So there we were…standing at the base of three massive stone temples that have sparked our imaginations since grade school, the Pyramids.
Saying goodbye to “Africa” after four great months was difficult, but we were ready for a change. Our overnight flight from Joburg got us to Egypt just in time to see the sun rising over the foggy city, with Islamic Minarets and diverse architecture around every corner.
Cairo is the largest city in Africa and one of the ten largest in the world. If you are claustrophobic, this might not be the place for you. With over twenty million people, a simple task like walking down the street can seem like an overwhelming challenge. The traffic and footpaths make Denver seem like a rural country town and don’t get us started on the pollution. All this being said, we found chaotic Cairo to be fascinating and endlessly charming.
With only a few days in the city, we focused on seeing all the major tourist sites, which did not disappoint. The Giza and Saqqara Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Citadel of Salah Al-Din were all insanely crowded with tour buses and locals trying to sell cheesy souvenirs, but we enjoyed them all nonetheless. At all of these sites, we got used to young local children coming up to us and wanting to take their picture with us. This happened to us so often that we had to set a quota for the number of portraits we would allow prior to entering. The following day, we spent the morning at the Egyptian Museum learning about the centuries of history and the afternoon haggling over “authentic” gifts at the Sharm-Al-Sheik market, most of which were no doubt produced in India or China.
Even though the city was hectic, polluted and overwhelming at times, we really loved getting lost in the narrow streets and hope to come back and spend more time seeing the rest of Egypt.
- Seeing the Pyramids of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world
- The wonderful food, shawarma being our favorite
- Getting lost in the confusing streets of Islamic Cairo
- The (no) booze dinner cruise down the Nile – 2 hours of horrible buffet food and bad belly dancers
- Becky being constantly harassed by local men with cat calls and blatant stares
- Almost missing our flight because our hostel manager couldn’t find the keys to unlock the front door and let us out – it took nearly 30 minutes