Top 10 things that makes you feel Ramadan Like an Egyptian

Lots of Non-Egyptians or non-Muslims think that the month of Ramadan is ONLY that time of the year where Muslims don’t drink & eat during the day. They perceive more as a religious thing related only to Muslims.

But the truth is that the month of Ramadan is viewed differently in the Arab world and specially in Egypt. Over the long years, the month of Ramadan built its traditions and customs. It became an important time of the year that is celebrated by both Muslims and Christians (of course it still has its religious importance but today it has more than that…)

We tried to collect for you the top things that capture the spirit of Ramadan and that will make you feel its beauty like an Egyptian #WalkLikeAnEgyptian

1- Fanous Ramadan

Fanous Ramadan by Marwa Morgan

Fanous Ramadan by Marwa Morgan

When you think of Ramadan, the first thing that will pop into your mind is “el-Fanous ” (The Lantern/Ramadan lantern). It is like Christmas tree for Christmas… There is Fanous for Ramadan!🙂

These beautiful decorated glass lanterns comes into different sizes and colors. Lots of people think that the tradition of Fanous probably began in the 10th century. When al-Califh Al-Muizz entered Egypt, it coincided that it is the beginning of the month. People went out to welcome him, it was night and they took lanterns with them to light the way. It became something symbolic where people (specially young children) buy Fanous to welcome the new month and to play with it and sing special Ramadan songs.

2- Konafa and Ataif (Ramadan sweets)

Konafa making process (Photo by Flickr user: nikond70s20010 )

Konafa making process (Photo by Flickr user: nikond70s20010 )

Delicious Ataif!!

Delicious Ataif!!

Ramadan in Egypt is mainly related to FOOOOOD!! During this month in Egypt there is a competition between Egyptian women to show who is the best to make delicious dishes. There are special plates and sweets that are related to the month of Ramadan. The most famous ramadan sweets are Konafa and Ataif.

3- Khoshaf

Khoshaf (Photo source: aklat.net)

Khoshaf (Photo source: aklat.net)

As long as we are talking about food in Ramadan… No one can forget Khoshaf خشاف . It is a mix of dried fruits (Fig, dates, Raisins, apricots..) soaked in water. It is like a fruit salad!

4- El-Messaharaty

Messaharaty (Photo by: Angelos Viskadourakis)

Messaharaty (Photo by: Angelos Viskadourakis)

It is that guy that used to walk in Egypt streets with a small drum, tap on it an hour or two before sunrise in order to wake people up to eat the last meal of the day. That guy’s job was very important before as there were no clock or alarms so his job was very important to let people know that it is time to eat Souhour (Ramadan special meal before sunrise).

The Messaharaty’s job rarely exist today but you will still find photos for him used a lot in commercial related to Ramadan.

5- Family and friends gatherings

Ramadan nights by Omer Fares

Ramadan nights by Omer Fares

One of the amazing things about Ramadan is the family and friends gatherings. All year long, everyone finish his work in different time. Everyone takes lunch or dinner on different time… But during the month of Ramadan, everybody takes the main meal (Iftar) on same time (Sunset) so it is very easy to schedule gatherings for Ifatr or Souhour. It is the perfect time of the year where we can catch up what we missed with family and friend , and enjoy their company for a whole month.

6- Taraweeh Prayer

Taraweeh prayer (Photo by: Flickr user Pepette89)

Taraweeh prayer (Photo by: Flickr user Pepette89)

Ramadan is the best time of the year to catch up on spirituality. Ramadan in general is known as the month of good where the righteous deeds are multiplied in front of God. For everyone, it is like a race for GOOD where most of the people are trying to compete to do righteous deeds like feeding the poor, helping the elderly, giving more charity… and to pray Taraweeh.

Taraweeh are extra prayers performed by Muslims during the night of Ramadan. They are not compulsory. However, many Muslims pray these prayers in the night during Ramadan to meditate and to connect more with God during this holy month.

7- Madfae Ramadan (Ramadan Cannon)

Old cannon at Saladin Citadel and modern city districts of Cairo, Egypt (Photo source: Yahoo)

Old cannon at Saladin Citadel and modern city districts of Cairo, Egypt (Photo source: Yahoo)

Yeah…Cannon!!🙂 Back in time, when there were few clocks and people hardly knew prayers times, they used a cannon to let people know the time of Iftar. The cannon was located in the citadel of Saladin. The tradition probably started by coincident. They were cleaning the cannon when a mistaken bullet went in the air and accidently met the exact time of Iftar. People liked the idea and thought it is a new way of informing the people of Iftar time.

