Breakfast in Egypt seems much like a Turkish breakfast. Pretty much exactly the same stuff was on offer at the Indianna Hotel, except for olives.
First stop today was Giza, which meant Pyramids and the Sphinx. Giza is now right on the outskirts of Cairo due to rapid urban sprawl. We drove though district after district of half built, run down houses which ran virtually right up to the foot of the pyramids.
Mahmoud gave us some historical background and we were then free to wander the site. Whilst this allowed us up to get up close to the sites, it also meant that we were free to experience our first case of harassment. Thankfully, Mahmoud had given us a few tips, so we knew better than to photograph locals posing for photos and the girls knew better than to smile at any of the Egyptian men trying to grab their attention. The pyramids were huge but the Sphinx was a little disappointing, not as large or as impressive as I had imagined it.
The Pyramid of Khafre
On the way to lunch we were dragged along to the first “sales stop” in Egypt. So what is so typically Egyptian that it warrants a visit from a tour? Papyrus of course!! After a quick demonstration of how papyrus is made, which naturally included a case of “here’s one I prepared earlier” we were free to browse the gallery and choose anything we might like to purchase.
Michelle and I both took a shining to a painting of Hatshepsut. Unlike the carpets in turkey, this time we were both quite convinced we liked and wanted it, so we went ahead and purchased. Keep an eye out for it hanging in our house when you visit us in Perth!!
From left to Right, The Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre and Michelle
Lunch was a buffet affair. Like all the lunches on the tour, the meal was free but the drinks were absurdly expensive. Soft drinks were more than three times more expensive than in the hotel we were staying in!
After lunch we travelled to the Cairo Museum, where our guide Mahmoud (who is studying his masters in Archaeology) raced us around in a couple of hours and gave as comprehensive a summary as he could in the allotted window of time.
The highlight for us all was the wing featuring the items taken from the tomb of Tutankhamen. It was amazing just how much was buried with him and how intricate and valuable some of the pieces were. There was gold everywhere, including the inner most sarcophagi, which is apparently made up of a lazy 114kg of gold!!
and here you can see all three of the pyramids of Giza
When we left the museum Michelle, Zoe and I were all completely knackered, so the return to the hotel was very welcome. We were so tired that we couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to head out for dinner, choosing instead to eat on the hotel roof terrace again. At this point I need to point out how affordable the food was. The hotel was far from 5 star, in fact, everything in it (apart from the air conditioners, which seemed to be reasonably new) seems to be an original component from the 1970’s. However, it is centrally located and the rack rate is far from cheap. So, I was almost bowled over when my dinner and drinks for the night came to £3. Bargain!! I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel where the food and drinks are so affordable!! We hit the sack reasonably early, knowing that we had a very big day ahead of us tomorrow.