With three full days in Cairo I don’t feel we have even scratched the surface of this hectic, incredible town of 21 million people. Generations of Egyptians that have lived here for thousands of years.
As we usually travel by motorcycle we very rarely see the inside of cities, especially mega cities. Our routine is to stay on the fringes, and then take public transportation into the city to look around. The Big Red, on/off bus is great for that.
Another thing difficult for us right now is our seeming loss of independence. Looking out of where we are sleeping and seeing our motorcycle is like our security blanket. It means FREEDOM! You are able to go when and where you want, anytime, without a schedule. The people of Egypt will bend over backwards to make sure you are cared for. Fantastic for many travelers. But for us, we enjoy the challenge of figuring things out. That’s a difficult concept for many, but many seasoned travelers will understand.
Our other two days in Cairo were spent visiting the Egyptian Museum, the oldest Islamic Mosque in Cairo and a Coptic Monastery built into a cave.
The Egyptian Museum holds treasures discovered throughout Egypt in the pyramids and temples. It hold a large collection of King Tut relics found in his tomb in the Valley of the Gods.
The oldest Mosque was built in circa 879 CE. It is still in use and is usually filled with people praying for Friday prayer. It’s a very beautiful structure with open spaces and intricate carvings.
The Coptic Monastery was built by the Christian garbage people in a cave on top of one of the old limestone quarries used for the rocks for building the pyramids. The garbage people make their living by collecting the recyclables from Cairo. The inside of a cave was emptied of rock and debris in the 1970’s and the Coptic Monastery was built inside to seat 2000 people, hidden from view.
We had a fun evening with our friends watching a wedding video and eating popcorn. Shoukraan.
After a long day we took the night sleeper train to Aswan, is the south of Egypt, a 15 hour ride. The sleeper cabins were small with two bunks with the lower converting to a seating area. It had a sink and a train car shared toilet. There were about 16 bunks per car. Two good, but sandwich style meals were served along with a beverage.
On to Aswan and the temple of Ramses II.