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Published: January 4th 2012
I arrived in Cairo very early in the morning after a long flight from Argentina with a connection in Paris.
Cairo is experiencing the first steps on the way to democracy after the last civil revolution. There are everyday public demonstrations in which you can see a great enthusiasm shown by the people. Men, women and children need to express their feelings. I read an interesting graffiti which said “Enjoy the revolution”, a funny way to show how they react to this new period in their history.
Our visit in Cairo included the pyramids, the Coptic area, the street markets and the museum, of course. Every visit depends on what you are interested in. I love street markets and the people. It is in those places where you can definitely see and appreciate the cultural differences.
Then we took a sleeping train to Aswan to visit Abu Simbel. The train takes about 24 hours to get there. Abu Simbel is amazing. You can see the sculptures on the rock in a very well protected area because it has been an area of violence against tourists. Once in Aswan you can take a boat and cross
to the other bank of the Nile River and visit some Nubian villages. We visited the Elephantine Island: quiet, nice to walk.
Then we took a bus to Luxor to visit the Karnak temple. I really liked the carved columns and the whole area.
My friend Tom stayed in Cairo when I took a flight to Israel. It was a short flight to Tel Aviv. This is a modern, nice city to live and enjoy the clean beaches. I do recommend a walk to Jaffa. It takes about 1 hour to get to Jaffa where you can enjoy a lovely walk through winding streets full of art galleries and an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea which was as blue as the sky.
You can take a bus and go to Jerusalem which is about 1 hour ride. The mixture of synagogues, mosques, churches and the mystic spirit of the city caught my whole attention. I stayed in the Armenian quarter close to the Jaffa Gate, a very recommended area to stay. The Church of the Holly Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall are some of the most interesting places to visit inside the Old City. You can
follow Jesus´s steps and feel the atmosphere of a unique place on earth.
Then I took a tour to Nazareth, Galilee, Acre, Capernaum, Caesarea and the Jordan River Baptismal Site. I know all those cities have a great value to all Christian people but visiting the Jordan River Baptismal Site was a unique and unforgettable experience for me because my son´s name is Jordan so being there was something I can´t express with words. There were many people being baptized and their emotions and great joy filled the air of the whole place. The waters of the river are warm and clean and the banks are full of flowers and green grass.
If you have never been to Israel I think it´s a place you should go.
Jordan was our next step. Amman, the capital city, is crowded and offers some attractions related to Roman ruins. We took a bus to Petra where we spent a couple of days visiting the amazing Nabatean sculptures on the pink rocks and the so many caves where de Bedouins used to live. I recommend getting up very early, have a good breakfast, take a bottle with water and start the
walk to reach the famous Treasure. It is so good to be there when there are no tourists. Then you can also walk to the Monastery but get ready to walk and climb about one thousand steps. Amazing place, awesome landscape.
Next stop: Morocco. We arrived in Casablanca where I visited the old city or Medina. I think there are not many interesting things to do in Casablanca, you can just walk and try to feel the spirit of the country and get ready for the other awesome cities.
Marrakech is one of the most touristic cities in Morocco and, of course, there is a Medina full of people and the famous main square which becomes the biggest kitchen on earth when the sun sets. You can have lamb, pork, fish, kebabs, you know…
I took a train and arrived in Fez. Fez is awesome. It´s considered the last medieval city in the world and you can see it while you walk in the narrow 5000 streets inside the old city. It´s a World Heritage Site. Art galleries, artists, food, and all kinds of handicrafts. And of course mint tea wherever you go.
another interesting small city where you can relax for a while after visiting Marrakech and Fez.
Chefchaouen is a place I love. Everything is blue or light blue: walls, doors, windows. Lovely small city close to the mountains. A romantic place in which the restaurants around the main square lit candles in the evening.
It´s easy and safe to travel in Morocco. The train system is punctual and clean.
I must not forget the kindness of the Moroccan people shown in different situations. They are always ready to help with a big smile.
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