Cairo, Egypt, Africa
Today started out with our earliest wake up call on the trip so far, 5:45am. We went downstairs and finally got to meet some of the people on our tour, since we’d missed the meeting last night. We signed up for some extra trips along the way, and then set off on the bus for our first stop in Egypt.
We pulled up to the Egyptian Museum at around 8:40am and got a brief history lesson from our tour guide “Awesome” (Asam). The museum itself wasn’t too nice, but the artefacts inside were absolutely amazing! We were walked through the museum to see statues that were sculpted up to 4,700 years ago, along with most of the artifacts recovered from King Tutankhamen’s tomb. It was phenomenal to see all of these things up close and to see the detail involved in this, especially in 2700 BC.
We were at the Egyptian Museum until 11:30am, when we made our way to the Giza plateau. We stopped at the largest pyramid (Khufu’s) to take some pictures, then went up to the Panorama for a camel ride. Almost all of us on the tour went for the camel trek which only lasted about a half hour, but gave us a great view of the pyramids, and a good laugh. We then went down to the middle pyramid (Chephren’s) for some more pictures and to take a look inside. We went inside through a tunnel at ground level, but it immediately started going underground. This tunnel was about 3.5 feet tall and about the same wide. This makes it unbelievably uncomfortable for a man of 6′ 2″ tall to get through, especially when there is another group coming up the way. It was probably about 300ft down, before the tunnel leveled out for about 100ft, and then went up 300ft to bring us back to ground level. Inside was a rectangular room with nothing on the walls or floor, and just a marble casket at the end of the room. It hardly seemed worth walking all the way through that, but we did it.
From their we went down to the Sphinx to get a closer look and get some pictures with that and the pyramids. You are not allowed to get within about 50 feet of the Sphinx, but we did have tickets to get at least that close. Unfortunately for Ryan, he forgot his ticket on the bus, so had to wait outside for us. We only had about 10 minutes inside anyway, mainly for people to get the obligatory picture of themselves kissing the Sphinx or petting it.
We had lunch at a traditional Egyptian restaurant( (Felfal), which was excellent, and then had some time to kill before getting the train. “Awesome” decided to bring us to a spice shop and have us get a presentation from the owner. Now, for any of you who read my Marrakesh blog you know how much I hate these things. But since we really didn’t have anywhere else to be or anything else to do, I sat back and took in the smells of lotus flowers and papyrus before heading to the train station.
We got on the 8pm train to Aswan and, having never been on an overnight train before, I had no idea what to expect. Well I’m glad I didn’t get my hopes up because it was TINY, or should I say tiny! Ryan and I got our luggage into the room, and then barely had any room to sit. We all couldn’t wait to get a drink, so we went down to the Club Car to get the party started. We were all stunned to find out that the train had absolutely no booze on it whatsoever. So now that we were depressed, we went back to our cabins, had our dinner and got ready for bed.
The beds were too short by about 6 inches, so that made the night pretty uncomfortable, but it was really the tremendously loud sounds of the train and the jerky movement that kept me up almost all night. I might have gotten one hour of sleep through the night, and later found out that Ryan was up the whole night as well. Hopefully things are better on the cruise ship on the Nile!