Outside the Egyptian Museum
Saturday 5th was the first full day in Cairo so we decided to spend the day at the museum. Half the fun was getting there as we took our first Cairo taxi! The taxis of Cairo are an attraction in themselves in that they are 30 year old beaten up Fiats where the only thing that really worked was the horns!! Everything else like the speedo, headlights and petrol gauges seemed to be disconnected! We also learnt that traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and painted road lines were for decoration only!
We were dropped at the end of the museum road; the road was cordoned off to keep cars away from the front of the museum because of potential for terrorism.
The entrance to the museum was like airport security, our bags and ourselves had to be scanned. We were also not allowed to take cameras in so had to check them into a storage booth then we got a ticket in return. I took the card out just in case! We paid for our entrance plus an extra 70 pounds for the mummy room. We spent 4 hours exploring the museum, it was like Aladdin’s cave, packed with treasures; we loved it. The only thing we didn’t like was there was no museum book guide and most of the exhibits were poorly labelled. We used our Rough Guide to help us through the museum. You really need a few days to see it all, it’s so big and there is so much to see. The mummy room was definitely worth the extra 70 pounds it was absolutely fascinating, the mummies still had their hair, teeth and nails and you could see the dyed red hair of Ramses II.
Outside the Cairo Museum
Tutankhamen’s mask was the busiest attraction and was in a separate room, we had to queue to get to see it. When we finally got in I couldn’t believe how close you could get to it, the mask was a masterpiece and so was all his other treasures. There was gold everywhere and I particularly liked his chariot. After 4 hours in the museum we were getting very footsore so we headed up to the museum cafe for lunch where we had a very tasty chicken shawarma, before venturing back to the hotel. But before going back to the hotel I had spotted a government shop selling papyruses so we went and had a look. We spent some time in there and we bought two lovely papyruses plus some very nice oils for burning. We decided to walk back to the hotel which would take us about half an hour but I think we should have taken the taxi! It was end of Ramadan and there were people everywhere, I hadn’t seen so many people since leaving London, it was overwhelming. We felt like we were the only white people in the city! As we walked locals kept offering us food and welcoming us to Egypt. After the 100th welcome I was over it, I couldn’t wait for the sanctuary of our hotel. We even had to negotiate a busy road, we soon learnt to cross it Egyptian style which I likened to a game of chicken! We made it! That evening we had a group meeting with our tour leader and met the rest of the group, 8 women and Vaughan the only bloke!! What a lucky man!
The view from our hotel 'King Hotel' Cairo