After a crazy semester, I’m excited to be traveling again, especially somewhere warm! This trip to Egypt was primarily for scuba diving (I will be LiveAboard-ing all next week), but I decided to squeeze in a guided day trip to Cairo form Hurghada, as well!
Wednesday, 20 December: After a long and stressful day of traveling on both ends of the flight, I arrived at my hostel and promptly laid down to get a few hours of sleep before my day trip.
Thursday, 21 December: As there is no public transit in Hurghada, the tour company picked me up at my hotel (at 12:30AM) and drove me to the bus station. I was expecting a private coach with fellow tourists, but it was Greyhound-like situation primarily with locals and my guide would meet me at the bus station in Cairo.
After about six hours of traveling (for most of which I was asleep), I arrived in Cairo. There was some confusion on when and where I would be picked up, but after a while, I made the connection with my driver. The driver took me to the pyramids area where the tour guide Fatma met up with us. On our way, we passed the construction site of the Grand Egyptian Museum, soon to be the biggest museum in the world, which I mistook for some kind of sports stadium!
Apparently, since the attack in Sinai, there have been a lot of tour cancellations, so I was the only tourist. First, Fatma showed me the three pyramids. After marveling at its majesty for a while, I elected to go inside the Great Pyramid. It was a narrow, steep and sweaty passage into the heart of the pyramid, where the sarcophagus used to lie. It was amazing to imagine what kind of history lies within its walls and its use in ancient times. Then, we drove closer to the second and third pyramids for a history lesson and pictures. Finally, we drove up to get a panoramic view of the pyramids, which would have been especially beautiful if it weren’t for the fog.
Still in the pyramids area, we visited the Valley Temple and the Sphinx, which also made for an interesting picture lesson and fun photo opportunities. Fatma made me do all sorts of goofy poses, but I’m glad she did! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten any pictures of myself in this wonderful land.
Then, we headed to a papyrus museum, where I was shown how papyrus was made and some additional information about the product. It really fascinated me and I was talked into buying a papyrus poster as a special souvenir.
After that, we headed to an aromatherapy place, where I was told about the ancient healing power of scent and given some samples. Even if I don’t quite believe in the medical benefits, the smells, which are pure extract untouched by alcohol, were incredible. Again, I was talked into getting more than I intended (four scents, including the exclusive lotus flower) but I can’t wait to use them. As you can tell, I’m a big pushover and can be talked into buying most anything!
After lunch, we headed to the Egyptian Museum, where Fatma gave me a quick tour of the highlights and fun gems that are easily missed. I’m glad I had her with me to tell me what everything is! Our highlights included King Tut, mummies (which were gross, but awesome) and rules of each kingdom. After that, I had a bit of free time to roam around the museum as I wished.
Before heading back, we got ice cream and I got the bus back to Hurghada, arriving back to my hostel at midnight again. It was a long day, but so incredible. I’m still trying to process the fact that I saw the pyramids.
Friday, 22 December: After a much needed lay in, I plan on using to day to relax before boarding the boat for my week-long scuba diving adventure. Stay tuned!