Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spring Break 2017: Ride a camel, See the Pyramids of Giza!

I have officially set foot on my FOURTH continent now: Africa! Still unknown to my family, I planned a solo trip to Egypt for 5 days. I had been wanting to go since I was little for the Pyramids, and then again when my freshman year math teacher went to see family there. Since I wanted to go to Morocco last time while I was in Spain and didn't get to, I looked into Cairo on where I plan all my trips, and I saw that it was $271. I mentioned it to my aunt, she was nervous of course, but also thought it'd be cool. She thought it would be dangerous, but I told her there was no travel warning or anything. She obviously did not want me to go alone, but of course as I did not know anyone who was going to be abroad in Italy, I didn't think I would find anyone to go with - therefore I started looking into female solo travel in Egypt on pinterest. I found a few people's post and got pretty excited but still unsure if I wanted to travel alone since of course last time didn't go particularly well... By the time I found out that I knew someone going to Italy this semester, it was someone I barely knew, but I mentioned Egypt spring break and she said she was interested. I didn't wanna push the subject, and later she started mentioning other places she wanted to go so I dropped it and asked the few people I knew in Florence what their plans for break were so I could mention it and see if they wanted to join me. If they didn't, i was going to start looking into other places. The prices since I checked originally in the summer had fluctuated and been around $330 consistently. I got one girl who said she might wanna come and she would let me know, so I was excited, but she never let me know so i figured it was a no. I thought about asking but when I saw the price drop to $255 - the cheapest I had seen it EVER, i bought it for myself anyway without needing anyone to go with. From that point on, I was excited to start planning. I booked myself on 2 tours (both which i thought would be with groups so i could maybe meet people, but both ended up being private - so just me and the tour guide plus a driver). I also booked a super cheap hostel that included breakfast so i didn't have to worry about food in the mornings. I bought a data sim card from Transatel - just in case there was no street wifi like there was in London - i would need it for maps and stuff. 
When I finally arrived, I was nervous to be a solo female traveler, but by the next day when i started my tour, i was perfectly fine. That day was a tour of the west- A.K.A Giza (Cairo literally means "east"). I went to Dashur and Sakara and saw the Bent Pyramid, the Black Pyramid, and went inside the Red Pyramid. It was so crazy because it was the middle of nowhere, there were NO. OTHER. TOURISTS. I am not exaggerating when I say I was the only tourist in all of these places. Then I saw the other pyramids and tombs where there were finally 3 other tourists that I saw with tourguides. After lunch with a view of the last remaining old wonders of the world, the Great Pyramids of Giza, I finally got to go there- and again, very little tourist which surprised me. I thought it would be Mona-Lisa-at-the-Louvre packed, and it wasn't, at all. I got some pictures and then it was time to ride the camel! I was so excited, but also kinda nervous again. So the camel is sitting with its legs folded under it, then you mount it. You have to hold on to the saddle thing, on the front there's this short pole-like thing you have to grab onto for dear life as this very tall animal gets up. So the camel gets up by unbending its hind legs, pushing you forward so you feel like you're going to tumble forward. Then it unbends its front legs, making you feel the same way, but backwards this time, but the camel is basically on its knees at this point, so it repeats these motions once more and you feel super tall and off balance. As it starts walking it's okay, but when it goes downhill sort of steeply it feels kinda scary because balance is off. But for the 30 minute ride around the area of the pyramids, it was so worth it. That was honestly my favorite part of the trip.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain!!

The sad, waterless version I saw in 2015
I did it you guys! Almost 2 years after my first time, I returned to Rome and threw a coin - with my right hand over my left shoulder - into la fontana di Trevi. Twice. On 2 separate occasions, once at night, and again the next day. I watched The Lizzie McGuire Movie the night before I went to Rome just to get me re-excited and I was so happy when I got to the fountain 24 hours later and it had the water in it, no restoration going on, and no signs of construction anywhere. It was perfect; it was the prettiest sight I've ever seen and I spent so much time just marveling at it. After analyzing it in AP history, I remembered some facts from 4 years ago and spent time looking at all the detail and recalling the history. It was a gorgeous piece of art that looked amazing at night all lit up, but better (in my opinion) during the day with a blue sky behind it and the sun shining down.

The only thing I have to say is: Mission Accomplished.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Visit the Parthenon

Image result for "greek mythology"When I first learned about Greek mythology I was about 8. I checked out a book from the library (it was 2005, I didn't google to learn things yet) and immediately was so interested in learning all the stories. 3 years later sitting in 4th period World History, the topic of ancient Greece came up. Again with the gods, we googled (finally) the specific stories assigned to each of us. I was so interested by Hermes at the time because in astrology he is the ruler of the Gemini sign and the more i learned about him, the cooler he became to me. So by the time we got to reading the Odyssey in freshmen honors english, i was more than excited to do the Greek god unit yet again. We were assigned a god/goddess/titan/hero to personify. I was ecstatic to receive Athena as the goddess I was to research, dress up as, and share stories about. She was my favorite goddess and I learned so much, like how and why Athens chose her as their patron goddess instead of Poseidon. From that point on I wanted to visit Athens and go see the temple constructed in her honor.
Luckily while studying her in Florence I was lucky enough to plan a trip last minute with 2 friends to spend the weekend 5 minutes from the entrance of the Acropolis where the Parthenon was. Sadly it was being restored on the side where the top point with all the statues of her life used to be.I still got good pictures though :)