They don’t fire cannons anymore but it remained one of the things that symbolize Ramadan in Egypt.

8- Ramadan Decorations

Ramadan decorations (Photo by Kyoko Nishimoto)

Ramadan decorations (Photo by Kyoko Nishimoto)

Another type of Ramadan decorations in Egypt (Photo by Rick Wilhelmsen)

Another type of Ramadan decorations in Egypt (Photo by Rick Wilhelmsen)

Beside the famous Fanous, people use special decorations for Ramadan to decorate the streets, coffee shops and their houses… They decorate it with small paper-cut colored pyramid shapes decorations.

9- Khan Khalili and Old Fatimid Cairo

Ahwa in Cairo (Photo by Omer Fares)

Ahwa in Cairo (Photo by Omer Fares)

Photo by Sherif Hosni

Photo by Sherif Hosni

The month of Ramadan is always related with everything nostalgic, with old traditons… with the beautiful old past! That’s why it is very famous during the night of Ramadan that people hang out in the cafes in the neighborhood of Faitmid Cairo where old bazars and cafes are situated.

10- Cultural events

Tanoura show in Wekalet el-Ghouri, Cairo - Egypt (Photo by Marwa Morgan)

Tanoura show in Wekalet el-Ghouri, Cairo – Egypt (Photo by Marwa Morgan)

After all, Ramadan is not all about spirituality. It is a busy month with busy schedule of concerts and cultural events going around the city. They are mainly events inspired from the folklore and the long history of Egypt.

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Zööba – my vegan paradise in Cairo

TRAVELLING VEGAN

While travelling to Cairo in Egypt, don’t be surprised that you will not find many vegetarian (not saying vegan) restaurants. Egyptians love meat! Egyptians eat probably all possible kinds of animals – that is why the concept of veganism is not very much present in this country.

However in the country of shawarma (Levantine meat preparation) I managed to find Zööba – my small vegan paradise. There are currently 5 locations of Zööba and the 6th one is to be opened soon.  The menu is quite simple, traditional Egyptian and the dishes are clearly marked, if they are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. This makes the menu unique probably in  whole Cairo and it is so vegan friendly!

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I was having lunch almost every day in Zööba – so I managed to try everything vegan from the menu. On my “must try” list I would definitely put:

1. Kushari, also koshary, kosheri or koshari, is an Egyptian dish made of rice, macaroni and lentils…

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The Best part of the journey… is the People you meet along the way!

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Visiting important historical sites and be amazed by beautiful landscapes is definitely one the best things one can do. Of course we love to visit and explore new places but what we love and treasure as well is the beautiful people we meet along the way.

Each one we meet along the way has its own beauty, has its uniqueness. Taking the time to know each one, know their passion and their dreams, makes life interesting and beautiful and make the Journey incredible.

Let us share with you every now and then a story of one of these beautiful people we meet along the way.

On our last Walking tour in Old Cairo area (Coptic Cairo), we gathered in a simple café at the Entrance of Old Cairo area called “Old Cairo” as well! It is one of the 2 cafes in Old Cairo. The first look to the Café, it looks so simple and not luxurious at all but when you seat there, they make you feel at home.

"Walk Like An Egyptian" getting ready to our Walking tour in Old Cairo

“Walk Like An Egyptian” getting ready to our Walking tour in Old Cairo

The Café is owned by “Mostafa”. Mostafa always lived in Old Cairo (Masr El Adima). He lives in the same building where the café is. He used to own the other café/Restaurant of old Cairo with his brothers. Now, he owns his own Café “Old Cairo Café”. It is a small simple café but he is doing his best to provide good service, he is doing it with love. If you go anytime, you will find him working by himself, sometimes his wife or little daughter helps.

Mostafa inside his small Kitchen

Mostafa inside his small Kitchen

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Maybe Mostafa always lived in the same place and worked in the same places as well but he has the world at Home. Literally he has the world! When you are in the café, you will see different people from all around the world, Europeans, Americans, Chinese, Indians…

People from all over the world enjoying their visit to Cairo

People from all over the world enjoying their visit to Cairo

“Old Cairo Café” is a very beautiful place to seat and enjoy a drink and a small snack while visiting Old Coptic Churches.

With Enough Coffer... I can rule the world! :)

With Enough Coffer… I can rule the world!🙂

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Where to see the best view of cairo

هنا القاهرة… Here is Cairo!

Cairo Tower is one of the important landmarks of the city of Cairo. It has one of the best panoramic views of the city.

