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Nile Cruise Holiday Diary

Posted by: orbital

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Here is Day 2 of Chris' Cairo & Nile Cruise Holiday Diary

No sooner had we gone to sleep and it was time to be up and ready for an early start to the day, because a minibus was picking us up from the hotel at 8am for a trip around Cairo to visit some of the attractions. Our room was beautiful and when we opened the curtains we had a panoramic view across the hotel’s gardens to the nearby Pyramids at Giza. Wow, what a sight that neither of us will forget. The drive through Cairo was the same mad rush as it had been from the airport to our hotel. It was even more alarming in daylight, because we could see other vehicles which were coming straight at us on our side of the road! The tour guide for our stay at Cairo was called Ayman whose ‘call sign’ was Abibi (sweethearts) and he told us about all the places we were passing. His call sign (Abibi) was written on a card which he held up (or shouted it out) to use as a rallying point for his group when we stopped to have a look around the various tourist attractions. Our first destination was the Khan el Khalili bazaar, an old medieval market which was made up of lots of alleyways and smaller bazaars. It still has that medieval feel about it. For centuries it was the centre of Egypt’s trade with the rest of Africa and Asia, buying and selling spices, jewellery, silver, gold, exotic fabrics and leather goods. All too soon for me we were off again and we were heading for the Mohammed Ali Mosque at the Citadel, which overlooks the whole of Cairo.

After a short history lesson from Ayman we had time to take a couple of photographs before boarding the minibus and we headed for our next stop which was Saqqara. This is Egypt’s oldest ‘Step Pyramid’ and it is starting to collapse. It looks like the stones on the sides are slowly sliding down to the ground. There is quite a lot of scaffolding around the Pyramid which means photography is difficult, but this scaffolding is very necessary until a way is found to hold the structure together. While Ayman was showing us around Saqqara he told us all about the history of the place and I learned a lot more from him than when I had visited two years earlier. 

Saqqara, Egypt

They tell me that it only rains in this area three days in a year and this was one of them! Still, it wasn’t snowing and what raindrops there were nearly dried before touching the ground. We visited a tomb where the wall carvings depicted more of the everyday life in ancient Egypt. Next was a visit to a school for handmade carpet makers and I had a go at trying to make one. Back onto the minibus and on to the last destination for the day, the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. Old Memphis is in ruins with carved stones and huge statues laid about all over the place. We had both bought a few souvenirs from some of the places visited before having a late lunch, which was made up of chicken and rice etc. and then we were taken back to the hotel in the middle of the afternoon.

After heading straight back to our room to wash and freshen up we intended to have a swim in the hotel’s pool, unfortunately we both fell asleep. When we woke up it was nearly time for our evening meal and then after a walk around the hotel gardens it was time to return to our room to sort ourselves out for another excursion the next morning and to bed.  

Day 3 of Chris' diary can be found here.

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