Things to do in Cairo, Egypt

Things to do in Cairo, Egypt

No, no I din take any of your son’s photos. Nooooo plz, don’t mummify me. plzzzzzzzz. {Adrelaine release and jolted awake} Uff that must be Tatunkhamun’s mother bothering me in dreams for those snaps. Which ones if asked then there is a story to be read.

After NYC, LA, Miami, and swanning CHI-Town, it’s time for three musketeers to go international and its Musk-3 turn to choose and childhood dream flashed – The Great Pyramids. Of course, it’s a dream for all of us anyways from the day Aishwarya Rai danced for Poovullo Dagunna in Jeans and the day is not far away to reenact.

The Arrival

By the time we planned our 3-day trip, bought tickets, and obtained a visa (which is a fairly very easy process) we heard two terror attacks in and around Cairo but our enthusiasm to visit Pyramids is above everything. The day has arrived and on ✈️ to Munich. It’s a great airport but I cannot visit even Audi Museum in other terminals even with 5 hr layover as visa restricts, so decided to admire airport haulers.

3-hour flight to Cairo and there we landed. Africa, it is!!!! Yay! Received by Rico from Memphis Tours and we were thru crowded 10 pm streets and highways of Cairo to reach Fairmont Nile City. Can’t wait to kick start the trip.

Day-1

Sabah alkhyr.  I tried to wish Owasis, our Chauffeur looking at my Google Translate who smiled uncomfortably, and then it’s on. Soon we met Mahmood our guide and we are on our way to the dream come true moment. Driving in fog, we observed houses in old Cairo built with red bricks and no paint. Mostly all of them. Crowded bus stations, heavy morning traffic, vendors to cattle on street are common in most of the countries and are no different here. A sharp turn and Le Meridien is on left and across the road is a glimpse of pyramid peak covered in fog. Mahmood informed us it’s too much fog to visit pyramids, so we have to make the Memphis museum our first spot.

Half an hour drive in WiFi-enabled vehicle thru busy roads and we spotted donkey transport, lot of cauliflowers, green fields, and a canal all the way. Oh, ya woman with their gallebaya and Tommy Holliger showroom.

Memphis Museum

Tickets are arranged in advance by tours, no waiting in line, and straight ahead to the entrance. It is a small place of exhibits mostly with Rameses II’s. Mahmood explained, Memphis is destroyed by the ferocious Nile river, and sadly so much heritage is lost. Still, we are lucky to witness part of the huge Pharaoh(~King) Ramses II statue made of Alabaster and relish a small Sphinx before you experience the biggest one.

Memphis Museum, Cairo
Day 1: Memphis:: Destroyed Ramses II Statue

There is another standing Ramses II statue outside and few things to notice in most of the statues left leg in marching forward position symbol of next life, stiff hand, and fake beard.

Memphis Town, Cairo
Day 1:: Memphis Town

Lastly, the mummy bed is made of alabaster. Pretty much done with the museum. Starter pack. Next, we visited Sakkara Carpet School. Impressive work creating fabulous silk carpets and it’s 3 months of human work to create a large size one. So we understood they are super costly.

Saqqara Pyramid, Cairo
Day 1:: Saqqara Pyramid

Saqqara Pyramid

We proceeded to the first pyramid ever built – Saqqara for King Djoser. Stepping onto the Sahara desert and sand gave a foremost feel. First desert to step into and the impression that they will be all hot changed immediately with freezing wind. Observed old art along walls surrounded pyramid and those colors witnessed at least three sousand years of life. Yes, it’s a ‘s’ousand, ‘s’eatre (theatre) here in Cairo as I hear from most of the people. ‘Th’ is out of the dictionary. Back to the story plz. I hear you. Saqqara pyramid did impress us with different layers and it’s definitely a delight to watch such humongous architecture and we couldn’t wait anymore to watch the huge humongous.

Art in Sahara Desert
Day 1:: Sahara Desert – Beautiful art on walls

The moment we have been waiting for

Half hour drive back and we are driving in well-paved roads thru the desert and there it is another close sight of the pyramid. It’s few steps from the parking spot and not much walk in the sand, we will stand in front of the largest pyramid ever built on earth. It is one of the seven wonders for a reason. People standing on the first few steps look so small and we couldn’t help but awe the greatest standing ancient monuments and only existing oldest wonders until Mahmood brought us to senses explaining the history which he proclaimed that did the same to 3326 visitors till date. Don’t ask me if I haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire.

After the quick history, we stepped on the pyramid and went to the opening from which the pyramid is completely robbed, so there is nothing left inside. Then we walked towards the other side of Khufu Pyramid when we spotted the second largest pyramid of Khafre and very soon the last and smallest Pyramid of Menkaure. It is one of the best moments to walk thru these pyramids wondering how at least 20 to 30,000 people worked for decades to build these tombs for their Pharaohs. They sure have great talent and workmanship.

We were striving hard to capture those filmy style snaps which we were seeing from childhood and then we learned that there is a panoramic viewpoint to capture those shots and we reached there in no time and were awestruck appreciating the great monuments. Of course 243 snaps along with amazing rides of camel and horse right in Sahara.

Me with The Great Pyramids.
Day 1:: The Great Pyramids Panoramic View

But still, the picture is incomplete, and soon realized it’s The Great Sphinx. 5-minute drive and we were on the greatest viewpoint every person dreams of. It is worth now after all 15 hr flight and 83°F hot sun. It is a view to experience once in a lifetime. Still wonder how difficult it could be carving such a huge Sphinx out of a single rock.

