Hello Cairo! Over the weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the capital of Egypt. We were excited to finally explore one of the ancient Wonders of the World.
Flying into to Cairo International we were excited to spot the famous Pyramids of Giza from our window seat. For anyone traveling to Cairo, there is a visa upon arrival off to the side at one of the currency exchanges that you need to get before going through immigration. The cost for the visa upon arrival is 25 USD. There is a cash machine that is easy for withdrawals although watch out.. the cash machine did eat our credit card! When we were finished with immigration, we were met by our guide from Cairo Overnight. The tour company provides a driver and a guide to assist on having a safe and unforgettable experience in the beautiful city of Cairo.
The first thing on our agenda was of course the famous Pyramids of Giza. Our guide gave us a 7 minute history of the pyramids and then gave us time to explore the area on our own but was readily available to answer questions. We opted to take a 30 minute camel ride to the western side of the pyramids for prime photos.
Young boys-known ingeniously as camel boys- are basically professional photographers and are happy to take as many photos to get the perfect photos… as you can see below.
The final part of the pyramid tour was getting some one on one time with the famous sphinx.
Here there is the ability to go down inside the pyramid to see a tomb, unlike the pyramids at Giza. The Mummy is located in the Egyptian Museum but you are allowed to climb inside to take a picture.
The walk down inside is a steep incline with fake steps, I wouldn’t recommend people who are claustrophobic or unstable to opt out of going inside the pyramid.
We took a midday break outside of Saqqara to eat at a local restaurant. Pictured below is a local lady making Aish Baladi, the flat bread of Egypt. Eating it directly out of the oven is a warm delight! We drank local Egypt wine and were spoiled for choice with chicken, lamb, and beef kebabs served with an array of condiments.
Our tour ended in Memphis were the statue of Ramses II is kept. There a multitude of other statues scattered around the premises that our guide allowed us to examine.
I captured the above shot on our way back to central Cairo. It appears that the revolution has taken its toll on the general living conditions of the Egyptian people. For the night we booked a Felucca ride on the Nile. This cost 100 Egyptian pounds for one hour or roughly 11 USD.
It was the perfect ending to our busy day as the Felucca provides a tranquil platform in comparison to the vibrant streets of Cairo.
The second day started off with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. The Museum is located in Tahrir Square the place were the 2011 revolution took place. There appeared to be no damages done to the museum building itself. The most surprising thing about the museum is the amount of artefacts stored throughout the building and the outside grounds.
Our guide gave us ample free time to explore the museum. He told us that the Egyptian Museum houses over 120,000 items and it would take us over 8 months if we looked at each piece.
The only negative thing I’d say about the Egyptian Museum is that you really do need a tour guide for the place since it’s not well placarded with information. Only large pieces have display cases with information on the artefact. Even with the lack of information the museum was well attended and has an impressive amount of artefacts to please the curious minds of ancient Egypt.
Our tour guide took us next to the Hanging Church. It is one of the first Coptic or Christian churches in Egypt and has stood as a foundation for the Coptic population in Egypt.
The decor is a mixture of Middle Eastern and Christian art work with inscriptions in Arabic. Outside the church is a large cemetery that houses a large amount of Greek orthodox graves and a cave that supposedly the holy family drank out of.
We went to Islamic Egypt where the Citadel is located. The Citadel provides a perfect panoramic view of Cairo and the Pyramids in the distance.
The Citadel itself was a breathtaking structure. It was built in the medieval times and gave me the impression of a gothic church vs. a mosque. For ladies visiting, there are abayas to rent to enter the mosque or you need to dress conservatively with a scarf to cover your hair. We ended our tour at Khan el-Khalili, the largest bazaar in Cairo. Before we tackled the winding alleyways, we ate a traditional dish called Kushari. It is a mixture of it pasta and tomato sauce, rice, lentils, caramelized onions, and chickpeas. There is the option to pour garlic sauce and chili sauce overtop of it.
We spent most of the afternoon smoking sheesha at El Fishawy.
This coffee shop has been serving patrons for the past 200 years. The ambience whisk you back a few centuries and creates an inviting place to sit and converse over a warm cup of mint tea.
The best part of walking the streets of Egypt is the amount of people who would walk up and ask for photos. My tour guide always referred to me as the queen and the people of Cairo made me feel like one. The last moments spent walking in Cairo didn’t disappoint as the people are friendly and welcoming.
Thank you Cairo for a wonderful time and for memories that will last a lifetime!!