Walk Like an Egyptian
Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
18Trip End Dec 30, 2010
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Where I stayed
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
On Tuesday I had the chance to tour my first ever castle, Schloss Lenzburg Castle. Schloss Lenzburg has been used since about 1100 and is now a mixture of awesome museum and kids entertainment area. Just walking up to the castle was intimidating because everything was so tall and dreary (it had just rained right before we arrived). The gardens of the castle were beautiful and we were also able to check out different rooms decorated from time periods in which the castle was used, but I think my favorite part was the prison. Perhaps the prison may seem a bit morbid but after doing a research paper on Punishment in medieval England it was neat actually seeing how prisoners lived during those times, even though Switzerland is not England
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Bittersweet is the word I would use to describe Wednesday; I was excited about leaving for Cairo, but I was not ready to leave Switzerland yet either! I woke up early to say goodbye to Mario and Ramona, then after I got ready and had my last Swiss breakfast, I said goodbye to Bea and Franco, Alexandra, and I headed to the train station. My first European train ride was very beautiful, with high mountains in the background and beautiful lakes. Taking the train was a beautiful way to see the Swiss countryside before I left the country for four months, especially the lake outside of Geneva. At the airport I had to pay a bit more for extra luggage which was aggravating, but other than that everything went fine
Thursday, August 26, 2010
On Thursday I actually woke up at 9:30 without being prompted by an alarm, which was really surprising since I had been sleeping-in in Switzerland until about 10 everyday. The day started out meeting a lot of new people in the open air common area before going to explore the campus a bit. Even though Egypt is a relatively moderate Muslim country, it is still very conservative; for example, guys and girls are not allowed in each others dorms at all. To keep this problem from happening there are security checkpoints outside each the girl and guy sides, and if a member of the opposite sex caught in the other side, they are automatically kicked out of AUC
Anyways, Thursday included our first trip into Cairo. We gathered for awhile after walking around campus and headed into Old Cairo also known as Coptic Cairo. While there we had a tour guide and visited the oldest church, synagogue, and mosque in Cairo. Also, we went into the famous hanging church which was built over an old Roman Fort and a Greek Orthodox Church dedicated to Saint George-- you know, the one that slayed the dragon. The places were really neat with a mixture of Arabic and Christian designs, but they were so hot with our large group and I could hardly get any pictures, so look for more pictures when I get back there eventually. The mosque was really neat because I have never been in a mosque; luckily, I had my headscarf with me so I did not have to borrow a green robe looking thing that most girls had to wear to cover their skin and hair. Women also have to go through a different entrance than men even though we all gathered together once we were inside. That night we ate lunch at Zamalek and then walked around the island-- Zamalek is an upper-class island in the middle of the Nile. Just walking around the city and taking in the sights-- in a group of course-- was so interesting! Crossing the roads is also an artform in Cairo; the trick is to time your walk and to never run because the cars time how fast you are walking. By the time we got back to the dorms I was so exhausted and dirty, so I took a shower and fell straight to sleep.
More to come from Cairo while I catch up. Be sure to keep reading, featured in the next post will be trying to get an Egyptian cell phone, a Felucca ride on the Nile, and smoking Sheesha in downtown Cairo.