The Great Pyramids with Sphinx, the beautiful panoramic view
Day 1:: The Great Pyramids with Sphinx

After 154 more pics, we felt hungry and it’s Kabab wa kofta and Shawerma. Grilled food is tasty. Surprised to see Pizza Hut next door to the pyramids. Such close are deserts occupied. Post lunch we were taken to another tour benefitted shop.

Souvenir from Cairo
Day 1:: Papyrus Souvenir Shop

This time it is art from Papyrus and it is extraordinary. Loved the way they create designs on paper that are so rugged yet completely natural. The best thing is two designs in a single piece one for light and the other for the night. Ended up spending some bucks but there is always a good deal only when you try to walk out after an endless bargain. Musk-1 got the talent.

Another visit to Pyramids?

Then driving away from the pyramids is so tough that we couldn’t stand. So why not visit again and this time in style – 250cc quad bike ride around Pyramids watching sun drifting to sleep. 2 hours enormous fun steering thru sand slopes and dunes spotting the best views of pyramids. Visuals here. Finally, we are so tired that we couldn’t wait to rest. End of Day-1.

Day-2

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Mahmood and Owasis are ready to pick up when we are still trying great items in the breakfast buffet of Fairmont Nile which includes natural honey straight from the colony, Koshari, Eggah, Ful, and sweets – Halwa and Kanafah. Mahmood explained the schedule on the ride and soon we reached The Egyptian Museum.

The only place where we experience stored mummies( of humans and animals) and the great treasure inside the pyramid of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, the only intact tomb ever found.

We can never imagine what could be the treasure in The Great Pyramids after witnessing the quality and quantity saved in King Tut’s tomb. Museum has various Sphinx, statues of various Pharaohs with the forward leg and fake beards, Oruglaphus script on Rosita stone, King Tut’s play games, bed, kid chair, various size of gold boxes to store all of the above items, mummies of Alligator, horse, bull and various kings and queens. Everything. Worth a visit.

The Hanging Church, Cairo
Day 2:: The Hanging Church, Coptic Cairo

The Hanging Church

Our next stop at Hanging Church oldest church in Egypt and named so as it was built over Roman fortress in Coptic(Old) Cairo. Later, we walked on tiny vintage streets of Coptic Cairo to reach few other churches including the Jewish Orthodox Church which has Islamic-style artwork, and Abu Serga where the infant Jesus rested at the end of their journey into Egypt.  History lovers will have a feast. Speaking of which, it’s our lunchtime to enjoy more sweets.

The Great Mosque in Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
Day 2:: Mosque in Citadel

Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Visiting Cairo is never complete without the Mosque of Muhammad Ali in Citadel. It is such a pretty mosque and so much art within to explore. Hats off to ancient people for creating super architecture wonders and unexplained genius to accomplish such large sculptures completely manual labor.

Another store for souvenirs. This time to get a Cartouche, a hieroglyphic collection. Write more hieroglyphs.

Egyptian Hieroglyphics Alphabets
Egyptian Hieroglyphics Alphabets

Another Souvenir Store, thanks to Tour Agency

Then visited a perfume store after all the best perfumes of the ancient world came from Egypt and they sure are amazing. The mesmerizing aroma from just a single drop of them. Can’t resist spending some bucks now and seems no bargaining too. Why not experience some real bargain fun. We are off to Khan el-Khalili market. Perfect place for souvenirs. The place is filled with locals who love to talk, explain stuff, and of course sell things for great margin unless bargained. We brought sweets to take home and they did taste really good.

Cairo Tower

Our next stop is Cairo tower in Gezira island. It’s a pleasant sight to watch the city’s top view. Football fields, the Nile river, Tall Hotels along, Feluccas and a lot of traffic. A lot. Oh, a lovely sunset, and is that the ship we are cruising for dinner. Nile Maxim is a great cruise. Food is ok but the belly dancer and Spin Man made it look great.  Oh, that’s a long day and so much done. When back in the hotel and passing thru the attached Nile City Mall, encountered ‘Fein Kalbi’ fame Yousra Al Lawzi promoting her new film. Someone here to wish good night dreams.

View from Cairo Tower
Day 2:: Cairo Tower

Day-3 : Its nothing but fog

About the third day, all there is well let’s just put it this way. Beware of fog when traveling away from Cairo in the desert. There might be a lot of fog and the military might stop traffic for hours. The best part – Hibiscus tea on the highway. One of the best ones to try. God, there is a lot of Cairo and around to explore but there is a job waiting overseas.

The Departure

Time to go back. 12-hour sleep and just can’t wait to bring back my tastebuds but now there is a secondary immigration inspection. Why not, at least returning from Egypt where there are three terror attacks in the past 90 days one amid our vacation. Just a detailed travel plan, complete cooperation, and a cool officer will make this too very smooth and one will be out within an hour or two. One hour drive to Bawarchi Biryani to order favorite Keema Biryani and guess what Katrina Kaif dancing for Teri Ore, and my heart started dancing too ‘we have been there all this while uh ah ah ft. Rihanna’ Watta feeling.

The Conclusion

First and most important, watch for terror notice before traveling. Secondly, recommended traveling thru agents in countries like Egypt when you wanna save a lot of time but sure exploring yourself is the best thing. Then not all souvenirs are worth the time and of course money. Never spending on all tempting ones again. Lastly never take snaps of the mummy. Yes not like this 😛

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Alnnihaya
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