•• Location: Guezira island – Zamelek

••Shape: the building takes the shape of the famous Lotus flower (famous symbol from pharaonic Egypt & symbol of eternity and rebirth)

••Construction date: the construction was started on 1956 and it was inaugurated 5 years later (1961)
Height: 187 m (614 feet, around 16 floor 😊)

•• What is it exactly? : A tall tower with a circular observation deck at the top and a rotating restaurant with a view over Cairo.

••Best time to visit: 1 or 2 hours before sunset on weekends and official holidays where sky is clear🙂 You know that you can see the PYRAMIDS from there when weather is clear!😉

Photo by Instagramer @egy.90.qtr

Don’t forget to follow us @walk_like_anEgyptian
http://www.facebook.com/walk.like.an.egyptian.page

If you are organizing a trip soon to Egypt, we will be pleased to assist you🙂
Send us email: WalkLikeAnEgyptianTours@gmail.com

Learn how to rest… DREAMS: the 12 steps

Sometimes when we are on our journey pursuing our dreams, we make the mistake of not resting so we won’t waste time.
Few years ago, I read a post by Paulo Coelho called “Dreams: the 12 steps ” and to my surprise I found resting among the 12 steps. It is so true when we take time to relax and rest, what a difference it makes in clearing and rearranging ideas in our mind.

DREAMS: the 12 steps

1. Tell yourself the truth

2. Start slowly, but start

3. Stop slowly, but stop (things you need to stop doing

4. Discover your small talents

5- Don’t base your decisions on financial gain

7. Follow your intuition

8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind

9. Learn how to rest

10. Let things show you a happier path

11. Read the signs

12. Finally, take risks!

Sunny day in Cairo🙂

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Sisi The Cyclist

Egypt’s former Defence Minister and Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has cause a stir on social media after he was photographed riding a bicycle on the streets of Cairo.

Egyptian Streets

Sisi on a bicycle in New Cairo Sisi on a bicycle in New Cairo

Egypt’s former Defence Minister and Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has cause a stir on social media after he was photographed riding a bicycle on the streets of Cairo.

The former Military Chief was wearing a tracksuit while on his bicycle and reportedly stopped to talk to locals about his cycling hobby, where he bought his blue training suit and ‘Peugeot’ branded bicycle, and of course, Egyptian affairs.*

Bodyguards along with the Presidential Candidate on his bike ride Bodyguards along with the Presidential Candidate on his bike ride

While images of Presidents and world leaders exercising and playing sport is normal abroad (like Norway’s Prime Minister cycling to work or the USA’s Obama playing basketball), images of a man widely seen as the winner of Egypt’s next Presidential elections riding a bicycle are perplexing to many in Egypt: it is not every day that the country’s former top Military official is seen wearing…

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8 days, 3 cities… #TripToTheSouth

ExploreDreamDiscover

Twenty years from now… even 2 or 3 years from now we may regret things we didn’t do…

How many times we hesitate to do something? How many times we want to do something but we choose not to do it… how many times we regret that we didn’t. If we look back at our lives, we will see that the moments we were really happy and enjoyed life are the moments that we decided to look fear in the eyes and DARE to live… those were the moments we felt ALIVE.

In the last 3 years, things changed a lot in Egypt, lots of reforming and lots of manifestations happened, accordingly lots of tourists decided to cancel their trips to Egypt or postpone it till it is stable in Egypt.  When thousands of people decided not to come now, others decided to take the initiative and come NOW. With the prices the cheapest and empty sites, it makes you feel like you own the place, it leaves room to the imagination to be a Pharaoh for a moment.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  Mae West

We decided to take the initiative and travel all over Egypt. If you check our previous post you can see that last November & December we toured Cairo by bicycles. This time, we decided to do something different…

8 days, 3 cities… a #TripToTheSouth

Starting this Thursday Inshallah “if Allah wills” (that’s a common word we use a lot in Egypt) we will go from Cairo to El Gouna, then Luxor and we will end the tour in Aswan. It is a trip of more than 900 KM during 8 days. Follow us to discover the beauty of the south of Egypt, it is a unique chance to take an online free virtual tour.

By the way, is there a certain place or activity you would like to try in any of the 3 cities we will visit? Tell us, and we will take a picture specially for you so you can feel it as you were here …

Please follow the trip on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Walk.Like.An.Egyptian.Page , Instagram @Walk_Like_AnEgyptian and here on our blog.

Every platform will show a different part of the tour, make sure you FOLLOW it all!

