Photo Essay | Bridges of the Camino de Santiago

Please read the post on my new blog: http://somedayillbethere.com/2012/04/bridges-camino-de-santiago/

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Why Walk El Camino de Santiago?

This post will not contain a straight answer of why to walk El Camino de Santiago. Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question, nor can anyone answer it. It is impossible to give someone any straight answers as of why to walk el Camino. It is a very personalized experience for anyone to point out even the general reasons for walking it.

Walking El Camino
photo credits: Bernardo Ruiz

The phrase I heard the most while walking across Northern Spain (after “Buen Camino” of course) was “so why are you walking the Camino?”

Why was I walking El Camino? I found it hard at first to answer this question, I thought I had reasons, I thought I had a good reason, but when trying to explain this reason to others it always sounded naive, or more of stupid. I tried asking this question to other people as well, and I heard lots of stories; many people shared their drama, other shared reasons that sounded even more naive than I thought my reasons were. But we were all there, and walking, with all the different backgrounds and reasons.

And the truth is, no matter what reasons anyone came for, we were all rewarded in a very similar yet personalized way by the Camino.

Pyrenees on the first day of walking

Let me just tell you at the beginning, when embracing this new experience, no matter what your reasons are, the first week or 10 days, you will ask yourself, every single morning, why the heck am I walking? Why the heck am I doing this to myself while I can be enjoying a beach or any other getaway destination with the same exact amount of money? Just do your best at getting…

Please continue reading this post on my new blog here. I am supposed to stop posting on thos blog all together very soon, make sure you also subscribe to my new blog and get the updates.

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 Because of your support I have started my new blog on my own domain at http://somedayillbethere.com so please make sure you subscribe there because I will stop posting on this blog.

Thanks again for your support

 – Mina Mahrous

Categories: Camino de Santiago memories and lessons, Spain | Leave a comment

Las Fiestas Españolas – A Pilgrim’s Nightmare

It was the 10th day of walking, 3.9.2011, a rainy day, very cold since we woke up and the weather didn’t get any better throughout the entire morning. I reached Belorado along with some people I was walking with. A very small Spanish town, looking dead as all north Spanish towns during the siesta time (from 2 to 4 pm, towns are dead! Plazas are empty! And no one is seen on the streets! Those Spanish people take their rest time really seriously!

View from Hostel
Yes the pool belongs to the hostel, but it was really cold!

The Hostel room in Belorado

We entered our albergue, with nothing much to do, we did our laundry, started thinking about what to eat, and then decided to go out for a walk through the town to find a good supermarket to buy something to cook.

We search a lot, but we find none! All are closed down. We finally asked someone why are all the “supermercados” were closed down; and we were told it’s because…

Please continue reading the post on my new blog here http://somedayillbethere.com/2012/03/las-fiestas-espanolas-a-pilgrims-nightmare/

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If you enjoy this blog, please continue your support by visiting my new blog, very soon I will stop posting on this blog and I will only continue posting on my new domain. Please continue following me there. It was because of your support that I have movied to a new domain. http://somedayillbethere.com

 – Mina Mahrous

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Camino de Santiago in Pictures | Special Moments – Photo Essay | Part II

First of all, I am not by any chance a pro photographer, nor do I own a good camera (and on the Camino de Santiago specifically I was using an old phone’s camera).

Second thing I have to mention about this post before you go through is that those picture are mostly of people, friends I’ve made on the Camino, so while the post in general might not be very interesting for most of you, each one picture of those holds a great memory in it, and always brings a smile to my face!

View the first part of this post, my Camino de Santiago special moments Part |

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Bar Espana, where we waited for the bus
Bar Espana

Waiting for the bus

A special moment in a different way, a day I couldn’t step on my foot, I’ll post about the story in another post. But boy did many people take the bus with me that day, and the 6 hours since getting kicked out of the hostel, till I took the bus were so much fun!

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Reaching a town after 10 Km walking

10 Km non stop

This day I started walking all alone in the morning while it was still dark. I can also make a whole post about this day, but in short, I walked 10km non stop to this town. The moment in this picture was special because if I had….

Continue this post on my new blog here “Camino de Santiago Special Moments Part II” 

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Camino de Santiago in Pictures | Special Moments – Photo Essay | Part I

First of all, I am not by any chance a pro photographer, nor do I own a good camera (and on the Camino de Santiago specifically I was using an old phone’s camera).

