‘Sir, will you have tea or coffee’?
I looked back to find a giant of a man exceeding 6 ft 4” in height and weighing around 140 kg, very dark complexioned, with well chiseled face and a contrast white teeth flashing in smile. My heart almost skipped the beat at the sight !
‘What is your name?’ I enquired.
‘Abdullah’ he replied as he poured out the strong black coffee in the cup.
‘Do you have milk?’ I continued. ‘No sir’! He replied.
We were admiring the beautiful blue hue and silver reflections of the River Nile. The sprawling city with minarets soaring skywards as visible from the terrace of the restaurant looked majestic. It was located atop the hotel’s 16th floor where we stayed in Dokki, in the city centre of
Cairo. The breakfast was sumptuous and the
strain of previous day’s travel had almost worn off after a good night’s rest.
The flight from Amman in Jordan was a short one taking just about an hour
to reach the .
It was already dark when we checked in the hotel and except for the glitter of
the market place we could not see much. Cairo
|At Alabaster Sphinx at Memphis|
The clock had started ticking for me and there was no time to waste, so we hit the street and decided to visit the Pyramids first! There are multiple options to travel from public buses to metro and taxis which are very convenient. We hailed a taxi to take us to
Giza which is located almost 12 km away. The
drive through the busy streets of Sharl De Gool, Mourad and finally Al Ahram
took us a little more than half an hour to reach Haram. The mighty Sphinx and the Pyramids of
Giza were now visible standing tall on the huge sandy expanse. It was like
looking at the school history book! There are three pyramids and
the biggest one is called as The Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu or Cheops. We
looked upon the great structure with awe which was tallest structure for more
than 3800 years, towering 481 feet. It
is estimated that 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite
(imported from ),
and 500,000 tons of mortar were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid.
In the vicinity are two more pyramids which were constructed in the memory of
Pharaoh Khafrae and Menkaure. We could not visit the biggest one as it was
closed so we went to visit the smallest one of Menkaure which is 205 ft tall.
We had to bend very low through the long tunnel to enter the structure. The air
was damp and it was a creepy feeling to enter the antechamber where the coffin
of Menakure is preserved. After the visit inside, it is difficult to believe
that how these wonders were created by humans with virtually non existent
technology compared to what is available today. Aswan
We found some Bedouin tribesman with camels who were beckoning us for a ride around the Pyramids. As my wife tried hard to climb the camel’s back, one of the Bedouin lifted her and put her on the seat almost effortlessly, much to our amusement! The camel ride at
plateau is a ‘must do’ for the first
time travelers for the unique experience. Giza
|The Great Sphinx and Pyramid at Giza|
A short distance away stands the mighty Sphinx which has the body of a lion and the head of a human! This is thought to be a guardian flanking the temples. This is located in the north and below the pyramids. According to the legends, the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Pharaoh Khafre.
A sound and light show is held in the evenings here where the history of the Sphinx, Pyramids and various historical figures is depicted.
Next on the list of places to visit was the Pyramid of Saqqara or the Step Pyramid. This was a vast burial ground in the ancient capital of
about 30 km from the site of !
We had a haunting experience as one of the parked vehicles suddenly reversed as
my daughter was crossing the road! Luckily, no one came to harm. Giza
|Camel ride at Saqqara|
We continued our historical exploration to see the statue of King Ramses II. There was a small Papyrus making factory in the vicinity where they still made the hand made paper with the paintings of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses! It was difficult to resist the temptation so we bought a couple of them! It was a hot day and we sighted fresh water melons on the way and picked the same to quench the thirst.
In the evening we walked up to the river front where hundreds of people had gathered. The place wore a festive look as the neon lit streets cast their reflections from the sparkling waters of the quiet flowing
Next morning, we headed to the
and visited a treasure trove, The Egyptian Museum. It has more than 120000 collector
antiquities. The most memorable ones are the chamber of mummies, the treasures
of King Tutankhamen including the Gold Mask that weighs over 11kg of Solid
Gold! Pharaoh Tutankhamen ascended the throne at the young age of nine years
and died when he was just nineteen year old and his mummy is preserved in ! Luxor
Our next destination was the ancient Khan –el- Khalili market or the souk which is one of the oldest in the world. It is a virtual shopper’s paradise for clothes, souvenirs ,food and even for those who would like to smoke ‘hookah’ ( called Shesha). The aroma of freshly baked khubz (bread) is overpowering and to see the huge crates of them being carried is a sight worth remembering! There are several coffee houses and street food vendors in the area. Al Hussein mosque which was built in 1154 is one of the oldest Islamic mosques in
and is located here.
It is believed to contain the oldest complete manuscripts of the Koran. The sun
was setting in the west as the muezzin was calling out for the ‘azan’( prayer)
from the minaret. Another perfect day
was coming to an end, as we traversed back to the hotel. Cairo
The time just flew and I felt I should have spent some more time in this place. There was still so much left to see and do! There is so much history waiting to be explored. The next day we bid goodbye to
(which means ‘The Conqueror’) as we boarded the flight to Tel Aviv, the next
destination with a treasure of memories of the lovely city! Cairo
PS- This post was written as a part of challenge posed by a nice blog friend Ramya when she awarded me The Kreativ Blogger Award on 04 Oct. I was expected to write something which pairs the picture below. In response is another picture and the words next to the challenge and this travelogue!
|Ramya's Challenge picture|
|They Live in hearts,|
As greatest wonders
Keeping memories alive
of past ancestors