Published: March 30th 2008March 30th 2008
so now I've decided to take a couple of minutes and to go back in time - I've not yet said anything detailled about my last trip in Egypt, which was so great and so full of marvelous things... I don't know where to begin, really.
So let's just take the trip from its beginning - Cairo, stop for two complete days. I highly recommend anyone to visit this city on your own... As much as I loved my trip, I deeply regret not to have been able to discover more of Cairo by myself.
We only had two days there before flying out to Luxor (or Al Uqsur, in the arabic way) - and in these two days had to fit in the complete visit of the city, and Gizeh, Saqqarah and the Museum of Antiquities. Not much time for each excursion, was there?
I do not want to spend too much energy on Gizeh, because it's been written about a thousand of times already. Just one thing: it is absolutely not the same thing to see a picture and to stand in front of it, to see and touch the rocks
that have been used to build the pyramids...
I was deeply shocked at the amount of people and tourists there. It's just amazing when you get into the bus parking... Fortunately, the Gizeh plateau is huge, so you don't get the impression of it being crowded when you walk around. Another bad point: the numerous local people that want to take a picture of you or that propose you to ride their camel fo a while etc. My fiancé being Arabic himself (Moroccan in fact), it is a double-edged gift: you are less considered as a tourist, or should I say a huge bank note BUT it becomes all the more difficult to get rid of these people, because they start talking in arabic and so on.
Sometimes you really felt oppressed by these people, especially the young ones. They run after you during ten minutes, even if you tell them that you will buy nothing, and it hinders you to simply enjoy the sight... Anyway!
We did not go into any of the pyramids - in one hour time, you only have the time to walk around really, and to take at least a thousand of pictures... It
was just amazing, especially when you then take the bus again and go to the place where you have the best panoramic view. Amazing!!
Saqqarah was a very nice surprise - not as impressive as Gizeh, and as you do both in the same day, there's a moment when you just can't fill in anymore in your head! But we visited Saqqarah at the end of the day, with less tourists and a beautiful light on the "step pyramid"... Just so poetic!
Cairo and The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
Now about Cairo itself: we didn't see much, unfortunately. The "must see" was probably the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, just for Toutankhamun's treasure. It was really worth it - and a very special impression in the whole museum, especially at the end of the day, when the light becomes more gentle and intimate. There are pieces in every corner, statues everywhere, so much that you almost can't get through the corridors anymore.
They are currently building a second museum to get some of the stuff out, because it is just too much, and they still discover pieces nowadays.
That will probably take of its charm away, but I
can understand that people working there are just overcrowded with items to catalogate etc.
The citadelle and Khan el Khalili
We also visited a very famous citadelle- first time for me that I go into a mosque, and very impressed by the decorations and the space within. But the most advantage of this citadelle is that is located on a cliff . You have an amazing sight over the whole city of Cairo- an enormous, monstruous city, just different from Occidental cities by the sun and the numerous mosques that make up the landscape.
Finally, a word on Khan El khalili - unfortunately, I think we were let out in the most touristic souk that I had ever seen! When you know a bit the médinas in Morocco, you are just deceived by this very tourists-oriented site, without any traditional things to buy, only clothes and stupid souvenirs... But I'm quite dubious, as I always read very positive comments on this souk - perhaps we just didn't go to the part of Khan el Khalili?
I'll continue next time, with an overview of Al Uqsur and its surroundings...
There are more photos below