Second thing I have to mention about this post before you go through is that those picture are mostly of people, friends I’ve made on the Camino, so while the post in general might not be very interesting for most of you, each one picture of those holds a great memory in it, and always brings a smile to my face!

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The cooking Team (+others)
From left the left: Me, Jenny, Johannes and Chris.

Cooking in Zubiri

I have mentioned this story before, this was the day I started making friends on the Camino, and started talking and interacting with people, and found out there are many interesting people walking with me. It was Jenny who took the first step in inviting everyone to eat together, she cooks :D

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Gathering in Zubiri after dinner in the Albergue's Yard

After dinner gathering

It was the same day we cooked dinner in Zubiri, everyone was talking with all, plus some wine to break the ice between all the solo walkers. It was also in that gathering I met Ismael, the great ….

To continue reading this post, and to see the rest of the photos, please do so on my new blog here: Special moments on the Camino Part I

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Because of your support, I have decided to move from this blog to a new one, with my own domain. Please if you enjoyed reading posts on this blog, follow me on my new blog at http://somedayillbethere.com

More new posts there :)

See you,
– Mina Mahrous

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No One Likes Being a Pharmacist

Statistically based, according to my previous post about why I hate being a pharmacist.

I wrote a previous post about why I hate being a pharmacist, thinking it would be one of the boring posts that wouldn’t get much attention. However, I was wrong! According to the statistics of the older blog of mine, that post was my most popular one!!

So why do people become pharmacists? I personally have no answer to this. And although I don’t like regretting things that already happened, because I believe that everything happens for a reason, and will build up to something nice with time, but if I am to regret something, it would be studying pharmacy. I don’t like, and I don’t enjoy working as a pharmacist.
And apparently I’m not alone!!

Pie Chart about my stats

The previous chart shows the amount of traffic to that specific post, with respect to all other posts and to the home page. It’s visited at least twice more than the second most popular post on my blog.

Another interesting thing I have noticed is the search keywords referring to the post.
Let me just mention a few of them that were most repeated:

  •  I hate being a pharmacist (with several changes, like removal of the “I” or some spelling mistakes, or addition of the “WHY?” question at the beginning)
  •  Why I hate pharmacy
  •  Why I hate pharmacists
  •  Why I hate pharmacy pharmacists (lol)
  •  Hate my job as pharmacist
  •  Why I hate being in pharmacy (dude trust me, you’re doing…

If you want to continue reading this post, please do so on my new blog here (direct link to article)

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I have started writing on this blog a couple of months ago, and because of your support I decided to move to my own domain. I am now continuing to blog at http://somedayillbethere.com

Please continue your great job at supporting me on my new blog as well. It wouldn’t have been up if it wasn’t for you :)

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Life is Sometimes Easier than What We Think

This post is inspired by something that might not be much related to the title, but it is how I felt after two frustrating days. I am applying to a masters degree to study Public Health. And for some unknown reason (really unknown) I have only applied to universities in Sweden. Paid the application fees and had hard times at my home university in Alexandria, Egypt finishing paper work to send it in to university admissions in Sweden. Finally sent in the papers right on time before the deadline.

Alexandria University Administrative Building

Alexandria University Administrative Building

What did I miss? The English requirements documents. I have been told that, as an IGCSE graduate (International high school diploma) I do not need to sit for a TOEFL or IELTS exams, all I need to do is send my ESL (English as a Second Language) certificate from my high school and it counts as a proof of English proficiency (as it is certified by Cambridge University).

My bad, I haven’t asked the university admissions if this is correct or not and just took the word of my friends for granted. Just to receive a message from university admissions on February 27th saying I did not meet their English requirements and they regret to tell me that I have been rejected.

Disqualified

I quickly started panicking and getting depressed and frustrated (all at once). I have been day dreaming about getting accepted for so long! I quickly started checking when the nearest TOEFL or IELTS exam is, they are on March 9th and 7th; grades come out in two weeks; so my grades will reach …

To continue reading this post please go to my new website here

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If you like this blog, please follow me at my new blog http://somedayillbethere.com

And if you really like it please share it with your friends :D

 – Mina Mahrous

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Embracing a New Experience

So I have talked before about how my Pre-walking days were (How I went against the omens at the beginning, and getting to sleep at nowhere in Pamplona, and how I finally reached Saint Jean Pied de Port [SJPP], France, where I would start walking el Camino de Santiago)

And I have also mentioned how I met my friends on the Camino de Santiago, which was on the way I walked from Roncesvalles to Zubiri (2nd day of walking).

