DAY 1 // CairoCairo was dirty, unkept, unstable and chaotic like most of Bangkok, although far worse – and I loved it, but hated it all the same. I was expecting this as this is what Cairo is, especially with the daily and sometimes fatal protests that were going on at Tahrir Square which was literally a walk away from my accommodation, Brothers Hostel. Most people probably think downtown Cairo is physically ugly, and I agree somewhat. I see it as ugly-beautiful. The almost uniform color shades of yellow and yellowish grey of the architecture where nearly all buildings are falling apart has a certain character to it, something I have never seen in a big city. Even as a native New Yorker that has travelled to 16 countries , it took me some getting used to. The next day I visited the Egyptian Museum.
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Let ancient Egyptian treasures bedazzle you at the museumThe Cairo Museum is absolutely brimming with treasures. From artefacts found in the pyramids to ancient papyrus scrolls, the beautifully designed sarcophaguses to canopic jars, the jewels of the rulers to their well preserved mummified bodies, it's Christmas come early so history lovers. Don't miss out on the mummy room where Ramses II's body is kept along with many others under temperature control. Also a must-visit is the room which holds King Tutankhamen's famous gold mask. This should definitely be on your things to do in Egypt list.
Don't forget to stop by Egypt's most famous squareTahrir Square is one of Cairo's biggest and busiest squares. In 2011, that's where it all began when protestors gathered by hundreds of thousands demanding President Hosni Mubarak end his 30-year autocratic rule. Since then, Tahir square has become a symbol. It's large enough to accommodate crowds and very centrally located - next to the museum, government buildings and television offices. In fact, the torched NDP party building is still there. Be careful because security is tight and they ask you not to photograph them.
This street is a bustling maze of alleys, lanes and narrow gullies lined with shops, restaurants, hustlers and ever persistent shopkeepers. Despite its somewhat touristy vibe, it’s still a great place to experience the true flavor of Cairo and Egypt. Everyone is rushing, laughing, screaming and yelling and though it’s pretty exhausting to wade through the sea of shops, Khan-El Kalili is the best place to hang and watch life go by. There are some wonderful traditional coffee houses serving Arabic coffee and my favorite Hibiscus tea besides the ever accompanying Sheesha. After some wandering I discovered this old and popular coffeehouse named Fishawi that served up amazing coffee along with free Sheesha, where I also made friends with some jovial minded locals.
Reached Cairo!! Took flight from Cairo to Luxor. Once I arrived in Luxor, I proceeded for the Nile Cruise. Thereafter, I started our tour to the East Bank. I got chance to discover the Karnak Temple Complex - a vast area of temples, chapels, pylons and the Great Temple of Amun. Walked down the avenue of ram headed sphinxes that connect the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re and the Luxor Temple. After lunch, spent the afternoon at leisure. Later in the evening, enjoyed dinner and a comfortable overnight stay on the cruise.
Spend a day with elephants-feeding,bathing and even painting them at the elephant safari at Dera Amer, Kukas. It's adventure camp behind Amber Fort that offers fantastic elephant,camel horse and jeep safaris organized by the resident Rajput family. Indulge in the high tea at the base camp , before the elephants take you on a sunset safari across the Aravali forest.
If the Pyramids speak of the ancient rulers of Egypt, the Abdeen Palace speaks of the modern rulers of Egypt. A partial Military museum, it proudly displays the gifts given to various Presidents. It was the royal residence before monarchy was abolished and now serves as the official residence of the President. This huge Palace with 500 rooms is certainly not to be missed.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, and many treasures of King Tutankhamen. There are two main floors in the museum, the ground floor and the first floor. On the ground floor there is an extensive collection of papyrus and coins used in the Ancient world. Also on the ground floor are artifacts from the New Kingdom, the time period between 1550 and 1069 BC. Those items include statues, tables, and coffins .On the first floor there are artifacts from the final two dynasties of Egypt, including items from the tombs of the Pharaohs Thutmosis III, Thutmosis IV, Amenophis II,Hatshepsut, and the courtier Maiherpri, as well as many artifacts from the Valley of the Kings, in particular the material from the intact tombs of Tutankhamun .Two special rooms contain a number of mummies of Pharaohs and other royal family members of the New Kingdom.You will find the mummies of the following Pharaohs .1. Tutmosis I2. Tutmosis II3. Tutmosis III4. Tutmosis IV5. Seti I6.Amenhotep 17. Amenhotep II8. Hatshepsut9.Ramses II10 . Merenptah (Son of Ramses II)After hearing so much about these Pharaohs when I saw the 3000-4000 year old mummies I was too shocked to believe my eyes.This is surely an experience to remember.
Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
Also known as the Museum of Cairo, this is where all the treasures of the Pyramids lie. It houses 27 royal mummies and artifacts collected from the tombs of two, very famous Egyptian Pharaohs, Tutenkhamen and Akhenaten. The Pyramids are just the hardbound cover of the Egyptian history book, the real matter lies here in these rooms.