I am really lazy to type out my travel story and go into details. Firstly, no one reads this blog. It's a waste of time to put in all the details. This site is more of a personal photo journal now. So I am just putting in pictures I took and explaining a few things so it's just there. Making an online footprint in case someone stumbles in here.
So I had an unused voucher for booking a ticket with 500 bucks off and I decided to make use of it because the validity on the voucher was about to expire. So I looked at places to visit on my bucket list and chose Egypt. Reason being it's close to UAE and a quick getaway. It wouldn't consume a lot of days. So I booked (this was back in July) for the month of December. 6 months in advance! and forgot all about it. The date neared and I had to force myself to apply for a visa which was quite easy to obtain. Had to go to the Egyptian Embassy here in Abu Dhabi a couple of times. But the process was quite smooth. And yeah, ready for the trip!!
I landed in Cairo at around 9am and was tired because I had left home at around 4am in the morning. The onward journey was around 4 hours not including the two hour waiting at the airport. So yeah, I was already knackered. But I didn't want to check in anywhere because most rooms are available only after 12. So I made the first stop at the museum.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo is home to an extensive collection of around 120,000 ancient Egyptian antiquities. If you are a museum lover and want to explore every inch, you're going to need more than a day. Half my day was spent here. The most amazing thing in here were the mummies. Photography is not allowed. But the mummies of Pharaohs are just wow!
River Nile, not a stunning picture I know. But this river is the life line of Egypt and also the longest river in the world. So worth taking a picture.
I thought Egypt would be ultra modern with big buildings and posh places. Nope. The city is quite simple and the cars are from the 80s and no one even follows traffic rules. I found a lot of similarities with India. I heard that people stay in brick houses and don't finish the construction to avoid paying taxes.
Told Ya! There are plenty of autorickshaws here.
And these are the mini vans used commonly to carry people across the city. So many of them!!
School kids were too excited to see me taking pictures and wanted to pose. Okay, smile for me then!
So realising I had not eaten all day and since this was a low budget travel, I decided to stop in a small eatery and asked them to give something that didn't have meat. So I got 'Kushari', also known as 'koshari'. It's an Egyptian dish made of rice, macaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, and garlic vinegar; garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. It did the job to fill my hunger. But not something I can eat everyday.
I then headed to Coptic Cairo. Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo which encompasses the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George and many other Coptic churches and historical sites.
A view of the Babylon Fortress from inside the hanging church. The hanging church is actually hanging and was built in the 3rd Century.
Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church is traditionally believed to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus Christ, rested at the end of their journey into Egypt.
The chandelier reminds me of an inverted cake with candles.
Holy books. Look at those writings!!
The Mosque of Amr, was originally built in 641–642 AD. The original structure was the first mosque ever built in Egypt and the whole of Africa.
Due to extensive reconstruction over the centuries, nothing of the original building remains. But historically, this is a very important place.
After Coptic Cairo, I moved on to Azhar Park, developed by Aga Khan Trust. There's so much greenery here in the park. But I chose a less attractive pic because doggo!
I love hotels. I almost cried when I got my room. After a long day I needed to catch up on some sleep. Took a hot shower and felt wow!
Hello there, reflection in the mirror!
I absolutely love complementary Breakfast. There was so much more, but being a vegetarian, my choices were limited. I am so used to eating alone! Guess I was the only solo traveller in the buffet room.
The next morning I left for Memphis, the city was founded by the Pharaoh Menes. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an important city throughout ancient Mediterranean history.
From there to Saqqara, a vast and ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Here is Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb. It was built during the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier, Imhotep. Remember Imhotep from the movie 'The Mummy'?
There are several tombs here. This is perhaps one of my favourite. There are many secret messages here. The artificial light when switched off, shows some hidden hieroglyphs when shone under fire/torchlight.
Can't believe these were made around 3000 years ago.
Hunting expedition. Check out the goose strangling. The paint is still intact!
On the way to Giza. But a quick stop to get some falafels.
