This week, doing a bit of cleaning at home, I came across a photo album of my first trip to Egypt, and I was thrilled. Not for having found a similar relic (although it would not be a bad motive either). I was thrilled to turn the pages and find, in each photograph, a girl more smiling than in the previous one. Consider the age when you travel. In this article, I am going to tell my three unforgettable trips and moments.
On rare occasions, I have been happier than on that trip. Truly the good: there I marked a “top.” Not only did I have a good time, like any child who travels with their parents to a “distant” and exotic country, but it had longer-term effects. It changed my life. I think (I’ve been hesitating all day, I do not finish with the date) that I was eight or nine years old; I did not know much about Egypt back then, just enough to be attracted to the pyramids, the mummies and the curse of Tutankhamun, and from there I became a miniature expert.
3 unforgettable trips
The unforgettable moments sting me a little remember is what happens with frustrations, which become chafing … and end up opening a travel blog. So I am going to tell what I have come to tell, beautiful things: the three stellar moments of my traveling life. The first, of course, took place in the land of pharaohs.
The Pyramids of Giza
Our trip to Egypt was coming to an end. After doing the classic cruise on the Nile, we spent a couple of days in Cairo, the visit to the Pyramids.
The night before, dad, mom and “the girl” (that is, me) went to dinner at the Mena House Hotel, from whose garden we had been told that one of the best views of the famous marvel was being contemplated. Specifically, I was obsessed with a description I had heard from my uncle, who said that the Pyramids appeared to him “suddenly, majestically,” but we had been walking for a few minutes (on the way to the restaurant) along that path surrounded by trees and I did not see anything. Everything was dark. I looked at the sky, looked and looked, and despaired.
Suddenly, over the top of the trees, I saw her. A black peak, huge, huge. Real discount. So huge that it seemed to be on top of me. I got scared and squeaked fright. I would swear that I even started crying. My parents tell me that that night I dined completely silent, with my gaze fixed on those big stones, which then, were in front of us, illuminated with a play of lights.
The nocturnal cremations in Varanasi
The stellar moments of life (traveling or not) do not happen every day. If so, they would not have anything extraordinary. For that reason between the first ice-cold moment that I store in my memory and the next one, I spend a whopping three years (year above, the year below). 2010: year of the “around the world” and my first trip to India. I had been in the country for a few months, so I was already somewhat brown, but I still had not seen a cremation, and I did not know how it would feel.
When I first approached the Manikarnika Ghat where the dead are cremated in the holy city of Varanasi, it would be almost midnight. I do not know why I did not go before, I had arrived in the city in the morning, and I had been walking all day, but maybe I did not feel the call until then. At that hour barely two or three fires were burning and, of course, much less concurrence than during the day. I could say I was alone, because counting fifteen Indians around you in a place like that, in the epicenter of a city like that, is the same as saying there was no one.
I remember approaching the pyres and staying petrified, hypnotized, with my eyes fixed on the fire and the wood that creaked. During the hour I stayed there I only raised my eyes a couple of times, when the silence was broken by the (almost priceless, it must be said) sound of a new funeral cortege coming to take its place in that queue of horror and death. That night I wrote that I felt I had been in a great factory of souls, and that is the image that has accompanied me since Varanasi.
The wall of lamentations
It does not stop having its grace that all the great moments of my life (I no longer say traveling: of my Life, period) have happened at night. Darkness invites reflection, recollection, and mystery, I suppose. The third also happened in the light of the moon, specifically in Jerusalem, during the #minubetrip to Israel (Who says that organized trips are plasticized experiences, in which nothing authentic is lived? I already tell you no, or at least there are exceptions).
We had been in the city for a couple of days and had gone to the Wailing Wall several times, but nothing unusual had happened to remove too many feelings. However, on Saturday night, after dinner, we passed by coinciding with the end of the Sabbat. While my classmates (all men) were entertained with a celebration that took place on the side reserved for those of their gender, I approached the base of the Wall in the female sector, and it happened again: I was paralyzed, overwhelmed by the energy that the women around me detached. I can not explain it better (I do not even understand what I felt), although at the time I tried in this text, which of course is lame and not worthy of … nothing.
Nor are images this entry, taken in those unforgettable trips, but not in those moments that try to illustrate. There is no photograph at the level of memories. And to continue creating memories I go, to the city where my brains and bowels are most removed, the third of this post precisely: Jerusalem, the starting point of a long-awaited trip (although short) in the Middle East. I needed a radical change of scenery; change geographical area, religion, history, culture, and sociopolitical context. Let’s enjoy.