This was one busy day, so I decided to divide it into two posts. Here is the first part.
Our second morning in Cairo started with our luggage being loaded onto the bus waiting in front of the Cosmopolitan hotel. The hotel staff who tried to arrange the luggage loading, failed the simple task completely. After half an hour watching two luggage boys walking up and down the hotel hall and waiting for who knows what, we loaded the stuff ourselves. That was not a problem at all, but a part of the deal at the hotel was also luggage transport to and from our rooms. So our guide wanted it to happen. It was the first real taste of Egyptian (non)efficiency.
During the wait I also observed a light bulb changing procedure on the lobby chandelier. It took 4 people, 3 of which were just standing around philosophizing. I must say the show was quite amusing.
After that we left the worst hotel of our trip behind (along with our little cockroach roommates). And it had 3 stars like all of the further ones. This tells you all you need to know about Egyptian standards.
Most of our day was spent at the Egyptian museum, which houses more than 120.000 relics and antiquities. It is well worth spending at least half a day at this place. Things you don't see in empty pyramid tombs are mostly on display here (along with the famous golden death mask of Tutankhamun).
Roughly one quarter of the museum (half of the first floor) comprises relics from the tomb of Tutankhamun. He is believed to be one of the least significant pharaohs, but his treasure is still unbelievable. One can't even imagine what amount of riches had to accompany the most important of the pharaohs on the journey into the afterlife. Those were all stolen by grave robbers.
You can't take almost anything inside. They even take away your camera - so no photos from inside the museum.
Our next destination was Mosque of Mohammed Ali. A huge fortified building, which took 18 years to build (1830-48). For me this was the first mosque I have seen from the inside. I liked its simple, yet beautiful decoration.
In the central courtyard it houses a chintzy clock. A gift from King Louis-Philippe of France in thanks for the Pharaonic obelisk that adorns the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It has never worked (supposedly it was damaged during transport). What a scam!
Next we were up for a surprise. It wasn't even announced in our trip plan, but it sure was interesting...