What I Brought Back From Egypt and Other Random Bits of Fun

I’m always saving photos of neat things to share with you, but sometimes I never get around to including them in a post. Sometimes it’s just a single photo or a little idea, so not quite enough to create a whole post about. Today, I’ve pulled a bunch of those little moments/ideas together. We’ll be jumping all over the place in this post so there should be something fun or interesting in here for everyone.

To start with, I wanted to share this screen capture I took from one of the Naadam videos I linked to in this previous post: Two Hilarious Videos & Ordering Cashmere from a Company with a Sense of Humor.

Sky full of stars over Gobi Desert


The reason I grabbed that screen capture is because THAT is exactly how the sky looked the two nights I spent camping (or I should say glamping) in the Sahara Desert when I traveled to Morocco a few years back. So many stars!!!


My Nikon camera could not do the night sky justice. It just couldn’t capture the gazillion stars I saw overhead and it was killing me that I couldn’t share that with you!


When I booked the Morocco trip, I couldn’t wait to visit the Sahara Desert. That was one of the main reasons I took that trip. I never even thought about the stars and how they would look during the nights we would be spending there and that turned out to be one of the most wonderful parts of the trip.

So when I saw this image of the sky over the Gobi desert in the Naadam video, I knew I needed to share it with you. If you ever get a chance to sleep in the desert, far, far away from city lights, do it! You will never ever forget that nighttime sky! The stars are actually much brighter and more beautiful than any photo can show. It’s just the most magnificent thing you’ll ever see!

Sky full of stars over Gobi Desert


I badly need to go through all my travel photos, I never seem to find the time but I’m going to work on that soon. As I was going through some of the photos I found on my main computer (not my travel laptop) I came across a few pictures I’d taken of some of the souvenirs I picked up my trip to Egypt a year or two back.

I didn’t buy a lot of things, just a few. After visiting so many of the tombs in The Valley of the Kings, our guide took us to a local shop where artisans hand-carve many of the scenes we had seen in the tombs into limestone slabs. It was amazing to watch them work! Afterward, I purchased two of the carvings/slabs.

When I was flying back, I had both of the slabs safely wrapped and tucked into my carry-on luggage. When I got to the check-in counter, I was told my carry-on suitcase was slightly overweight. I took one of the slabs out and placed it in my checked baggage. Sadly, it didn’t survive.

I’ve got a photo of it on my travel laptop somewhere. I’m not sure I want to see it since I know it will make me sad, but here’s the one that did make it back in one piece. I keep it here in the office on my desk. I love looking at it and remembering that amazing day touring The Valley of the Kings. I need to go through all those photos so I can do a post about that trip.

Egyptian Hand Carved Tablet


The other main souvenir(s) I brought back from that trip were two gold cartouches. The one on the right spells out my name on the backside (which apparently I forgot to photograph) while this side depicts three good-luck symbols.

The first one is the “Evil Eye” which is supposed to protect you from anyone casting an evil eye on you, trying to cause you harm. The second symbol down is an Ankh which represents the word “Life” in Egyptian hieroglyphics…so it’s the symbol of life. The third symbol is a Scarab Beetle, I believe. They represent rebirth, development, and growth.

The cartouche on the left depicts Ramses II on this side.

Cartouche, Souvenir from Egypt


The other side shows Queen Nefertiti. I love wearing these to remember my Egyptian adventure, and it truly was an adventure! I would love to go back one day.

Cartouche Necklace, Souvenir


The other thing I love to collect when traveling are magnets. They are small so very easy to bring back home.

Magnets, Travel Souvenir


I love placing them on my refrigerator door and just pausing every now when I’m in the kitchen to remember the places I’ve visited over the past 4-5 years. Not sure if I’ll take any trips this year since I’m currently saving my pennies for a new car. I live in fear that my hybrid battery is going to croak on my current 12-year-old car, so I’m hoping to replace my current car either this year or next.

