April - May 2021
  • Day28

    Monastery of Saint Simon the Tanner

    May 6 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 37 °C

    This is a Coptic monastery named for the 10th century saint and is located in the Zabbaleen community in Cairo. Zabbaleen means garbage collector, and this neighborhood at the base of the Moqattam cliffs is the center for collection and recycling of Cairo's waste. This community is overwhelmingly Coptic, and as that community developed, this monastery was founded as their spiritual heart.
    There are 3 churches here, and I'm writing a post for each of them. The pictures here are of the rest of the site, mostly of the beautiful carvings on the cliff walls. I'll leave you to recognize the biblical scenes in the carvings. The only hint I'll give is the 2nd picture, written in Arabic, is exactly what the 2 tablets suggest.
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day28

    The Church of St Paul and St Anthony

    May 6 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 37 °C

    This is the smallest of the 3 churches at the monastery. Saints Paul and Anthony are two of the original desert fathers. It is said that a bird would bring a half loaf of bread to Saint Paul each day. When Anthony reached Paul, the bird brought a whole loaf every day they were together. So this church has 2 altars to commemorate this double feeding of the saints.
    The 1st 3 pictures look around the small (this one really is small) church. The 4th is of the Saint Paul altar while the last is the Saint Anthony altar.
    Read more

  • Day28

    The Church of Saint Marcus

    May 6 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 37 °C

    This is sometimes called the winter church as it is more enclosed and protected from the weather than the larger Saint Simon Church, and most of the seasonal rain occurs during the winter. This smaller church seats "only" 2,000.
    The 1st picture is at the gate, while the 2nd is beyond the gate and just outside the door to the church. The 3rd looks across the 2,000 seats, showing the expanse of this "smaller" church. Again, the rest are of the art in stone.
    Read more

  • Day28

    The Church of Saint Simon the Tanner

    May 6 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 36 °C

    This is the main church at the monastery, and is considered to be about the largest church in the middle east. It seats 20,000 worshippers. The pictures are of the space and the carvings.
    The 1st picture looks up the amphitheater from all the way down front. The next 2 pictures are of the front, deep in the cave. The was the original part of this church that was built. The remaining pictures are of the artwork. Again, I leave them for your discernment.Read more

  • Day26


    May 4 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    Dashur is the site of a royal necropolis in use from the early to middle part of the 3rd millennium BCE. The two best known pyramids here are the red pyramid and the bent pyramid. Both were built by the pharaoh Sneferu. The older, the bent pyramid (pictures 1&2) didn't start out to be bent. There were miscalculations and other poor design issues such the they had to lessen the load by sloping the sides in. So Sneferu went back to the drawing board and commissioned the so-called red pyramid (pictures 3, 4 & 5). 4&5 look down the entrance tunnel to the chambers. I didn't enter as that was too long a distance to go bent over. While my back is doing ok, that seemed like too much to risk.
    Sneferu's son was Khufu who built the great pyramid at Giza (see another post). About 600 years after Sneferu, pyramid building resumed at Dashur. The last picture is of the so called white pyramid of pharoah Amenemhat II. The remains of this pyramid is in the 6th picture. Much of this one was scavanged for other building projects.
    Read more

  • Day25


    May 3 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    There is too much in this museum to fit in the limit of 6 pictures per post. So here are 6 more pictures.
    This time, the 1st picture looks across the main hall to give a sense of the overall exhibit. There is plenty of room to add more as archaeology progresses. 2nd is of Akhenaten, aka the heretic king, who is the 1st person (as far as I know) to institute monotheism. 3rd is a group of models of various types of boats used in pharaonic Egypt. 4th is a display of some of one princess's jewelry. 5th is an example of Coptic art: wood inlaid with ivory (I think). Note that each arm of the cross ends in a 3 pointed shape. This is typical of traditional Coptic Orthodox crosses. Last is an Islamic "mashrabiya," a type of window. It allows light and air in, but those outside cannot see in.Read more

    Dee Spencer

    Interesting pictures and info.

  • Day25

    National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

    May 3 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Newly opened but not yet complete museum. This is the place the mummy parade last month (April 2021) from the old museum ended. It's a beautiful buildings in a park like setting.
    The main part of the museum is a recounting of Egyptian history, beginning in the prehistoric times.
    The mummies are displayed on a lower level and arranged as if walking through corridors in tombs. Unfortunately, no photographing is allowed down there.
    The 1st picture is of the museum courtyard. The 2nd is of construction models and implement, such as a plumb line. 3rd is a detail of the oldest wooden door found so far. In the 4th picture are god and goddess representations. 5th is an ancient papyrus telling a famous story about a general. Last is an example of the wooden caskets used in ancient Egypt.
    Read more

  • Day20


    April 28 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Dahab is a lovely small resort town about an hour and a half up the coast from the better known Red Sea town of Sharm El-Sheik. If you envision the Red Sea as a Y, Dahab is on the right hand arm, with Saudi Arabia visible across the water. I can recommend this place. It's been delightful to be here.
    The 1st picture is of the pedestrian walk along the coast with shops and restaurants on both sides. The 2nd is the area called Lighthouse Square, more or less the center of downtown Dahab. It is named for the lighthouse that had been on the point. The 3rd is Dahab at night. The 4th looks along the shore of the Red Sea from the dive site we used. The 5th is in the opposite direction, looking away from the Red Sea into the Sinai.
    The last picture is special for me. You may know that we are in Ramadan. This is a period when Muslims fast from pretty much everything from sunrise to sunset. Then the break the fast in a communal meal. I am honored to have been invited to share the "breakfast" one evening with the hotel staff. This is a picture of the table. A wonderful meal.
    Ramadan kareem.
    Read more

  • Day20

    Under the Red Sea

    April 28 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Here are 6 pictures taken while diving in the Red Sea. All but the last show some of the coral. The 5th includes me swimming towards the camera. The last is a selfie of my instructor and me at the end of the 7th and last dive over 4 days, resulting in my now being a certified open water diver. YAY!Read more

  • Day15

    Monastery of St. Bishoy

    April 23 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    The Monastery of Saint Bishoy (sometimes spelled Pishoy) is an ancient Coptic monastery founded in the 4th century in Wadi el Natrun. As an aside, Wadi el Natrun was important in pharaonic times as the source for one of the important ingredients required for the mummification process.
    Only the original 4th century church was open for visitors as they were preparing for holy week. Much to my surprise, they are observing the Passion 4 weeks after we, in the western church, do.
    The 1st picture looks at the entry gate to the monastery. The rest are inside the ancient church. The 2nd picture looks at part of the iconostasis. The names of the saints are written in Coptic. I was able to read the names as the Coptic was close enough to Koine Greek to work them out. The 3rd picture looks into the sanctuary behind the iconostasis. That is the original altar from the 4th century.
    The 4th & 5th pictures look at parts of the church. While the last is a picture of the shrine holding the remains of St. Bishoy. His body is said to be uncorrupted as Jesus promised Bishoy himself.
    Read more