Experiencing Egypt, Spain And Morocco With Paulo Coelho-The Alchemist

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The Story of Santiago of Spain

The Author believes that Santaigo must have witnessed such breathtaking views while rearing his sheeps.
Picture credits@ Amir Riazipour

The Alchemist is a fable by Paulo Coelho about a young shepherd boy Santiago who discovers a treasure beyond his deepest desires and thoughts of self-doubt. 

Throughout this story, the author employs magical realism to depict Santiago’s physical and spiritual journey. As Santiago starts to listen to his heart and discovers that his dreams belong to him and the cosmos.

Santiago, who lives in Andalusia, Spain, is a simple shepherd who wants nothing more than to walk with his sheep, drink wine, and read a lovely book. 

Then, however, fate meddles in the shape of a reoccurring fantasy about a tremendous fortune buried at the base of the Egyptian Pyramids.

Aerial view of the present day town of Andalusia
Picture credits@ Jorge Frenandez

Encounter with Melchizedek and Adventures in Morocco

Santiago encounters Melchizedek, a mysterious wise man and king from a distant kingdom. Melchizedek appears to persons in search of their Personal Legend or greatest life-long desire. This desire stems from the World’s Soul, which works together to help everyone achieve their deepest desires.

Regrettably, apprehension and regularity frequently get in the way. Santiago soon chooses to sell his flock and leave in search of his treasure.

Melchizedek bestows upon Santiago two stones: a black stone named Urim, which means “yes,” and a white stone called Thummim, which means “no.” If Santiago is unable to interpret the omens, he is to consult these. Thus, he sails to Africa in search of his wealth and “Personal Legend.”

Santiago gets robbed and abandoned on his first day in Tangiers, Morocco. Santiago considers abandoning up and moving around because he is unable to speak a single Arabic word. Nevertheless, Santiago thinks of the wise man’s advice and continues. 

The glimmering city of Tangiers in night
Picture credits@ Raul Cacho Oses

After some time, he comes to find work for a year at a crystal shop, where he earns enough funds to purchase a new herd of sheep and head home. But, instead, he accompanies a caravan that crosses the desert to Egypt, bringing him closer to his ambition.

On the caravan, Santiago encounters an Englishman who has travelled to Africa searching for a renowned alchemist. His new flight companion is carrying two stones similar to Santiago’s and believes the two of them are met by serendipity.

Santiago compares the Englishman’s views to Melchizedek’s, that they both talk of a World Soul to something that we’re linked. The Englishman also explains that the “Master Work” of alchemy is a liquid called the Elixir of Life and a solid termed the Philosopher’s Stone.

Santiago and Fatima

Once they reach the Al-Fayoum oasis, the abode of the renowned Alchemist, Santiago encounters a lovely girl named Fatima, with whom he falls in love right away. But, like the Personal Legend, he quickly realizes that love emanates straight again from Soul of the World.

Homes in the dunes surrounding an oasis
picture credits@ Mhmd Sedky

Santiago had a vision of an impending battle while strolling in the desert. He hurries back to the oasis to warn the elders. The next day, as Santiago said, 500 armed tribesmen enter the oasis. After being warned, the people murder all of the invaders.

The ruler of the oasis bestows upon Santiago 50 gold pieces and wants to offer him a place as a counsellor. Instead of exploring the Pyramids, Santiago considers staying at the oasis with his new girlfriend, Fatima.

Fatima, on the other hand, informs Santiago that she appreciates his desire to achieve his goal. She emphasizes that the desert women are glad of their men’s autonomy. This perplexes Santiago, who has yet to distinguish between love and possession.

The entery of Alchemist

The enchanting nights of a desert landscape
Picture credits@ Tomas Malik

The Alchemist locates Santiago and informs him that he will guide him to his wealth. While Santiago is on the move, the Alchemist instructs him that hearts can be deceptive. Still, the only way to keep them from deceiving you is to listen to them closely.

