When my boyfriend asked me what I thought about travelling around Egypt for 10 days my first answer was not much of a polite one.. However when he assured me that this would not be 10 days of backpacking and that we would pre book our hotels in advance I finally warmed to the idea.
So leaving flights and accommodation to my other half we boarded our flight from Heathrow and after a great flight landed safe and sound in Cairo. Flying into Egypt the landscape is amazing. I was surprised that the view from the plane showed lots of green area along with the massive expanse of desert. Once inside the airport we found our queue in order to obtain our tourists visas and then we got another stamp in our passports showing that we are entering Egypt a process that was pain free and really well organised.
We then met our transfer from the hotel and we were driven through the immense amount of traffic and after around 30 minutes we arrived at the hotel . What I didn’t know at this point was that we were booked into the Cairo Marriott hotel and once we arrived we were greeted to the beautiful entrance of this fantastic 5* hotel. The Marriott is a beautiful hotel with amazing marble tile floors inside and out, not only that the hotel has a number of great restaurants including a Japanese restaurant who would have though that I could eat Sushi in Egypt !!
So our first day in Cairo began earlier than we expected.. We were both woken woken to the sound of the prayers which can be heard all over the city from the loud speakers which are placed on many buildings through out the city it was amazing to hear the Islamic calls all over the city.
Once we were up and awake and after an amazing buffet breakfast we decided our first port of call would be the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities also known as Cairo Museum. We decided to join a tour group to avoid getting lost. The museum was awesome we were able to walk through the massive halls of the building and see thousands year-old artefacts from both Egyptian and Greek stone statues to ancient Egyptian coffins.
Ultimately the most amazing and breath taking pieces were the treasures of King Tutankhamen. These artefacts were amazing, and the stories behind the discoveries were equally amazing. We were able to see the actual chariots, gloves, jewellery and masks of King Tut, as well as his burial coffins, his royal bed and the golden throne on which he ruled plus many other items. After the Museum we took a walk down a street which lead to the Nile River. It was great to set eyes on one of the worlds most famous rivers. During our stroll we passed many street vendors selling all sorts of things it was great to see however they can be very persistent and can follow you for some time to try and get you to buy their goods.
During the evening we decided to head into what is known as Engineers District. This is the upper middle class neighbourhood and the area had plenty of shops along the streets and apartment buildings. We decided to have some dinner here rather than go back to the hotel and we stopped of in one of the restaurants which was beautifully decorated with blue and gold furniture, beautiful carpets and hand carved tables. We ate plenty of Egyptian delicacies, all of which were extremely delicious aubergine, chicken, meatballs, and seasoned rice wrapped in spinach plus plenty of other things. We also drank hibiscus juice for the first time and had dessert of coconut and honey served with hot tea. It was probably one of the best meals that I have every had.
The following morning we headed out to some of the more popular attractions. We set out early in the morning for Giza and to try and avoid the traffic which is busy most of the time and Cairo is extremely polluted and it felt as though we were covered in smog. However once we could view the wonderful sight of the Great Pyramid all was forgotten. The Pyramid has stood in the same place for the past 4,700 years and seeing it for the first time is truly jaw dropping.
The first stop was to the Solar Boat Museum where one of the royal boats discovered in 1954 is housed. It is said that the boat belonged to the person who supervised the building of the Great Pyramid. It was found buried in the desert and was later re constructed. We had to wear little canvas covers over our shoes as the Museum is so concerned about maintaining the authenticity of the site.
After the Museum we went back outside and the morning fog had lifted and we were able to see the Pyramids properly. It is amazing how big they are and you cant imagine how they could have been built so long ago.
After taking lots of photos we were then taken to the site of the Great Sphinx a massive carved figure that sits just in front of the Pyramids. What was shocking and some what not nice to see was that the Sphinx sits directly opposite a KFC and a Pizza Hut and it is amazing that these chains get everywhere.
We then walked over to the camel farm and decided to have a ride. The ride was only short, for about 10 minutes, but that was enough for me. Unfortunately Camels stink and the heat of the sun and the stink of the Camel was enough for me.
We then had a quick stop for lunch and headed over to the Saqqara which is the oldest known of Egypt’s 97 pyramids and the Step Pyramid, which changed the way pharaohs were buried in ancient Egypt. The complex that surrounds the pyramid is massive and first structure was built of stone by the early Egyptians. Our guide provided us with a information on the history of the place and we walked around and took more pictures. After that we departed and headed back to Cairo and after a long day I was glad to be getting back to the hotel where I could have a swim and chill out before out next long day out.
Our next stop was Alexandria, a great city located in Northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea, it was founded by Alexander the Great, who was the first and last foreign king to be titled Pharaoh. We travelled to Alexander by train and it was great to see the rural areas of Egypt. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach Alexander once there we boarded a bus and headed to our first stop which was the Alexandria National Museum which was a beautiful Museum. Here you can see thousands of ancient pieces that told the stories of Egypt’s ancient civilization from its old kingdom to the age of the pharaohs and it even has a tomb room. The pieces were amazing I loved the stone sculptures of the ancient scribes, they were fascinating. After we had some lunch and wandered around the city we knew it was time to head back unfortunately there were no trains so we embarked on a 3.5 hour bus ride back.
The next day after a lie in we decided to explore Cairo on foot and with out a guide so off we set. The streets of Cairo are extremely crowded and are quite dangerous due to the cars swerving in and out. However we managed to walk along the street taking a little look into the shops and managed to find the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. The bazaar was lots of fun and there were lots of cubby holes with men selling their products it was lots of fun..
So this was just a small part of some of the things I did when I was in Cairo.. The city maybe be crowded, polluted and noisy but it is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited and I am even thinking about pack backing around the rest of the country.