Scotsabroad's Weblog

January 1, 2009

Anafora

Filed under: Cairo — scotsabroad @ 6:21 pm

sheep

Happy New Year to you all. We spent Hogmanay at a Coptic farm retreat called Anafora on the road to Alexandria. Our friends took us there with their wee girl. Anafora offers food and lodging to anyone and our friends go there on a regular basis. It is a beautiful farm which is just immediately off the very busy road but the traffic can barely be heard. The retreat is a working farm and much of the food provided is produced on site (thus the boys hardly ate a thing!). Our accommodation was not 5 star luxury but it was very clean and charming. Central heating should be considered for future pilgrims. It was cold. The beds had mosquito nets and numerous candles provided light after dark – they switched the generator off, we think. We sat on the floor at night on recycled mats, reading our books and drinking red wine. We were all asleep as the year changed.

 The day before we drove to Wadi Natrun (a natural depression with its own underground source of water) and visited one of the four monasteries in the depression. We were given a guided tour by one of the Coptic monks. He explained the significance of the Coptic cross.

It took a while for the boys to warm to the farm. The bonfire last night helped as did the toasting of marshmallows on long sticks. We walked around the farm meeting lots of animals, a rather marvellous scarecrow and identifying the produce grown. The boys loved jumping off the haystack and playing with sticks. This morning we visited the church which is simple but brilliantly done.  The floor is covered with recycled mats and an eye-shaped window in the ceiling gives light and a unique feel. Some of the mats from last night’s mass (which we didn’t attend) were airing outside.

It wasn’t a religious experience for us but it was a very different way to spend New Year’s Eve.  We would go back I think – but armed with quilts, food the kids would eat and a strong reading light.

church-mats

Anafora’s guest book is fun. The children got to paint on the walls below the stairwell. The farm was a great escape from the city and very, very peaceful.

buffalo2scarecrowover-the-wallmonks-only

coptic-crossmonasteryorangesvisitors-book

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1 Comment »

  1. Happy New Year Davidsons! Gosh what a lovely relaxing break you all seem to have had at new year (and also with mum and dad’s visit too in Dec). A lovely way for you all to start 2009. Luv Shari x

    Comment by shari — January 8, 2009 @ 12:54 pm | Reply


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