Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Day of the pyramids (Day 2)

Our first whole day in Egypt began by visiting some of the most magnificent buildings in the world. The number one reason for so many tourists coming to Egypt every year - the pyramids.

It was still early in the morning when I woke up and went to check the hotel room balcony view. Well, nothing to brag about, but here it is...

From the center of Cairo (locals call it Al Qahirah) we drove through the suburbs and visited Saqqara. Djoser's step pyramid is one of the oldest pyramids, built by the famous pharaoh's chief architect Imhotep.

Our next stop was at Giza. It is the most famous and at the same time also the most touristy place in Egypt. Little of the ancient romantic spirit is left in that place today. Some time ago one could climb each one of the pyramids and enjoy a romantic sunrise breakfast at the top. Loads of tourists have put this to an end and nowadays one is greeted by a walk-through x-ray, rope with signs forbidding close contact with the pyramids and a bunch of annoying locals trying to sell some "genuine first class souvenirs". Those were really annoying and with many tricks up their sleeves.
For instance, if you don't want to buy a T-shirt they go like: "OK, you don't have to pay. I give it to you for free. Consider it a gift from your Egyptian friend." I smelt something fishy and didn't want to play along. Some other people weren't so lucky. After a while (by a pure coincidence) their new friend found them again and inquired about a gift in return. Of course they had nothing convenient of them and had to settle for a money gift. Of course giving an already accepted present back was out of the question - what kind of a friend would do that? ;)

Regardless of all that the Great pyramid of Khufu (also known as Cheops) is still a magnificent sight. They say it could be put over St. Peter's basilica in Rome and cover it completely.

Next to the pharaohs' pyramids also stand smaller queens' pyramids. I was allowed to climb one of those. In the distance expanding city of Cairo could be seen. They say it is getting closer every day.

After a couple hours of trying to shake off the annoying locals, we went on to see the Sphinx.

Because of the non-proportional head it is nowadays believed that in the old days it has carried a head of lion. Many years after it was built, one of the pharaohs has supposedly ordered carving a head resembling his own image.

In the evening a walk through central Cairo followed. In one of the many street cafes I have tried my first sheesha (water pipe). I liked it a lot so it was not my last one.


Monday, 1 October 2007

Flight to Egypt (Day 1)

The whole thing started at Ljubljana airport, where we caught our afternoon flight via Istanbul (Turkey) to Cairo.

On the first photo is our last glance at Slovenia for 15 days. Alps can be seen in the background.

After a couple of hours we landed in Istanbul.
I usually try not to buy things at airports. I didn't do it this time either.
My two companions (my girlfriend and her sister) on the other hand could not resist the temptation. They just had to sit down at one of many cafes and order something.

You can see from the photo what exactly it was. I'm sure you would never guess the sum on the bill. Well, what is your best guess?
5 Euros? Wrong!
10 Euros maybe? Wrong again!
It was 42 Euros! 42 Euros for a cup of coffee, a Red Bull and a bottle of juice!

Later on, I have learned that Istanbul airport is supposed to be the most expensive airport in Europe! No shit!

We still haven't fully forgotten about all that, when around midnight we landed in Cairo and went to our Hotel. Sleep was the only thing on my mind. I don't know why, but airports always tire me out completely.


Friday, 28 September 2007

Egyptian uverture

I have been quite busy for the last couple of weeks. As you have probably noticed it didn't have anything to do with this blog - no posts for a while.
I will try hard to be good and post more often from now on.

I have decided to do a series of posts on my Egyptian adventure. I'll try to do at least one post for each one of the 15 days.

Here is a simple map of the trip. As you can see, we were on the move most of the time.

Some people thought I was crazy to even think about going to Egypt in August. It is the hottest time of year. It's not at all unusual for the temperatures to rise to 50 degrees Celsius and over during that time of year. So we were not really sure how will we be able to cope with all that heat.

Well, all went well in the end and we are not a bit sorry we went there in off-season.

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