One must listen to the Soul of the World to uncover one’s treasure. Everything on the planet, including minerals, has a Personal Legend. This is why alchemists can turn any metal into gold: they only assist the metal in attaining its Personal Legend.

When the two travellers are kidnapped by a fighting tribe, the Alchemist claims that Santiago is a magician who can transform himself into the wind to rescue their lives. Santiago has really no clue what he’s doing, but he soon begins to pray, acknowledging that his heart and the Soul of the World are one and the same.

Finally, the wind picks up, and Santiago vanishes and emerges on the other side of the camp. The tribal chiefs are so taken with the travellers that they let them go.

Twist with Fate

His intuition urges him to dig near where he spots a scarab beetle. As he begins excavating, robbers assault him and steal all of his money. When Santiago attempts to describe what he’s on about, one of the men calls him stupid.

The robber tells Santiago that he, too, had a similar dream about the same riches, except it was in Spain. He, on the other hand, was not stupid enough to go running after it. After the robbers have left, Santiago stands up, overjoyed, realizing that the treasure has been in Spain the entire time.

Later in Andalusia, Santiago excavates a pit at the roots of the sycamore tree where he initially dreamed of riches. Instead, he discovers a gold-filled trunk. Santiago realizes that the treasure had always been at home, much like the Alchemist secrets, which are straightforward.

Santiago returns to Fatima, validating the Alchemist’s prophecy. He could complete his Personal Legend and meet his true love in the end.

The scenic sand dunes that Santiago must have come acrossed.
Picture Credits@ Heather Shevlin

Experiences Egypt, Spain and Moroccon Culture through th

The voyage takes Santiago from Andalusia’s countryside through Spain’s southernmost city of Tarifa, across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco, and through the Sahara Desert to Faiyum. His ultimate target desire is to see the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
Picture Credits@ Fynn Schmidt

Andalusia is considered by many to be the heart of Spanish nationality. The region gave birth to many of the architectural characteristics associated with the country and flamenco dancing and bullfighting.

Santiago’s house lies in the countryside of Tarifa, which was erected during Spain’s Muslim conquest. Southern Spain, usually known as Andalucia, is still heavily influenced by this period. Outside of the towns, life in Andalucia is much like Santiago describes it: pastoral, with people more focused on the monotony of day-to-day living rather than any spectacular adventure.

Andalusia in Spain.
Picture Credits@ Urlaubstracker

Tangier is a bustling city with many booths selling a variety of goods despite its narrow streets. There is also a plaza where the market is open. The quotation above describes the market’s frantic pace. Thousands of people are in the market, arguing, buying and selling various products ranging from veggies to daggers, carpets to tobacco. Tangier’s market appears to have everything a guy requires in his life.

Ancient Egypt can be compared as an oasis in the desert of northeastern Africa. It has a rich history and culture that dates back thousands of years, beginning with the Pharaonic civilization and progressing through Christianity and Islam. Egypt is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Many other cultures and ethnic groups who lived in or invaded the country-influenced its culture, resulting in a melting pot.

Concluding Remarks

Santiago’s trip over far, unknown regions brought him to achieve his dream, and his story allows others to recognize their own. Whether you’re reading “The Alchemist” for the first or tenth time, it’s easy to envision yourself strolling beside the youngster as he explores his environment.

So why not dare to dream? With this destination guide as a starting point and the omens to guide the way?

After all, the book demonstrates that people can do whatever they dream of at any stage in their life. 

There is no better moment than the present. So who is stopping you? It’s time to take the leap of faith.

(Read more about Paulo Coelho here)

By- Jaya Singh

Egypt is not all about Pyramid.

The term Jaya and coffee have become synonymous nowadays. Besides being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of coffee, Jaya is a voracious reader and law student who engages in firey discussions.
She is the junior editor at The International Prism and believes in the idea of not fitting into something; instead believes in breaking norms and making a mark for herself.

The author can be reached at- jayasingh@theinternationalprism.com

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