I had visions of myself riding a camel like Rachel Weisz did in The Mummy — all graceful and skillful and sexy.  Yeah, that wasn’t me.  I trip over my own feet, I even trip over the air just because it’s there.

I spent 2 days in Egypt in July 2011 on the Holy Land itinerary from Princess Cruises cruising from Rome to Athens.  My 16 year old son did not want to come with me — apparently I had already dragged him around the world too much at that point and he wanted to hang with his grandparents in Newfoundland.  So it was just me and one of my best friends — Kim D — we had a fabulous trip!

Pyramids, Nile & Cairo Overland

The Pacific Princess docked in Port Said and departed from Alexandria.  The 2 days in Egypt were incredible!  The excursion description from Princess Cruises was:

Prepare to be enthralled on this two-day, overnight Egyptian excursion, accompanied by an English-speaking guide.  Tour the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, whose dramatic minarets pierce the city’s skyline, then enjoy a buffet lunch at one of the city’s best hotels.  Head to the Egyptian Museum Of Antiquities, home to the treasures of Tutankhamen, then check-in at your hotel before enjoying a Sound and Light Show at the Sphinx.  On day two, after breakfast, board your bus to the Step Pyramid of Sakkara, and enjoy souvenir shopping in Giza.  Next stop is the Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  If time permits, you may explore their mystical interiors.  Finally, head to the the Sphinx, which features the body of a lion and the face of a female, before another tasty lunch, followed by the scenic drive back to Alexandria port.

Cairo

We got off the ship in Port Said and headed to Cairo — the following evening we returned to the ship in Alexandria. It’s tough on a cruise to see everything you want to see, although you can easily eat and drink everything you want to eat and drink all day long.  One day I will return to Egypt — I especially want to spend time in Alexandria, the Valley of the Kings and climb Mount Sinai.  It is a beautiful country!

We had an armed guard — his name was Sa’id.  He had a big gun that didn’t quite fit underneath his dress jacket.  I don’t see many guns in Canada so it was a little intimidating for me at first.  By the afternoon, we had gotten to know him and he was the nicest man!  Our tour guide was equally amazing — she gave an in depth accounting of Egypt’s history and the January 25 Revolution going on before our arrival.  At one point, Egypt had been removed from our cruise itinerary due to the conflict, but it was added back in.  We were actually one of the first cruise ships back.

I had this very romantic vision of Cairo in my head.  I think it was due to all the movies I’ve watched over the years.  Also, Cairo just sounds romantic.  It was the first extremely busy city that I was in.  According to Wikipedia, “The city’s metropolitan area is the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and the 15th-largest in the world.”  There were a lot of people, animals and traffic.

Citadel of Salah El Din

Standing atop Cairo’s highest hill, Mokattam Hills, this citadel was erected by Saladin between 1176 and 1183 CE and is at the heart of Islamic Cairo.  The massive fortress includes the Muhammad Ali Mosque, which was built in 1820.

This was the first mosque I had been inside and it is very large and colourful.  I was amazed standing inside and twirling around looking up and trying to take it all in.  It is stunning!  If you’re in Cairo, this is a must-do!

HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open daily, 8AM-5PM
Mosques closed during Friday prayers

TICKET COST:
Egyptian/Arab: LE 2
Foreign: LE 40
Student rates available

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Inside the Mosque was spectacular — being respectful of the culture, we covered our heads and removed ours shoes.  I need a better camera – these pictures do not do the Mosque justice at all.

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There were a lot of stalls outside selling items.  This young man here definitely had my number.  I bought a whole bunch of touristy things from him — he reminded me of my son when he was younger.

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What extraordinary views!

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Nile Cruise

The Nile is the longest river in the world, stretching north for approximately 4,000 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean. The lunch cruise was a lot of fun and we got to view a lot of Cairo!

Egyptian Museum of Antiquities

The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world.  It has more 120,000 artifacts housed in 107 halls, including the treasures of Tutankhamen.

This museum was the main attraction for me.  I had dreamed of walking through this museum and the artifacts were mind boggling.  It is definitely worth seeing if you’re in Cairo.  We could not bring a camera into the museum so I only got a couple quick shots as we were driving by.

HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
9:00 AM-5:00 PM during Ramadan

TICKET COST:
General Admission:
Egyptian: LE 4
Foreign: LE 60

Royal Mummies Room:
Egyptian: LE 10
Foreign: LE 100

Centennial Gallery:
Egyptian: LE 2
Foreign: LE 10
Student rates available

Evening Sound and Light Show

The Great Pyramids are the backdrop to this spectacular show. At dusk, the voice of the Sphinx recounts the history of ancient Egypt, while the lights reveal the Pyramids in all their glory.