So I am now intending to fill in the blanks, with a short story about my first day of walking. From Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles: 27Km, includes crossing the Pyrenees, 1265m elevation followed by a steep 370m descending. Tiring? Yes!

Stepping out of SJPP

So that day I woke up to my alarm at 6.30 am, I slept really well, given

Please continue reading this post on my new website here: http://somedayillbethere.com/2012/03/embracing-a-new-experience/

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Also if you like my posts, please follow me on my new blog http://somedayillbethere.com and share them with your friends :D

Share my excitement about my new website :D

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I MOVED!!!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I AM HERE BY, PROUDLY (and very excitedly) ANNOUNE THAT:

I MOVED!

I have my website ready, it is not totally 100% ready but I am just too excited to wait anymore :D Please start visiting me there, share it with your friends, get me more readers because soon I will be holding my first blog contest with a very cool gift (under construction now, I’m sure you’ll love it).

http://somedayillbethere.com

Here you go :D

All feedback, comments and suggestions are highly appreciated.

Now you can start following me there. For the first couple of posts I will still post here and link them to my new website. And then I will stop using this blog. If you are following me on twitter or facebook, however, you will still get the updates from there. I will not change those pages J

Thank you all, share me the excitement and say hello on the new website :D

- Mina

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I’m Moving

Dear Readers,

Hope this post finds all of you good and safe.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. No I’m not quitting, not yet. The reason behing this delay is that I was moving, soon enough I’ll have my own domain, and when it happens I would like everyone to start showing me some love there :D

Until then, I will not post on here (gotta save the, well, good but no so amazing ideas/posts), but I will re-update you here when the website is done.

Sorry about any inconvinience and I’ll see you again soon on my new website :D

Excited,
 – Mina Mahrous

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Don’t Tell My Mother – Part III – Final Lies

In Part I of this story, the whole lie began, and I was “kind of” stuck in a city while again lying to my parents  and telling them I’m in a totally different cities so they wouldn’t freak out about safety. And I also started getting loads of phone calls from the Tourism Police, which starting to worry me because I didn’t want to get introuble there, without being able to even call my parents and tell them I’m in trouble (More and more trouble…get it?)

Mistake, Again!

So after loads of phone calls, and after the tour at the beautiful monastery of St. Catherine, at 11 we finally met Officer “Osama Amer”, first thing he asked for was my national ID, biggest mistake was that I gave it to him. He looked at it and put it in his pocket! Now I was stuck, can’t leave until ‘he lets me go’.

National ID Card

National ID Card

He started asking if Anna, the American Pilgrim/Tourist that was accompanying me, will leave today or tomorrow, when I said she will leave tomorrow, on foot, things got a little crazy! At first he didn’t understand, so I explained to him her pilgrimage and what she is doing and showed him her book where every night she gets a stamp or a couple of words from her host to prove she’s been to everywhere. That is when things started getting annoying to me. He started laughing, asking me if I’m sure she’s not lying, making fun of her pilgrimage, and making fun of me for believing her.

I won’t take BS!

All I had to do (and I thank God for giving me this idea) was stand up, pretend I was leaving (yes, without my ID card). He called me and I was like “If you’re talking to me to have a little laugh and make your soldiers laugh at me, then you’d better start calling the American embassy in Egypt and see how you plan to escort her to Taba, I’m out of this and I have nothing to do with it, and see if your sarcasm will do good with the embassy now”

“I didn’t mean to be sarcastic, Dr. Mina you’re like my son and I didn’t mean to be mean to you or anything. I repeat my apology.” And he started talking again that it is impossible for her to walk under any circumstances.

Now I hate myself for using the American embassy card, I actually hate the fact of discrimination between people according their place of birth, face it: it’s 100% luck. But if I hadn’t done this, to a character like that officer, things might have went a little out of hand. So I’m sorry for using this, because I know it will be annoying to many people, not just me.

I told him she doesn’t have money to take a bus or a taxi to Taba. He said I should drive her there, or she could stay at the monastery until there’s a tour bus going to Taba and he will make sure she’s on that bus with them. “But tomorrow is Sunday and the monastery is closed, so no tour busses tomorrow, so she’ll have to wait until Monday!”