And finally!!! What a sight.
The Pyramid of Khafre is the second-tallest and second-largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and the tomb of the Fourth-Dynasty pharaoh Khafre who ruled from c. 2558 to 2532 BC.
The great Pyramids on the Giza Plateau. The last one is actually the biggest pyramid known as the Great Pyramid of Giza. The only one to largely remain intact. I went inside and no pictures because photography isn't allowed.
The Giza Solar boat museum. The Khufu ship is an intact full-size vessel from Ancient Egypt that was sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2500 BC. The ship now is preserved here. Intended for use in afterlife!
Head of a human, body of a lion. The Sphinx! I spent a great deal of time here, walking around the whole complex, took a camel ride and what not. And let's call it a day.
On Day 3, I visited Alexandria, second largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre. The beautiful Mediterranean Sea! The coast extends for about 32 kilometers.
Located in the heart of Alexandria is the Roman amphitheater in Egypt, an impressively well-preserved structure composed of thirteen terraces. This was constructed in the traditional Greek style , with a flat stage in the center. It also houses a residential complex.
The Al-Haramlik Palace, at the Montaza Palace complex in the Al-Montaza royal gardens which overlooks the Mediterranean. Made the huge palace look small and small plants look gigantic.
The Royal Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. This library is most famous for having been burned down resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books. A great loss of cultural knowledge. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (in this picture) functions as a modern library and cultural center, commemorating the original Library of Alexandria.
Letter written by President Jimmy Carter to President Sadat.
The Citadel of Qaitbay is a 15th-century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean sea coast. The drive from Cairo to Alexandria took around three hours. All I remember was sleeping in the car.
New day, new place. The Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque at Cairo Citadel.
Muhammad Ali chose to build his state mosque entirely in the architectural style of his former overlords, the Ottomans. It was built between 1838 and 1848.
The view of Cairo from the Citadel.
Saladin, the military commander who led soldiers against crusaders chose this site to build the citadel because it was famous for its fresh breeze and grand views of the city.
The Cave Church! This is located in Garbage City which houses the Coptic Christians.
Jesus is coming. Behave.
The Cave Church is the largest in the Middle East and houses around 20,000 people. Walked all the way up to get this shot.
The Garbage City.
I was asked not to take pictures but did any way discreetly. People actually live here and make a living out of selling garbage. It's only the Coptic Christians who reside here.
I have no clue how people live here. The stench is absolutely nauseating.
Childhood ruined :(
Next stop was Khan el-Khalili known as the souq or market place. Here is a boy selling chick peas!
Just your regular crowded bazaar. As this was my last day in Egypt, I purchased a lot of souvenirs and heavy bargaining was involved.
The market is actually big and the whole complex has a few old mosques, madrassas, old houses and interesting shops. A lot of youngsters roam here and chill.
A house I loved. Bayt Al-Suhaymi (House of Suhaymi) is an old Ottoman era house museum located in the market. It was originally built in 1648 by Abdel Wahab el Tablawy in a very prestigious and expensive part of Medieval Cairo. There are many small gardens with plants and palm trees. Was very calm and peaceful.
Not buying, just looking.
Salam Aleikum Ladeez!
If I had the money, I'd buy them all.
Mouth Watering Shawarma. Unfortunately, there were no vegetarian options available and I survived on falafels. Was looking around for veg food until I found...
..vegetable crepe? It had cheese and vegetables. Will do!
And that's the end of the trip. I stopped at a perfume factory and got myself some too! Went back to the room, packed my bags and said bye to Egypt. I am definitely coming back.
I found the place very interesting. A lot of people on the streets do not speak English. But in the big shops, yes they do. Before my trip, there was a bomb blast in Sinai. But that did not stop me from making different plans. Cairo is quite safe! The people I met were kind and accommodating. There's a lot more to explore and 4 days is not enough. Most importantly, if you plan your trip well, you will not have to burn your pockets. Hope you enjoyed this photo story!