Travel Magnets


Switching gears again, I found this photo on my computer of the little dinosaur blueberry pancakes I made for my grandsons where they were here for Thanksgiving holidays. I wonder how they would have looked covered in powder sugar. Yum! You can see the Dinosaur waffle maker and my absolutely favorite pancake waffle mix in this post: A Recent Kitchen Upgrade That’s Life-Changing & Eating Dinosaurs for Breakfast.

Dinosaur Blueberry Pancakes


I also made a Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Pie following a recipe my daughter-in-law, Nancy, found online. It was quite yummy!

Pecan Caramel Pie


New Christmas Plates for Next Year

Speaking of holidays, a BNOTP reader recently shared with me that she had purchased Grinch salad plates from Williams Sonoma. I had not even realized WS had those this year. I Googled to see how they looked and was smitten! Of course, they were all sold out on the WS site but I managed to find 8 on eBay for a fairly reasonable price.

I just love the How the Grinch Stole Christmas story and the characters, but it was those little Whos from Whoville encircling the perimeter of the plate that really got me. They are just so darn cute!

So look for these in a table setting next year. I need to buy a little Christmas tree for the centerpiece and bend it the way Elena did in her Grinch table setting here: How the Grinch Stole Christmas Table Setting.

Grinch Stole Christmas Plates



Back around Christmastime, I shared a link to where you could purchase big, beautiful, long bows for your indoor or outdoor wreaths.

How to Hang Christmas Wreaths on Exterior Windows


I ended up ordering a dozen of those myself to keep on hand when my current ribbons start to wear out. I never got a chance to share those with all the business of Christmas, but here’s how they looked when they arrived. The company packages them where they will not get creased or damaged which I really appreciate. If you will need ribbons for next Christmas, here’s where I purchased mine: Christmas Bows with Long Ribbons.

Long Red Ribbons for Christmas Wreaths


That Scary Bridge!

I’ll leave you with this photo that I took on my way back home after Christmas. With my phone, you can just pick it up and say the word “capture” or “smile” and it takes a photo, so that’s how I took this picture to share with you.

I do not like going over somewhat long bridges and every time I go to Ohio and return home, I have to cross over this longish bridge. It’s not really, really long, but too long for my liking. The other bridge going north looks exactly the same. It freaks me out every time I have to go over it! lol

I just really don’t like how this bridge looks. I’m sure it’s completely safe but it looks like something out of the movie, Somewhere in Time. It’s rusty and looks so archaic. It does not instill confidence in me when I’m on it. Ha!

Does anyone else get creeped out when going over bridges? How about this one covered in rust going into and out of Cincinnati? I think it would look a lot less creepy if they at least painted it–maybe a pretty white. Then it would show off the architectural design and would also hide all the rust.

Cincinnati Bridge


That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this post of random bits and ideas that I’ve been saving to share. See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday!

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  1. Oh my – those stars!! No wonder your trip was so amazing! And the little dyno pancakes are adoble! It all looks totally fun Susan – except the bridge of course! Thanks for the afternoon’s entertainment! See you tomorrow! ❤️

  2. Two bridges come to mind: the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel and the HIGH rise bridge going into Charleston, SC.

    • I’m with you on both bridges Bobbie. The lower level on the GW in and out of NY is another one I prefer driving blindfolded.

  3. What kind of phone do u have?

    • It’s Samung Galaxy Note 8. It’s a few years old, I think the current is a Note 10. It takes incredible photos! I use it for all my Tablescape Thursday posts, much easier to get good photos from it then from my Nikon D7000.

  4. Love the necklaces ! What a treasure ❤️❤️❤️

  5. linda c Burwell says

    I think l crossed that bridge a few years back when visiting. I have a fear of long bridges too! I also have a fear of heights even when watching a movie where they show someone high up looking down.
    I heard on the news that so so may of our nation’s bridges are in disrepair among other things! I live in Ca. and always think of earthquakes when going over or under any bridge!

