Friday, March 25, 2011

Moscow 2011: Cairo Layover

Moscow 2011: Cairo Layover


Our flight to Cairo arrived at about 8pm and our next flight to Istanbul was scheduled to leave at 3pm giving us a good 18 hour layover to explore Cairo.  We decided to hire a tour guide for the layover tour and it was a good decision. Our tour guide (Marian) did an excellent job! (Send us a comment/email for her details for those who are interested).  She took good care of us and provided excellent info to the sites we visited.

Our first stop that night was the Al-Muizz Street in Islamic area of Cairo.  The street consisted of shops selling various souvenirs and antiques and old mosques with beautiful architecture.

At this point, we were really exhausted and proceeded to the hotel.  We booked the Mercure Cairo Le-Sphinx thanks again to the Accor Supersale.  This hotel is located in the Giza area of Cairo, which is where the pyramids are located.  Overall, the hotel was ok and clean but the rooms we got were somewhat small for a Mercure.  Picture of the room:

The next morning, Marian came to pick us up at 8 am.  Our first stop was the Citadel of Saladin.  Most the buildings inside the citadel are being restored and closed to the general public.  The main tourist attraction is the Mohamed Ali Mosque which was designed based on the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.  Having visited Istanbul a couple of days ago, we felt the mosque in Cairo was slightly more special. Maybe this was due to the fact that we had the mosque all to ourselves before the hordes of tourist buses arriving later during the day. Pictures of the Citadel and the Mosque:

Next up was the highlight and must see of Cairo - the pyramids! My first impression was the pyramid was just WOW.  I did not expect it to be a "mound in the ground" but I was shocked at how big the pyramids were in real life. Each brick itself was only slightly shorter than an average man.  How on earth did they manage to build this a thousand years ago?!?

After the pyramids and the sphinx, it was still too early for lunch.  Marian took us to a souvenir, perfume and papyrus store.  She probably made some commissions from it but we were never pressured into buying anything (unlike some other places we've been to in the past).  After lunch at a local Egyptian grill meat restaurant, it was straight to the airport where it rained right as we got to the airport.  Looks like God was making sure the weather stayed fine for us until we were about to leave :)  

1 comment:

  1. WOW... you had used your 18 hour to the fullest. Good for you.