Deeper Cairo

Took care of some travel business buying seats on the overnight train from Cairo to Aswan. Taking the metro here is very easy and very inexpensive. For one Egyptian Pound (=14 cents) you can ride anywhere it goes. You just need to make sure you have your ticket to get off–or start singing Cairo’s version of Charlie getting stuck on the MTA. Most everything here is quite inexpensive even if prices are jacked up for tourists on most everything which locals will happily gouge you for. I purchased two delicious sesame falafels and one small water for less than one dollar! The next day I went into the same store to buy two small waters and the cashier wanted to charge me about $1.30! I told him to forget it and went down the street to buy two large bottles for 85 cents. More about scams another time.

Minarets and mosque in Islamic Cairo district

Minarets and mosque in Islamic Cairo district

The Islamic Cairo district was amazing. Filled with beautiful mosques and accompanying minarets, street bazaars with all kinds of chachkes to buy and narrow winding streets that would seem to lead to a dead end. Not until you’d reach the very end would you see a previously invisible entrance to another narrow street. Some alleys/streets we explored were extremely narrow and filthy with so few locals that Cindy got nervous about our safety until we reached a larger street again.

Mohammed Ali Mosque sits inside The Citadel which also contains a military museum extolling the campaigns of the Egyptian army as well as a former (medieval?) prison. The mosque was beautiful with marble walls, intricate wood carvings and vaulted ceilings. Rugs lined the entire floor to give it a warm feeling despite the huge interior.

Mohammed Ali Mosque from El Azhar Park

Mohammed Ali Mosque from El Azhar Park

After leaving there we walked along a busy road for about 25 minutes until we reached our next destination, El Azhar Park. The park was very pretty; it’s environs filled with locals enjoying each others’ company and having fun. It was a wonderful oasis from the noise and chaos of the surrounding roads. We bought and ate lunch there for $5.50–for two! At 3:30pm the park was surrounded by calls for prayer from everywhere around Cairo.

At the pinnacle of El Azhar Park

At the pinnacle of El Azhar Park

Advertisements
Cairo!

Cairo!

It is the end of the second full day here in Cairo and we’ve already covered some serious ground having visited the ancient sites at Dahshur (Red pyramid, “Bent” pyramid), Saqqara (a vast ancient burial ground including the “Step” pyramid) and the Giza necropolis (Pyramids of Giza and the Sphynx). I wasn’t expecting to tour Giza on horseback but the fatigue of a full day of touring and the effects of jet-lag altered our plans.

Giza Plateau joy

Happy to be off the horse

Today we visited the Egyptian museum and were treated to viewing an awesome collection of Egyptian antiquities including the treasures of King Tutenkamen’s tomb. We’re downtown and it’s quite busy with people and very very noisy with the cacophony of car horns from the chaos of the street traffic below. I didn’t think I could get used to it but dang if it doesn’t bother me now. Not too much, anyway.