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October 8th 2016
Published: June 11th 2017
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Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

- Mark Twain

We are back in Cairo! (Back at the Novotel). Susan asked for a room at the back to avoid the noisy party boats tonight, as we will have yet another early start tomorrow. We were up this morning shortly after 3 am to be ready for the drive to the airport at 4 am. We got breakfast boxes from the hotel, and headed off. The flight from Aswan to Cairo was about 1 hr 15 min, and it was a pleasant flight.

We got picked up by the mini van and headed first to the Ibn Tulun Mosque (completed in 879 CE). It is unlike mosques we've visited in Turkey (no large domed roof), nor the Muhammad Ali mosque we saw in Cairo a little over a week ago (which was an Ottoman design). This mosque was much more open, and had a vast courtyard and a long covered area for prayer. It is Cairo's oldest functioning mosque. We climbed the spiral minaret (I didn't quite go all the way up to the top, because I found the last spiral staircase section activated my fear of heights, but I did go pretty high). Susan went right to the top. There was a great view from the top (or almost top!). Amr gave us a short talk on Islam and we had the opportunity to ask questions. I welcomed the opportunity to learn a little more about Islam.

We then went to the Gayer-Anderson museum, which is right next to the mosque. This quirky museum takes its name from Major John Gayer-Anderson, a British major and army doctor who restored two adjoining 16th and 17th C houses between 1935-1942. The houses are quite beautiful, and are filled with antiquities and artwork. The different rooms have different themes (Damascus Room, Turkish Room, Celebration Room, two libraries, etc). No photos were allowed unless you purchased a special ticket, which we didn't get, so I don't have any photos. It was once again nice to simply admire the museum without being concerned with taking photos.

It was quite hot in the museum, because most of
Annie and AmrAnnie and AmrAnnie and Amr

At the Ibn Tulun Mosque
the windows were shut (we were the only tourists in the museum), but if the windows had been opened I think it would have been quite pleasant.

After the museum we headed to the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, which was built in the 14th C. It kind of reminded me of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and had the same sort of salesmen trying to get you to come to their stall to look at their goods. While we walked around as a group we were accompanied by a undercover police officer. We walked around a bit, then had a delicious Arabic coffee at a coffee shop. We picked up a few t-shirts and trinkets, but the bargaining gets tiresome really quickly so we didn't do much shopping.

After the bazaar we headed to a local family's apartment for lunch. The husband (Walid) works for Intrepid Travel. His wife (Mai) made us a really delicious lunch: chicken, stuffed vegetable marrow, okra tagine served over rice with vermicelli, cucumber and tomato salad, tahini, and choice of karkeday or fresh guava juice (I had both). The food was a bit spicy and extremely tasty. Susan got Mai to explain how she
Ibn Tulun MosqueIbn Tulun MosqueIbn Tulun Mosque

This is a balcony area where four people would stand to call out what the imam was saying, so all the people could hear in the mosque.
made the okra tagine, so hopefully she can recreate it at home! Walid and Mai have extremely cute 4 year old twin girls.

We then checked back into the Novotel and had some time to relax in the room. I realized my blog from yesterday only had 3 photos attached for some reason, instead of the 49 I had painstakingly added, (and waited ages and ages for them to upload to the blog on the super slow internet at our hotel) so I synced the blog again and I think the photos are now included. Susan and I shared a cold beer in the room (we had several cans left over - from the ones we bought in Luxor).

We had a group meeting to discuss the trip, then had dinner together at a restaurant about a 15 min walk away. I had lentil soup and a fatoosh salad (this particular version wasn't nearly as good as Susan's, but the soup and arabic bread were good), and a guava juice. I had guava juice on the plane, so that was my third one today! We said good bye to those group members who are not continuing on to Jordan with us (Lorraine and Malcolm from New Zealand, Annie from Australia, George from Australia, and Leoni from Australia). Louise and Andy from Australia, Christine from Australia, Jill from Australia, Susan, Dominica and I are all continuing to Jordan.

I will add photos to the blog now, then go to bed. I'm really tired now and we have to be ready to leave the hotel tomorrow at 6:15 am. Those of us continuing onto the Jordan portion of the trip are flying to Amman tomorrow morning. Susan's cousin is picking us up from our hotel at 1 pm and we will have lunch with her at her home and spend the rest of the day with her. Goodbye to Egypt, it has been a spectacular experience! And we will see you again after Jordan, when we spend 4 nights in Dahab. I miss you already.

Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 25


Old DoorOld Door
Old Door

In the mosque
Ibn Tulun MosqueIbn Tulun Mosque
Ibn Tulun Mosque

Large courtyard area.
The MinaretThe Minaret
The Minaret

We climbed to the top
Me on the nearly topMe on the nearly top
Me on the nearly top

Hanging on for dear life
Gayer-Anderson MuseumGayer-Anderson Museum
Gayer-Anderson Museum

The outside - couldn't take photos inside

8th October 2016

I really appreciate the quotes that start the beginning of your blog.
8th October 2016

What a trip you two are having! With the stories and the pictures you will reliving these days for many years to come. Dad
8th October 2016

Neat picture!
9th October 2016

Greetings ladies, life has been a tad hectic here, so I have just caught up with your blog. Sunday morning, 2 cups of tea and a reading travel fest! Delighted that you have had a safe, and fantastic trip so far. It has been on your bucket l
ist for a long time, I remember your aspirations from Turkey.Your Mark Twain quote is spot on. Grant can catch up with your blog while I am @ work this afternoon. Great read and awesome photos, thank you. Cheers Chris.
9th October 2016

Hi Chris, so great to hear from you! Glad you're enjoying the blog.Sent from my iPhone
9th October 2016

Caught up with yor blog this morning at work. Now yor off to Jordan. Is it the same Peregrine tour company---yes, I think so. All's well here at home. the 2nd Trump-Hillary Debate is tonight (Sunday) but it's a Town Meeting with real voters
asking questions. Shud be a scrapping good time, what with the Donald's latest foo-paw. reality TV at it's best, eh. As you can see, yor not missing anything here. I look forward to hear ing about your adventures in Jordan. BTW, loved that vertical hieroglyphic necklace you bought in Egypt. Hope you picked up a bunch as gifts :-) Teehee. - Love, M xox

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