When we finished in Dubai we headed to Egypt. We started our trip in Cairo. We had very limited time in Cairo, just enough time to see the pyramids, sphinx and the Cairo Museum. That was ok with us! We arrived to Egypt, bought our visas at the booth and then collected our baggage, while we met our tour manager for this portion of our trip. Every city we were in during our stay in Egypt we had a tour manager and a driver and a tour guide. In Cairo, during our tour, we also had a security guy. We headed to our hotel for the night and were pleased the traffic wasn’t awful that first night, Cairo traffic is supposed to be terrible. We arrived at the Mena House, which is where everyone who is anyone has stayed. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed there. At one point Churchill and Roosevelt and General Chiang Kai-Shek stayed there for the Big Three conference during WWII. In the late 70′s the Mena House is where pre-Camp David talks between President Sadat, President Carter and Prime Minister Began started. Pretty cool history. Besides which check out the view from our room:
So cool! Not cool was the start of realizing that internet was only available in the lobby… which was common for our time in Egypt, oh, how Dubai spoiled us!
The next morning we woke up early and headed out to the pyramids. There are 9 in the area, the largest one for Pharaoh Khufu, the next larger ones for his son and grandson, and then smaller ones for the wives and mothers. We didn’t go inside any pyramids here, they told us that it wouldn’t be interesting, especially as we were going to Valley of the Kings the next day and the art was better preserved in that location. So we just explored outside for a while. Having a tour guide means a lot more family pictures than usual!
After exploring here for a little while and climbing up a ways, we headed out to where we could view all the pyramids together. We also took a carriage ride out to where the driver took the pictures of us holding the pyramids, and Jeff in the scarf… fabulous!
We headed to see the Sphinx next. Super cool!
After this stop over we were off to a “certified store” which was so reminiscent of China it made Jeff and I laugh. Our trip to Beijing was littered with stops to the Jade factory, Silk factory, etc, with sales pitches afterwards to convince you to buy. It was very similar in Egypt. We at various times visited a Bazaar, Papyrus Store and Alabaster factory… Poor Egypt is losing so much money from lack of tourists that every person who we saw brought up what a great deal we were getting… and really it was pretty dang empty everywhere we went, especially Cairo. Luxor seemed to have a little better attendance, and Petra was, in comparison, overwhelmed by visitors.
After stopping at the certified bazaar, we had a traditional Egyptian lunch. Kabob style meat, pita like bread, rice with cinnamon and golden raisins. It was delicious and the girls ate up every last bit of meat on their plates, always nice!
Our last scheduled stop for the day was the Cairo National Museum. Inside there was a King Tut exhibit and mummies, artifacts and more. The main thing that was missing was the mummy of King Tut, which is actually located in his original tomb in Valley of the Kings. No pictures allowed inside, it felt kind of like a museum storage area, the name cards were tiny, and there was so much stuff just piled up around the rooms that you couldn’t possibly have seen everything, even without 3 small children hanging onto you. Another interesting thing about the Museum. We couldn’t be dropped off outside the gate, we had to walk down a street for a ways before getting inside the museum grounds. As we were walking to the gate we passed so many tanks (all armed and manned, there must have been at least 50 of them) and armored vans. The vans were covered in bullet proof materials and barbed wire… there were many “riot” looking items hanging out as well, it was a reminder that Cairo is just not super safe right now… though really, we never felt it out near Giza… Cairo made me a little nervous, there are just so MANY people!
We ended the night in the hotel lobby and the girls enjoyed their favorite drink from the trip, Hibiscus juice.
Sophie even snuck a sip from Violet’s cup! Cairo was AMAZING, but we barely had time to let it all sink in when we were off to Luxor… coming soon to a blog near you!