  6. Brenda Lawrence says

    The starry sky is amazing! I have always wanted to see a night sky like that with all those billions of stars but I doubt I will ever see it in person. Your souvenirs are stunning! I’m so sorry your one limestone plaque didn’t make it back home. To bad you couldn’t have tucked it into your purse. I’m sad for you. The necklaces are so gorgeous too, such great reminders of your trip. Love the magnets too. They are easy to collect and bring home. It’s nice looking at them too, I love the ones you have! That pie looks so yummy too, I so love pecans pies but have never had a caramel pecan pie before. There are two bridges that I really hate, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-it is really long and high and the bridge going into Charleston SC, it is a long one too. lol I’m not a bridge person anymore. Didn’t mind them when I was younger, but hate them now. I just want to get over them as quick as possible! Hugs, Brenda

  7. Beautiful photos of your trips and I love those necklaces also. I enjoy reading your posts.

  8. janebucklin says

    I have a fear of driving across long bridges like The Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge in R.I.(longest suspension bridge in New England).
    Thanks for sharing more of your trip to Egypt.
    Always enjoy your blogs about your family, especially your time with your grandsons.
    Hugs, Jane

  9. I love the things you purchased in Egypt. Can you tell me where exactly you purchased them? Thank you.

    • Elaine, do you mean the necklaces? They came from a shop called Old Cairo Bazaar owned by Adel Iskander and Abd Alla, per the little jewelry pouch. I don’t know a lot about the shop other than it’s the place our guide recommended. Their card says they are located in Old Cairo opposite St. Sargehos Church.

      • Hi, yes the necklaces and the limestone Egyptian tablet. I hope to visit Egypt in the next year or two. Love your blog!

        • Hi Susan, can you kindly provide the address for the Old Cairo Bazaar shop and the name and address for where you bought the Egyptian limestone tablet? St. Sargehos Church does not come up on Google. Thank you!

          • I purchased the cartouches at the Old Cairo Bazaar. The limestone tablets came from a shop over near The Valley of the Kings. I’ll check and see if I can find my receipt. I’m not sure where it would be but I’ll see if I can find it.

          • Were you able to locate where the shop is? I will be visiting Egypt and will have limited time at the Valley of the Kings. It would be kind if you let all of know where you purchased the tablet. Thank you!

            • No, I looked and I can’t find my receipt from that day. It’s been almost two years so I have no idea where it is now. The only thing I have is this photo of one of the carvers creating a tablet. The best thing I can suggest is that when you are near or in The Valley of the Kings, ask your guide if there’s a shop nearby where they hand-carve limestone tablets depicting the images inside the tombs. Our guide and his driver took us there, so we weren’t driving so I have no idea where it was located, I just know it was about 15 minutes away from The Valley of the Kings.

  10. I hate bridges too. The worst I have gone across is the Mackinac Bridge, also called “The Mighty Mac”, which is almost 5 miles long and connects lower and upper Michigan. If it is windy you can almost feel it swaying, but they will close it if the winds get too bad. I think I had my eyes closed the entire time my husband drove us over all that water!

  11. Cyndi Raines says

    Yes and yes to the starry starry nights. I have seen beautiful skies in New Mexico and you are right, it is a beautiful sight to behold, especially when a comet or star flies across the sky. Awesome, nothing like it. Bridges,…not my favorite and I agree with the comment above, the Mighty Mac is quite a bridge and takes a real determined focus to get across, at least for me. Also not crazy about the Zilwaukee bridge as we head up north, can’t get across it fast enough, ha. Our Blue Water bridge isn’t too bad, as long as their isn’t a big back up with semi’s going to or leaving Canada, lol , so yea, I guess in a word, I’m not crazy about bridges either. You have some neat souvenirs Susan, always fun to reflect on awesome adventures.

  12. About the bridge. It is not too scary
    When I was a child my parents would take my brother for a ride and we would go over another bridge to Kentucky that is our singing one that is really scary.
    Sandy from W Chester Ohio

  13. Beautiful night sky where you glamped, Susan. I love your necklace with the evil eye, ankh and scarab. Back in the 70s I wore an ankh ring (still have it!). Interesting take on your thoughts on bridges…..I’ve crossed that bridge you have pictured many a time and never even thought about it. However, you may or may not recall the Silver Bridge collapse in 1967 at Pt Pleasant WV (crosses the Ohio River into Kanauga OH) which killed 46 people. My family traveled that bridge many times to visit my oldest sister who lived and worked in OH. Now, THAT was scary to see that!