Not a high point for me, but enjoyable seeing everything all lit up.  We hadn’t been there yet so it was exciting to see they pyramids in the distance.  I didn’t get good pictures at all.

I found the Doritos truck!!  I keep harassing @Doritos on Instagram and Twitter asking when Ketchup Doritos will be back.  No plans they say and I think I might now be on their list of crazy people.  I really need to start a change.org petition to make Ketchup Doritos permanent.  Look out Doritos!

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Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence

Wow!  At this point in time, this was the fanciest hotel I had ever stayed in.  The room was part of the overall excursion that we purchased.  Today online a Deluxe Room starts at $260 USD.

The view from the balcony.

I still have my slippers 🙂  I’m really a hoarder at heart — the TV show could devote an entire season to me and my collecting habits.  The bed sheets were divine!

Loved the bathroom!

The hotel was behind guarded gates.  It was hard not to see the difference between the people I was seeing from the bus as we drove around Cairo and the opulence of this hotel.

The Step Pyramid of Sakkara

The Step Pyramid of Sakkara is Egypt’s oldest pyramid. Built in the 28th century B.C. by the architect Imhotep for Pharaoh Zoser, it consists of six layers, and boasts an impressive colonnade.

Sakkara is one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Egypt.  It was the cemetery for Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt.

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This is Sa’id!

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HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open daily.
1 May – Ramadan: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
1 Ramadan – 30 April: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

TICKET COST:
General Admission:
Egyptian: 2 LE
Foreign: 25 LE
Student rates available

Sigh … I Got To Go Shopping

These days I have a travel shopping routine:

  • My friend Nadine gets a Starbucks mug
  • Folks get Harley-Davidson t-shirts
  • A Christmas tree bulb for myself
  • Something special for my son
  • I look for something for myself that was made in the country I’m in — you have to be careful with the souvenir stores and check where the item was made

In Egypt, I bought myself a cartouche.  What is a “cartouche”?  In the Rosetta Stone, the cartouche hieroglyph is used for the word “name”.  I had a cartouche pendant created spelling “Jackie”.

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The Giza Plateau (The Great Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx)

The Great Pyramids at Giza are world famous; the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, you can explore their interiors, while the Sphinx boasts body of a lion and the head of a human.

From Wikipedia:

The Giza pyramid complex (Arabic: أهرامات الجيزة‎, “pyramids of Giza”) is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.

This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers’ village and an industrial complex.

The pyramids, which have historically been common as emblems of ancient Egypt in the Western imagination, were popularised in Hellenistic times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  It is by far the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.

The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu and constructed c. 2560–2540 BC), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters farther south-west.  The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex.  Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre.  Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as “queens” pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids.

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I was able to enter the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three and constructed 2510 BC.

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Historians believe the Sphinx was built around 2500 BC, but not sure. Nor do they know his original name, Sphinx was given thousands of years later.

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HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open daily.
1 May – Ramadan: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
1 Ramadan – 30 April: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

TICKET COST:
General Admission: (Includes admission to the area and to the following monuments which are open to the public:
Valley Temple of Khafre
Pyramid of Hetepheres (G1a)
Pyramid of Meret-ites (G1b)
Pyramid of Henut-sen (G1c)
Tomb of Idu
Tomb of Qar
Tomb of Seshemnefer
Tomb of Sennedjem-Ib
Tomb of Pa-sen
Tomb of Ka-em-ankh
Tomb of Nen-sedjer-ka
Tickets for the pyramid of Khufu, the pyramid of Khafre, and the Sound and Light Show must be purchased separately.)
Egyptian: 2 LE
Foreign: 50 LE

Camel Riding

When we got to the spot when the camel rides were, I immediately met Moses who came over to talk to Kim and I.  Moses was teasing me by telling me he had 5 camels and asking to marry me.  He held my hand and walked me over to where his camels were.  Such wonderful people you meet throughout the world!  Trying to get up on the camel was hilarious!  What spectacularly hideous pictures of myself trying to do so!

I have naturally curly hair which I can’t do anything with in the humidity.  On the close up, you’ll see that it is very straight on the ends.  I had a treatment called a Brazilian Blow Out which straightened it.  It worked wonders, but was discontinued later due to the use of formaldehyde.  The ends are bone straight and then curly hair had grown back in.

Look at this much better picture of myself wearing my cartouche!  This was back on the ship for dinner.

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Princess Cruises Stock Pictures of Egypt

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