We had high expectations for our trip to Cairo - and I'm happy to say that they were not only met, but exceeded! The sightseeing, restaurants, and hotels were all unforgettable.
Although we'd seen countless pictures of the Pyramids, they were still stunning up close. It's one thing to see a picture, another to stand at the foot of one, stare up, walk around, and climb into its belly. It's amazing to think that the ancient Egyptians built such magnificent structures around 2600BC. The challenges they faced -- from quarrying the stones, transporting them on the Nile, moving them to the site, to precisely shaping and assembling them (without the use of mortar) -- were awesome, and all the theories as to their construction are weak.
The Sphynx too was marvelous and mysterious - so little is known about when and how this sculpture was built.
We enjoyed our time in Cairo -- it was the only city we visited that was big enough to keep us from being constantly hassled to spend some of our tourist dollars. We had wonderful kabobs on the street, and like Jordan, wonderful schwarma. Our hotel provided yummy fresh yogurt for breakfast and delicious fresh fruits. Knowing that Cairo is the second safest big city in the world (just after Tokyo) kept us comfortable enough to walk all over the city in the evenings when the heat subsides and all the locals go out for a walk.
The Egyptian Museum was amazing. It was jam packed with ancient artifacts, so many in fact that it was completely overwhelming. We especially enjoyed the King Tut exhibit and the sheer number of artifacts. Some of the items (including the Rosetta stone) were replicas -- the originals were taken by the British and put in the British Museum in London during colonial times. If we had one thing to do differently, we would have arranged a guide in advance - the huge collection would have best been seen with the someone who could explain the significance of the different objects.
Coptic Cairo was our favorite part of Cairo - it was originally built as a Roman fortress town and is incredibly well preserved. We enjoyed wandering around the narrow streets and visiting each of the beautiful Coptic churches. We also visited a beautifully restored Jewish temple - though few Jews live in Egypt now, they once lived quite peacefully amongst the Christians and Muslims. The temple we visited rarely has services -- there aren't always enough Jewish men to hold them -- but foreign donations had clearly had a big impact in restoring the temple.
Islamic Cairo and the adjacent market were also wonderful. We wandered around the streets looking up at beautiful minarets and watching craftsmen make traditional goods like pots stamped out of tin, intricate lamps, and more.
Questions and Answers
I would like to travel from Cairo to Telaviv by bus/coach. Please advise cost, time it takes and the coach timetable(how many times is the service per day)
How secure will Cairo and Luxor be from anti-American terrorism during the next year? The threat seems to be more internal from the Brotherhood except next to Gaza.
Like our off-the- beaten path tips? Get even more ideas in a handy printable format you can take with you on your trip! Click here to buy our guides!