Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 2:56am
Introduction to EGYPT
Date travelled: 16th September 2003
Tour Operator: Not available
During our stay in Cyprus we took the opportunity of a day flight to Cairo in Egypt. The visit included The Pyramids, the Museum, a papyrus factory, dinner on the Nile and a night bazaar. The day trip started at about 6.30am and ended around 2am the following day. The formalties were over with very quickly and efficiently which was nice. The flight took approximately 40 minutes from Paphos and we were picked up by coach at Cairo airport.
The first thing I noticed was the amount of traffic going in and out of the city, the roads were chaotic, there was so much traffic. The second thing I noticed was the drab buildings everywhere, hardly a splash of colour anywhere. On the outskirts of Cairo, we passed an area of cemeteries known as the City of the Dead which provides shelter for hundreds of thousands of poor residents. Families make their homes in and among tombs and gravesites. The whole place looked truly awful. Our coach inched its way through the traffic heading for the Saladin Citadel of Cairo, a fortified enclosure that sits on a bluff that overlooks Cairo. It is sometimes referred to as Mohamed Ali Citadel and is a popular tourist attraction.
Next stop was Giza plateau, the place I was most interested. Since a child I had dreamed of seeing the Pyramids & now I was on my way to see them for real! I shall never forget my first glimse of the Pyramids suddenly appearing above the buildings in the distance. Our coach arrived at the Pyramids along with about 50 other coaches. This, I was told, was for security reasons, they did not want to lose any of their tourists. Unfortunately this meant rather long queues at the entrance to the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Everyone who comes to Giza has to run the gauntlet of camel and horse hustlers, souvenir and soft drink hawkers, would-be guides, agonizingly persistent shop owners and sundry beggars. Be firm in your refusals - 'No' is enough, and don't feel you have to justify yourself. Beware of taking a camel ride. Reports of tourists being told the cost of a camel ride (reasonable) but once in the desert being charged rather more than the original cost to return. In these circumstances you do not have much of a choice but to pay unless you know the way back on foot.
After lunch at Le Meridien hotel we set off for the Egyptian Museum, home to the greatest collection of Egyptian antiquities. You have to go through a security check to enter the museum. Cameras and videos are allowed but you have to pay for the privilege.
From the museum we made our way to the boat for a dinner and cruise on the Nile. Entertainment included a whirling dervish and a belly dancer.
By this time I was feeling extremely tired and the visit to the night bazaar was more than I could take. I just did not want to haggle, I hated the crowds of people in the narrow alleys and just wanted my bed! But I'm sure it is great when you're not so tired.
** Information on the travel pages was correct at the time of publishing. Passport & Visa information applies to UK citizens.