Alabaster and Other Gems

In addition to several guided tours through various markets, Waleed took us to wonderful shops carrying all of Egypts finest exports – cotton, fragrances, jewelry, rugs, alabaster marble and papyrus.

The alabaster shop we visited first demonstrated their craft – carving reliefs, and using stone to carve the marble.

Light glows through the beautiful alabaster:


At the Papyrus shop, Waleed demonstrated the method to make paper of papyrus – essentially, grow, pick, soak, layer and press:

Bookmarks are drawn in hieroglyphs as simply as we write our own alphabet:


At breakfast one glorious Luxor morning, Diane, retired teacher, dropped a gem on Nancy and I, each enthused camel riders, when she asked, “Do you know the Alice the Camel song?”

We did not.

She rose, paused emphatically, and began (we now know to be) the traditional interpretation of the song using voice and movement.  As the lyric became apparent, we, of course, joined in, much to the delight of other unenlightened restaurant patrons.  Priceless!


How did I miss this Egyptian gem in Madrid? Debod Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple which was rebuilt in Madrid. It is an authentic Egyptian temple built in the 2nd century BCE, at the village of Devod, south of Aswan.

In 1960, due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan and the consequent threat posed to several monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.  It was dismantled and erected in Parque del Oeste, near the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Beautiful against an amethyst sky:

Temple of Debod


From our beautiful Luxor hotel overlooking the Nile,

we had a ride on one of the iconic, elegant sailboats that have populated the Nile River for centuries.  There was little wind and it was a short ride, but precious nonetheless.



1 thought on “Alabaster and Other Gems

  1. Oh my word, I am just star struck by the images and history, which you have provided. I need to hear this song!
    X, Bonnie

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