Ashna’s Letter to Friends – December ’15

Hi Everybody

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! How are you?

After we left Naples we went to Athens, Greece. In Athens we saw many temples including the temple of Zeus and the temple of Hephaestus. Zeus and Hephaestus are both Greek Gods. Another place we visited was the Acropolis, which is a big rock with temples on it. On the Acropolis you can visit the temple of Nike, Erecthion, and the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple to Athena, in which there is a lot of scaffolding work because it is being renovated. Another place we went to was the Archaeological Museum. It has many parts that have fallen off the Parthenon. It also has things that are not from the Parthenon and are over 9,000 years old!

From Athens we flew to Mykonos; an island off the coast of Athens. From Mykonos we took a boat to Delos which was similar to Pompei except it did not have bodies of dead people. In Delos we saw many temples and ruins of old houses. We took a boat from Mykonos to a town called Rafina, which is near Athens. From Rafina we drove to the town of Marathon. The name of the long distance race also called a marathon comes from the story about a Greek soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens to tell the Athenians that they had defeated the Persians in a war. The distance from Marathon to Athens is the same distance as the Marathon we run today.

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When we left Greece we went to Cairo, Egypt. From Cairo we drove to Giza and rode horses to the Pyramids of Giza which were really cool. There are three main Pyramids and each is a tomb for a different Pharaoh. The biggest is for Cheops, the medium one is for Khafra, and the smallest is for Menkaure. The Pyramids are about 4,500 years old.

Then we drove to Saqqara and saw a step Pyramid. The ancient Egyptians were trying out different techniques for building a pyramid. One of those techniques was by building the Pyramid in layers. They would make the first layer big, then the layer on top of it smaller, and the layer on top of that even smaller. We also went to the Pharaonic Village in Cairo. At the Pharaonic Village we saw people acting out daily life in ancient Egypt (things like making perfume, paintings, and papyrus which they used as paper).

After we left Cairo we went to Luxor which is also in Egypt. In Luxor we visited a place called Valley of the Kings. In Valley of the Kings we saw the tombs of Ramses III, Ramses IX and Merenptah. None of the Pharaoh’s mummies were in the tomb because they had all been stolen by tomb robbers. The tombs were built underground and had many cool carvings in the wall. Then we went to the Temple of Hatshepsut who was the first female Pharaoh. The temple of Hatshepsut was reconstructed after it was torn down. It was torn down because many people were mad at the female Pharaoh. Inside the temple, there were carvings in the wall and giant statues of Hatshepsut.

We took a Felucca ride down the Nile River. A Felucca is a type of sailboat. When we rode the Felucca it didn’t really move because there was no wind and no backup motor.

Another place we went was the Temple of Luxor. This is a temple to Amun Ra who is the Egyptian sun god. Then we went to the temple of Karnak which is the temple to Ra and many other people.

After Luxor we went to Hurghada, which is a beach town by the Red Sea. We went on a glass-bottom boat tour. Through the glass-bottom we saw over 3,000 fish! We also saw some colorful coral reefs. We jumped off the boat and went snorkeling. In the water we could also see many fish. We didn’t do very much other stuff in Hurghada except for playing in the pool, going down slides, and swimming near the beach.

Next, we visited our family in Mumbai, India. We are staying with my aunt, grandmother and cousin. We also visited my other aunt, and two other cousins. In India we celebrated a festival called Diwali. During Diwali we lit sparklers, fire crackers, and oil lamps called Diyas.

Then we flew to Delhi which is also in India. In Delhi we saw many monuments including Qutub Minar (a brick minaret), Humayun’s tomb, the Red Fort, and the Bahai Temple. Then we took a train to Agra, where you can see the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is a huge monument built out of white marble. Though the Taj Mahal is built out of white marble, is not entirely white. It is decorated with inlay. Inlay is where you carve a shape onto a piece of marble and then fill the carving with another precious stone that has been carved in the same shape. After we left Agra we went to Jaipur.

In Jaipur we saw the floating palace called Jal Mahal. Jal means water and Mahal means palace. The Jal Mahal is a palace in the water. We also saw the Jantar Mantar, which is an area with a lot of sun dials and instruments to check the time and placement of the stars. In addition, we visited the Amber Fort which even though it is called Amber Fort it is actually more of a Palace. There were elephant rides going up to the Amber Fort, but we decided not to take them because we read that the elephants were treated harshly. In the Amber Fort we saw the Hall of Mirrors. The walls were covered with tiny mirrors, so the hall appeared to be shining.

From Jaipur we flew back to Mumbai and visited an area called Nariman Point. In Nariman Point we went to Shivaji Museum. Inside the museum we saw ancient Indian artifacts. We also went to Jehangir Art Gallery and saw some modern art and paintings by Indian artists. We drove by Crawford Market and VT station. The next day we visited Gateway of India. From there we took a boat to a place called Elephanta Caves. At Elephanta Caves we saw a few different caves that were carved for Hindu and Buddhist Gods. The caves were all carved into the rock which was pretty cool. Around Elephanta Caves there were monkeys trying to snatch people’s food. One monkey actually got someone’s mango drink! The monkey drank from the bottle correctly but then accidentally spilled the whole thing!! When all the mango drink was gone, the monkey dropped the bottle and it hit a man’s head.

I will be in Mumbai until the end of January.

Please write back if you have time…





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