Feeling a little bit defeated, even Anna told me in she gave up a while ago but was just going on to annoy him, because we can :) So we finally agreed that she’ll go to Taba by car, and that I will drive her there, now. (Thinking to myself, nice, now I need more excuses to be extra late on my way from “Dahab” back to Sharm).

Our escort to Taba. A real man!

View from my room in St. Catherine Monastery Guest House

View from my room in St. Catherine Monastery Guest House

And just as I thought this was over with the Tourism police, he starts to leave, I ask for my ID card, he says not now, because we can’t leave now. We’ll have to wait for another officer who will accompany us as a safety escort until Taba.

We waited for around 30 minutes for our escort to arrive. And no, he wasn’t a bodybuilding boxing wrestling championship that is totally armed as I thought a safety escort would look like. He was a brown, tall and really skinny guy in a grey suit, with no guns or armour or even anything to prove he works for the police. Except for the Egyptian Flag pin on the left side of his suit.

My car fell inlove with Blacksmiths

We Head towards Taba, and 30 minutes later, that loud voice i heard to the way to St. Katherine was there again. This time we weren’t infront of a city though, we were in the middle of nowhere. I kept going for a bit, looking from the corner of my eye atthe soldier that is with us, waiting for him to take action, make a phone call, makes sure we are not stuck in the “dangerous desert” that he came to protect us from. Nothing.

So after a while I find a gas station and ask them if they know anyone close to fix this. They told me there are close by hotels that have their own workshops, maybe theres a mechanic there. I went in there and as suspected, no mechanic. But another blacksmith. He told me he never worked on cars and I told him I know, but I guess the car is used to having blacksmiths work on it now, so it’s no problem, just do your best and make it go to Taba and back to Sharm el Sheikh and then I’ll find a real mechanic there.

45 minutes later the car was ready to go, doesn’t sound like a butterfly, more of an angry bee, but I had to get going so I just went.
As soon as I reached Taba, our escort told me he’ll leave us here by this check point. I told him I’m going back to all the way to Sharm if he wants to be dropped off anywhere but he said a police car will come pick him up in a while.

I kept going with the car until the road was over, with a sign that said “Taba Land Port”. That is when I stopped, said goodbye to Anna and watched her walk through the Port.

More lies?

And then headed on my way back. Hoping and praying that the car will not break again.

My parents? Yes ofcourse they called me “It is almost 3pm when are you planning to come back to Sharm?”
“I’ll start in a while, I’m just having lunch now and as soon as I;m done I’ll start going”

By the time I reached Nuweiba “I headed out of Dahab and the car broke again!! So I went back inside Dahab and I’m fixing it now, and very soon I’ll be on my way back”

Right before Dahab it was almost 5pm, so my dad called, a little mad for me wasting the whole day again, so I said “I’m midway between dahab and Sharm but the car’s sound is really loud and its not accelerating, so I’m taking it slow so it doesn’t break again!”

A: St Catherine, B:Nuweiba, C:Where the car broke, D:Taba, E:Where my dad called and I told him I'm mid-way :D, F:Sharm el Sheikh

I reached there by 5.40 pm, meaning I was going on a minimum of 115Km/Hr. I know I’m a bad kid, I didn’t mean to do all that but the thing is… (oh yes I;m going for a moral of the story) … it’s never just one small lie, it all started with me planning to not tell my dad that I’ll drive an extra 100Km, and I ended up lying, lying, and lying. Which is not something I’m very proud pf, but it happened already. And there was no chance of changing it after doing that first small lie for a good cause.

So moral of the story: Check your car before you go on a road trip. It could be a huge pain the ass!

Categories: Egypt, Sinai | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Tell my Mother – Part II – Mistakes and Pay Back Time

After having lied to my Father about where I was going, and being kind of forced to spend the night at St. Katherine monastery. I decided to not think about the troubles I could get into and just spend a happy night and head back to Sharm el Sheikh first thing in the morning.

But would the morning ever come with the tourism police up my ass for escorting an American citizen?

The Mistake…

Before entering the monastery there is a small Tourism Police/Info desk kiosk where they asked us to leave our contacts at their register, we did as asked, while Anna wasn’t asked for any details, I was asked to fill in how I know her, how long are we planning to Continue reading

Categories: Egypt, Sinai | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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