Who needs textbooks when you can take a field trip through history?
When we heard that Etmat7af was giving a guided tour through Abdeen Palace, we were elated; when we realised it was a guided tour through Abdeen Palace Museum, we kicked ourselves for having woken up at 8 AM on a Saturday. Waking up at 8 AM to go to a museum is beyond us; it just doesn't make sense. Aside from the fact that we're not the biggest history buffs, it's the idea of being up so early only to be stuck inside a cold, dark, stuffy building à la Cameron Frye's house in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. We'd rather galavant around in the streets any day, meeting people and discovering culture and soaking in some sun. But khalas, we were already there, so we might as well just go along with it.
Walking through the gorgeous gates, we were met with a world that transported us over to California's Huntington Library, with gorgeous greenery and beautiful architecture. Starting off with a cup of tea on a breezy and sunny Saturday morning, seated at the terrace on the museum grounds, we sat in silence taking in the beauty of the museum grounds. This couldn't be a museum. It just couldn't. This is where royalty sat – dresses and suits and fancy hats all prim and proper – sipping tea and having conversations that ooze elegance. It really couldn't be a museum.
That's when we learned from the Etmat7af people that the Abdeen Palace Museum was once part of the palace itself, later becoming a museum that was closed shortly after the January 25th revolution and reopened just last year. That explains why it had much more of an extravagant yet homey feel; it wasn't necessarily a museum as much as it was part of the palace. So one room after the next, we found ourselves transported to another world, imagining the exchanges between royalty on one terrace and ladies sipping tea inside the grand pillars of the tea kiosk. Isn't the Abdeen Palace Museum a beaut?