Obelisks can be found throughout the world, many of them originally coming from Egypt. Almost always, you will find them as a single obelisk that stands out on its own. The obelisks at Karnak Temple in Luxor is an example of having multiple obelisks at the same site. There are two remaining obelisks of the four that originally existed at the site. We took many different photographs of the obelisks during our time touring the temple and the pair of obelisks provides some interesting symmetry in the pictures that we took. There were also time when they could be seen framed between different columns and doors, which was probably the intention of the ancient Egyptians when the obelisks were erected.
Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as the Abu Serga Church as well as the Cavern Church, is an important historical and religious landmark in Cairo, Egypt. The church is supposed to be built on the spot where Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. The church is dedicated to Sergius and Bacchus who were soldiers in the 4th century that were killed by the Roman Emperor Maximian and achieved martyrdom and sainthood.
The church is one of the oldest in Egypt and dates back to sometime in the 4th or 5th century. It is located near the Babylon Fortress in Cairo and it was believed that Joseph may have been one of the people to work on the construction of the fortress. We visited the Abu Serga Church as part of a tour of the section of Cairo known as Coptic Cairo where there are a variety of historical sites.
The interior of the church is quite fascinating and contains a variety of ancient relics. It is a popular location for tourists to visit and you will find yourself in a line of people as you make your way through the actual cavern inside of the church. There is also a well within the church that is believed that the Holy Family drank from. With such historical, religious, and cultural significance, visiting the Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church is definitely worth doing while you are in Cairo.
When traveling, we always try to have the most authentic experiences as possible. There are times, however, when a tour that we take includes something that is there just for tourists. They are often a photo opportunities that locals believe that the people visiting want to take home with them, but often they aren’t realistic to the actual culture. More often than not, when we end up doing one of those types of things, we literally cringe when we see what we’re about to do. It doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy them, it is just that we realize that it is a staged activity done just for tourists.
We have actually ridden camels twice, once in Morocco and then again in Egypt. It wasn’t as if we were riding a camel to get from one place to another, it was just us on a camel while someone walked us around. It wasn’t as if we saw people riding camels, although we know that they do in the desert, so it is just something that people have come to expect to do when they visit those countries. Another thing that we did when in Morocco was to see a snake charmer. Interesting as it was, it was still just a planned stop along the tour for us to take photos and tip the snake charmer in order for him to make a living.
When we were in Prague, at the end of the tour, we went to what was supposed to be a medieval restaurant, complete with cobwebs on the ceiling and waiters dressed in garments from the period. Having a meal at a wooden table in a dungeon, while fun, is probably not the way it would have been hundreds of years ago. When we visited Warwick Castle in England, one of the towers was set up as a torture chamber. It was basically a haunted house experience with people jumping out at you. Again, fun, but not anything representative of turn of the century Europe.
When we were in Cabo, we swam with dolphins in a large aquarium. It would be quite fascinating to swim in the wild with dolphins, but that would be a completely different experience than swimming with a dolphin that has been trained to do tricks. We took a cruise on a pirate ship in Puerto Vallarta where they put on a show and entertained the guests throughout the tour. Clearly these activities are a little different, but still very touristy. Obviously it is hard to completely avoid all of these types of activities, so when they happen it is best to just role with it and have fun. The camel rides were probably the most touristy of all of the activities that we’ve done. What is the most touristy thing that you’ve done when traveling?