little carts around town. The town is surrounded by orchards of date palms, and has lots of ruins of its old fortress-like district called the Shali.

We then headed north to the Mediterranean coast and made a brief stop to pay our respects at the Commonwealth graveyard for soldiers killed in World War 2 at El Alamein.

Alexandria was the final stop after that long day of driving, and the view from my hotel room included the Qait Bey. It was a first for me to be able to see the site of one of the seven ancient wonders of the world (Pharos Lighthouse) from my bed.

The last stop in Egypt was back in Egypt, and a day trip to the far edge of town included the oldest stone monument in the world (step pyramid at Saqqara) and the Dahshur area where pyramid building techniques were refined, with a few mistakes along the way. That included the Bent Pyramid, which shows how the builders had to reduce the angle of the pyramid’s slope to prevent it from collapsing. Whoops!

That wraps up Egypt, but hang in there for more from the road.

“Fare on then, for nought are ye laden with sorrow;
The love of this land do ye bear with you still.”

~William Morris, “The Roots of the Mountains”