There are two places in the world that have always been mine.
Even before I’d actually traveled to England, it felt like home. I think it’s partly because most of my family tree is rooted in England (and I do believe in genetic memory) and partly because I have fed that love all my life. When I finally made it to England, it was home. I have never traveled anywhere in the States that felt so completely comfortable and right. I’d move there in a heartbeat if that were possible, and I don’t think I’d miss the States very much at all.
But there another place that is home to part of my soul, and this is a place I have not been…yet. But in 2015, I’m finally going…to Egypt.
I honestly cannot remember a time when I wasn’t completely infatuated with Egypt. When I decided to plan a trip for my 42 birthday, I considered lots of places I could go – I opened the choices up to anywhere in the entire world. England, the Amazon, Venice, India, the Galapagos Islands…but in the end there was really only place I simply have to be.
Just the name alone makes shivers rise on the back of my neck.
I will be traveling solo, and since Egypt (unlike England) is not a place I would actually be comfortable traveling alone in, I have found a tour group that caters to solo travelers and offers the sort of trip I want to take. But before that, I discovered that there is no direct flight from Seattle to Egypt. All the flights dump you somewhere in Europe and you have to change planes to continue on. It seems a waste to be dumped somewhere I don’t actually want to be…so here’s the plan. It doesn’t cost extra (in fact it’s slightly cheaper) to fly to New York City, and from there catch a direct flight to Egypt.
So I will first go to New York and spend at least one night there. Just long enough to see a few of the things that I’d really like to see.
The Statue of Liberty:
…because of course I want to visit their costume exhibits!
I’d also like to see a Broadway show, if there’s anything playing that appeals.
From there, Cairo.
I want to shop the Khan al-Khalili bazaar:
But really, Cairo has just a passing interest for me. I want to go out into the Egypt of history!
The Temple at Karnak:
The Temple at Philae:
And of course the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley of the Kings. Hopefully one of the big tombs will be open to tourists while I’m there, because I’d love to climb down inside one. I also want to take a hot air balloon ride over the pyramids or the Valley.
Part of the tour is a two day Nile cruise…aboard a traditional felucca. You bring a sleeping bag and sleep out on the deck! Sounds so heavenly.
There is also a night out under the stars in the desert of Wadi Rum.
Also, I will have several days at the Red Sea (containing some of the most gorgeous reefs in the world.)
As well as Mount Sinai (the mountain where Moses saw God and was given the Ten Commandments) and Saint Katherine’s Monastery (location of the original Burning Bush…supposedly.)
I will also float in the Dead Sea…where the salt is so dense it’s impossible to sink.
I remember first reading about this place as a kid, and being so curious what that felt like. Now I’ll finally know.
And THEN, as if Egypt weren’t enough, I’m taking a side trip to Jordan (with the same tour company.)
Petra. I’m going to set foot in PETRA!
This is another place that I remember first learning about, and being completely amazed. It seems too impossible to be real.
Including the pyramids, I will have visited two of the Wonders of the World. I have the shivers again!
Seventeen days in Egypt and Jordan. I can’t wait.
But the adventure still won’t be over. Remember the no-direct-flights-between-Egypt-and-Seattle thing? This means I will fly home via London.
I haven’t decided for sure how long I’ll stay in London. Not too long…probably not more than three days. Just enough time to catch a few of the things I missed when I was last there.
The Victoria and Albert Museum. Because I have to see their costume collection.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum – and also probably a Holmes walking tour. I LOVED the walking tours I took in London last time. They were a definite highlight.
I hope to get a B&B very, very close to one of the parks. I adored the parks last time, and I didn’t get to spend hardly any time there at all. Hyde’s Park was brilliantly gorgeous – and I was there in March, before anything much was growing. This time, I’ll be there in early September…
I loved the profusion of water fowl. Swans, geese, and more common and unusual varieties of ducks than I knew existed. I love ducks. Ducks are God’s perfect animals.
I also adored Regent’s Park, so we’ll see which one I end up staying closest to.
And maybe, just maybe I’ll see one of these:
There is at least one at large in London…I’ll have to find out where! If I don’t come home at all – or if I come home five minutes after I left, you’ll know I found the Real One.
But my major reason for wanting to stop in at London is because of the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour. I can’t help it…I do so want to walk down the ‘real’ Diagon Alley!
But only to start planning the next big trip! I already think I have narrowed down to either Venice or an Amazon/Galapagos combo tour. Until the world ends (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I happened in my lifetime…the signs are all there) I intend to do a lot more traveling. And after the worlds ends? Even MORE traveling. Sigh. It will so wonderful to have no monetary or physical limits – and to actually experience the world as it was meant to be, before it became the sad, sinful world it is now.