  14. I never feared bridges until the one that collapsed at I-40 on the Ok and Ark border about 14 or 16 years ago and people just drove off the highway into the river. very scary. rls

  15. I’m a life-long resident of the Cincinnati area and that bridge is the Brent Spence Bridge built around 1960.
    It’s a double decker, cantilevered truss bridge which is actually only 1,736′ long. For years much arguing has been going on to replace it but funding the cost is a huge issue as to who pays for it, Ohio or Kentucky and waiting for infrastructure money from government. It is an eye-sore and obsolete! There are two bridges that scare the liven daylights out of me…..Sunshine
    Skyway Bridge over lower Tampa Bay in Florida. It’s a cable-stayed bridge and total length is 21,859′ and 430′ high! I closed my eyes the entire drive over this bridge! The other bridge that freaks me out is Lake
    Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana measuring 23.875 miles in total length! Sorry for the history lesson on bridges but they freak me out too!

  16. Kay Hess Grogg says

    I am an art teacher whose favorite art history lesson is King Tut. It is coming up on 100 years since Howard Carter discovered Tut’s grave in 1922. Oh what I would give to go to Egypt and see all that you saw. I was especially interested in your account of being in the market and the woman who tried to steal your credit card numbers electronically. I immediately purchased a wallet that prevented that from happening to me and I have repeated your story to all who will listen. Quite the adventure!
    But my absolute favorite recount of your trip is this post with the cartouches! Exquisite! Thanks for posting!

  17. I did a grinch table this last Christmas, it was on one of your link parties: https://www.whispersoftheheart.com/blog/2019/11/27/a-grinch-at-the-table
    As soon as I saw those plates I knew they were coming home with me!

  18. Love these tidbits. And I have to admit I also have pontaphobia (I made that up–pont is French for bridge) and I was really tested once. My husband was a steam engine buff and mechanically inclined so he worked on the crew for the engines as his hobby. We crossed Lake Pontchartrain on a steam engine, on a gray, cloudy day as the lake was whipping up a bit. When one is out in the middle of the lake you can’t see land. I made the mistake of looking down on the narrow railroad. There was the side of the train and straight down I could just see water. Look for an image of the Lake Pontchartrain railroad bridge and you will see how narrow it is and know how scared I was. We flew home, my first flight anywhere ever–after the bridge, “Piece of cake” as Billy Crystal quotes in When Harry Met Sally.

  19. Oh those Grinch plates are really the cutest! Regarding bridges; as only live fourty-five minutes from the U.S.A. border often shop there and have to cross one that’s located over a very swift moving body of water. By the time the vehicle reaches the other side and regardless that my husband is behind the wheel, ‘my’ knuckles are usually white and that is in the best of conditions and not during the mid of winter when surfaces can ice up and become slick … lol!

  20. scardey-cat says

    Bridges AND tunnels. Eeek!

  21. Hi, Susan,
    Could you link the recipe for the Caramel Pecan Pie?

  22. Hi Susan,
    Luxor is a much bigger place than I imagined. I have been digging online and had a couple of other thoughts. Did you check the back of the tablet to see if the vendor placed a sticker id on? Usually they do. And another possibility is the name of the tour guide or his/her company? Thank you.

    • Yes, I looked on back and there’s nothing on there. I never talked to the tour company since my friend arranged the trip. I only talked to the guides and I don’t remember their names now. The company that arranged the trip was Egypt Tours Portal and the person who emailed over our final literary was Ahmad Sameer. I’m not sure if they would know the name of the shop where the guide took us.

  23. Tamera A Vig says

    I would love a review of your recent trip to Egypt. Things you loved and what you could skip and how the food, guide etc was.

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