SIX WEEKS, 4 COUNTRIES, 7 CITIES.....COUNTRY 3
Those of you with good memories will remember the photo quiz I posted back at the end of November last year. Almost everyone correctly guessed that the second photo was taken in Cairo, Egypt. In fact it was the left ear of the Sphinx:
Last November, I was lucky enough to travel to Cairo to attend the Cairo Media Festival...and at the same time to realise a dream of mine. Now you may think my dream was to see the Great Pyramid, or the Sphinx
or to see the Citadel
or to visit the market.....
A lamp shop in the market
.....well I was lucky enough to do all those things, but really, my dream was to visit Alexandria, north of Cairo. Now, Alexandria is famous for many things. It was the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the lighthouse, that is believed to have stood at the entrance to the harbour, not far from here:
It was built about 280 BC and was destroyed by an earthquake around 1,600 years later.
Alexandria was also the site of a huge library founded around the same time as the lighthouse was built. At one stage, Alexandria was known as the greatest centre of learning in the Ancient World and the library aimed to hold a copy of every book ever written. Like the lighthouse, the ancient library no longer exists, but Alexandria now has a brand new library:
However, this was not the reason I wanted to come to Alexandria. You may remember that I've written about my grandfather before. He was a mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps in the World War I. The mechanics didn't actually fly the planes - so when he was sent to Egypt, he travelled by ship. He never actually reached Egypt though, because as the ship he was on entered Alexandria harbour, it hit a mine and my grandfather was drowned. Although he has no grave, his name is on a memorial in the military cemetery in Alexandria: his wife and children never knew this, and I only found out a few years ago. Ever since, I have wanted to go and see the memorial. So, one Saturday in November, we set out by car to travel from Cairo to Alexandria. Our first stop was the beautiful library, where we helped with a BBC debate on Charles Darwin (you see, we even have to work on Saturdays ;-) ). But after that, we set off in search on the military cemetery. After making several wrong turns, we finally found the military cemetery, tucked away in a whole area of cemeteries, not far from the harbour. The cemetery is beautifully kept: the graves stand in long straight lines and in between the grass is kept tidy and there are flowers.
Right at the back of the cemetery, I found the memorial and my grandfather's name. The inscription read:
"All of whom have no other grave than the sea: He discovereth deep things out of darkness and bringeth out to light the shadow of death" (from the Bible: Job 12 verse 22)
As it was close to Remembrance Sunday I had brought a poppy cross to leave by the memorial. I felt very privileged to be there and very proud.
I have a whole list of dream places to visit and I am slowly ticking them off. Next on my list is the ancient city of Petra. Do you have a dream place you would like to visit?
to realise a dream : to make a dream come true
at one stage: once; at some time
to aim: to plan to make something happen or to achieve something
to find out: to discover
to make/take a wrong turn: to go the wrong way; to turn down the wrong road
to tick something off a list: to mark a list to show that something has been done