Weblog van Moose - de eclectische eland

Weblog van Moose - de eclectische eland

Cairo and the treasures of Tutanchamoose

TravelPosted by Moose 2009-06-17 15:47

If you're going to Egypt, you might as well go see the Pyramids. However, this meant we had to take a seven hour bus ride from Sharm el Sheikh to Cairo. The bus drove at night (we left at 1 am), so we would have all day in the city. We started at the citadel with a visit to the Muhamed Ali mosque, where our fuhrer, I mean guide, explained everything about the Islam. According to him we knew nothing about this religion, because the media gave a distorted view. We couldn't disagree more, but didn't feel like going into a discussion, especially since our German was as bad as his English.

When he was done with his rant, we had about five seconds to look at the mosque itself and the view over the city and then we continued our journey to the old market. Because there had been attacks on tourists there earlies this year we were escorted by a bodyguard, equiped with a Kalashnikov, so that made us feel really safe... We had to follow a certain route and most of the shops weren't even open yet, so it was a little disappointing. Not that I reaaly felt like shopping and haggling over low prices of cheap stuff anyways.

We had lunch on a boat on the Nile. It was a buffet with a wide array of terrible food. Already half of our group (which consisted of only five people) was feeling sick and soon the others lost their appetite as well. The rest of the afternoon we spent at the Egyptian Museum. Here our guide really wanted to prove that he was a scholared archeologists and gave us a grand tour. We were lucky to escape into the Tutanchamon room for a while, where guides weren't allowed. After some free time at the museum, we went to the hotel to get some rest. We stayed at the Movenpick Resort near Giza and from the Roof Café we had a nice view of the great pyrimads (and a very busy street). The dinner buffet at the hotel was as bad as the lunch however. Cairo is a great city, just don't eat there.

Breakfast was alright though, although not as good as at our 'own' hotel in Sharm el Sheikh. The bus was fifteen minutes late, apparantly the bus driver and guide got lost on a new 'digital' roundabout, and they made up lost time by removing a visit to the new market from the program. Again, I'm not the shopping kind of person, but they could have at least consulted us. There were still a lot of other things to do though. We started at the Great Pyramids, where we wandered around and got sucked in by some sham who wanted to take our picture for free and then lured us onto his camels and started begging for money. Oh well, at least the pictures were nice. Then we went into one of the smaller pyramids, which was very hot and empty. We didn't go in any of the big ones, because we had to pay extra and our guide assured us we went to a much nicer one later today for free.

And indeed in the afternoon we went to the pyramid of Titi, which from the outside looked like a big pile of rubble, but on the inside was nicely preserved. I bumped my head on the way out, but despite having to walk in the blistering sun I survived. We also went into some other kind of tomb, where the guide started to explain the meaning of every single kind of hieroglyphic. So besided history, geography, German, politics and religion we also learned a 'new' language. And it was supposed to be a holiday trip. Between the visits to the different pyramids (and Sphinx), we went to Memphis (obviously not the city where Elvis is from) and looked at some statues and other remnants from ancient times. We had lunch alongside one of the dirty canals that transport water from the Nile to the other regions of Cairo. It was a bit bitter than the day before, but most of us were still feeling rotten so weren't very hungry. After being stuck in traffic for a while, we then got on the road back to Sharm el Sheikh were we arrived around 10 pm.

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