AfricaEgyptCairo

Touring Cairo and visiting Hossam

Cairo Travel Blog

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Baking bread

Our wakeup call was at 6:00 (ugh!!) and we were in Omer’s Café by 6:45.  Included in our tour package was their very extensive international buffet breakfast.  Available was everything from made-to-order omelets to sushi.  Karl & Gisela joined us as we ate on the terrace.

We met the group at 8:00 in the lobby and were led by Mohammed to the Egyptian Nights for orientation.  After an overview, he introduced Ossama, our tour director, teacher, advocate, and friend for the next two weeks.  There were only 10 of us on our itinerary so our full-sized tour bus carried only the driver, Ossama, an armed guard and us.

Baking bread
  Lots of room to rattle around!  Our group included Linda and John from Alaska, Phyllis and Curt from Northern California, Marilyn and her mother, Helen, from Southern California, Karl and Gisela from Germany, and Linda and me from Pennsylvania.

Our first stop was at the Citadel of Salah al-Din and, within it, the Mosque of Muhammed Ali.  Construction of the Citadel was initiated by Saladin in 1176 in order to defend the city.  Some of the stones are said to have been taken from the Great Pyramid.

Crossing the Nile
    The last king who lived there was Mohammed Ali who initiated construction of the mosque in 1824.  After an informative tour narrated by Ossama, we had 25 minutes to just wander around.  Ossama had said that if the air was clear enough, we’d be able to see the pyramids at Giza when we exited the mosque but that pictures would probably be worthless.  He was right on both counts but it was nonetheless a thrill to see the pyramids for the first time.

Back on the bus, we were quickly at the Egyptian museum.  It was here that we truly began to appreciate not only Ossama’s encyclopedic knowledge but also his passion for Egyptology and his country in general.  As I’d heard before we left home, this museum does not begin to do justice to the unfathomable treasures it holds. In fact, it looks more like a disorderly warehouse than a museum. However, Ossama used its collection to build the knowledge foundation on which he would build for the remainder of our trip.  Of course, the treasures of Tutankhamen, including the magnificent mask, are the highlight of the museum but there is so much more including the awesome Royal Mummies!  Unfortunately, photography is prohibited inside the museum so we have only our memories.

Hot, dry and exhausted, we returned to the hotel and the 4 of us has a snack at the “Bakery”.  Predictably, Lin rested while I spent some time at the hotel’s magnificent pool.  As the sun went down, the flies drove me inside to prepare for dinner.

In the meantime, we’d made arrangements to meet Hossam, who I’d “met” though TravBuddy.com at 6:00.  Hossam lives in Giza and graciously offered to spend some time with us while we were here.  Karl & Gisela joined us and the 5 of us ate again in the Egyptian nights.  This time we got Hossam to do the ordering and again the meal was great.  We never got around to ordering a main course, just kept at the appetizers.  Best by far was the beef Shawarma.  The best part of any trip is conversing with local people and conversation with Hossam was great.  After a final drink in the Piano Bar, we headed for bed in anticipation of another early morning start.
pbug31 says:
:) im so happy you and Hossam got to meet up. soooo cool!!!
Posted on: Oct 24, 2009
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Baking bread
Baking bread
Baking bread
Baking bread
Crossing the Nile
Crossing the Nile
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Gisela, Karl, Linda and me
Gisela, Karl, Linda and me
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Gisela and Karl
Gisela and Karl
Gisela and me
Gisela and me
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Look closely for the pyramids at G…
Look closely for the pyramids at …
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Citadel of Salah al-Din
Citadel of Salah al-Din
Citadel of Salah al-Din
Citadel of Salah al-Din
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Gisela and Karl
Gisela and Karl
Hossam and Linda
Hossam and Linda
Hossam and Linda
Hossam and Linda
Cairo
photo by: vulindlela