In few hours Inshallah, we will be at the airport… Cairo International Airport… see you😉

How it feels to travel by a “Sleeping Train”? —- Visual Tour

Have you ever wondered how it feels to travel by a “Sleeping Train” in Egypt?

Lots of people know that one of the way of go to Luxor or Aswan is to go by the “Sleeping Train”, but actually only few who have experienced  how it feels to travel by train. Of course traveling by Airplane is more comfortable, fast… but traveling with the train is an amazing unique experience that one should try (at least once! :D). I traveled a lot with the “Sleeping Train”  and I love it!

Picture speaks better than a 1000 words!

Because picture shows more than what one wants to say, so I collected from the internet (flickr) picture from travelers pictures so you can experience a visual tour of how it feels to WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN in the “Sleeping Train”.

If you need to know more details about the schedule and tickets prices, you can check the operating company website. http://www.wataniasleepingtrains.com/Watania/Price_list_%26_Schedule.html

In Great Cairo, there are 2 train stations “Ramsis” and “Giza”. Usually you take the “Sleeping Train” from “Giza Station”.

Outside View of the train wagon - Photo by Wallacefsk

Outside View of the train wagon – Photo by Wallacefsk

Photo by: captain doodle

Photo by: captain doodle

Once you go in the train, you will see this corridor. The rooms are on the right. Photo by: Wallacefsk

Once you go in the train, you will see this corridor. The rooms are on the right. Photo by: Wallacefsk

Cabin view. At night, the cabin attendant turn the seats into a bed. There are 2 beds in each cabin. Photo by:  JustinChuang

Cabin view. At night, the cabin attendant turn the seats into a bed. There are 2 beds in each cabin. Photo by: JustinChuang

Another cabin view by Sharron McClellan

Another cabin view by Sharron McClellan

and another view :) Photo by: Wallacefsk

and another view🙂 Photo by: Wallacefsk

Here you go! No more seats... it is now beds! Photo by: persperctive-OL

Here you go! No more seats… it is now beds! Photo by: persperctive-OL

In Each cabin, there is a washbowl with water tab. Photo by:  Heidi byerly

In Each cabin, there is a washbowl with water tab. Photo by: Heidi byerly

It is included with the train ticket "Dinner" and "Breakfast". Photo by: MadGrin

It is included with the train ticket “Dinner” and “Breakfast”. Photo by: MadGrin

Dinner is served before the attendant change the seats to bed. Photo by: WangYan2007

Dinner is served before the attendant change the seats to bed. Photo by: WangYan2007

 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to stay in your cabin all the time…!🙂 The train consists of 13 wagons. In the middle, there is one club car for drinks with music in the background.

 

Train Bar. Photo by: Rolo Pics

Train Bar. Photo by: Rolo Pics

 

You can sleep early... or you can Party all night with your friends :) Photo by:  Sharron McClellan

You can sleep early… or you can Party all night with your friends🙂 Photo by: Sharron McClellan

Breakfast in the morning. Photo by: MadGrin

Breakfast in the morning. Photo by: MadGrin

One of the best thing I love about traveling by Train... is the amazing view from the window. Photo by: Alicky

One of the best thing I love about traveling by Train… is the amazing view from the window. Photo by: Alicky

Hope you had safe trip with our visual tour. In less than an hour, we will reach Luxor. See you! Photo by: bondurbia

Hope you had safe trip with our visual tour. In less than an hour, we will reach Luxor. See you! Photo by: bondurbia

 

 

 

WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN… Follow our blog and stay in touch with us so you can always read and see what is interesting about Egypt

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Once You Drink From the Nile, You are Destined to Return

Once You Drink From the Nile, You are Destined to Return…. very true :))

communicating across the boundaries of faith & culture

English: A Boat in the Nil River ,Zamalek , Ca...

At our goodbye party in Egypt, fifteen years ago, we gave out tiny bottles filled with water from the Nile River. Written on the front of the bottle were the words of an Egyptian proverb:

Once you drink from the Nile, you are destined to return

Cairo is a city that gets into your blood, under your skin, becomes a part of your DNA and every other phrase you can imagine to describe the connection that is Cairo. For all it’s dirt and chaos, our family loves this city. I think it’s because we are like the city. We’re loud, we’re chaotic, and we’re complicated; we can’t be put in a box.

We arrived in Cairo in 1989, just a few months shy of my thirtieth birthday.We were fledglings, learning to walk, talk and live as a family. We were described as “that cute young couple with all those kids!” After…

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