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Cairo, Egypt

June 5, 2009

…Day 37 continued

So we finally made it to our hotel in Cairo around 7 AM. We were very tired after all the traveling, so we took a few hours in the hotel to rest up.  In the afternoon, we took a short walk around the streets close to our hotel. Compared to a lot of other cities that we’ve been to, Cairo is very loud and the smog is overwhelming. When we went out, Lori wore shorts to her knees and a t-shirt which, in hindsight, was an obvious mistake. We got several dirty looks walking around and a couple of old men spit on the ground in front of us. After a couple hours of walking around, we went back to the hotel and took a nap (we were very tired still). We ate a quick dinner in the hotel and went to bed early.

Day 38

Through our hotel, we booked a tour of Giza and Saqqara. The guide that we booked through the hotel was not very good – he was sick and kept falling asleep, but luckily the pyramids and the sphinx kind of speak for themselves:

After getting back from the pyramids, we took a walk to visit the Khan el Khalili bazaar. It was amazing how crowded and packed in all of the shops were. The shopkeepers also seemed to know just about every language in the world, and they were constantly calling out to us in different languanges to have a look in their shop.

Day 39

In the morning, we decided to take the subway to Coptic Cairo, which is the area with all of the Christian churches. The subway was fast and surprisingly easy to navigate.  Luckily though, I had already read about the women-only cars that are in the middle of the train, so we knew not to get on those. It also only costs the equivalent of about 40 cents for a one-way ticket. Unfortunately, it only goes to limited places in the city, so this was the only day we were going to get to use it.

St. George seems to be important to the Coptic Church, because there were statues and churches for him everywhere.

St. George seems to be important to the Coptic Church, because there were statues and churches for him everywhere.

The Christian cemetary in Coptic Cairo.

The Christian cemetary in Coptic Cairo.

We arrived in Coptic Cairo and began touring the churches. There was a shrine and church dedicated to St. George. We were there on a Sunday, so there were services going on in all of the churches when we visited (lots of chanting involved). We also visited St. Sargius, which is supposedly built on the place where the Holy Family stayed while they were in Egypt. There was also a very large cemetary for Christian burials.

In the afternoon, we visited the Egyptian museum. Not to put too fine a point on this, but we both thought it was a rip off.  It was quite expensive and it cost quite a bit of additional money to get into the room with all of the mummies. We didn’t spend too much time there.

Day 40

A view of the Blue Mosque within the Citadel compound.

A view of the Blue Mosque within the Citadel compound.

Today we took a taxi to the Citadel, which is an old fortress overlooking the city. There are also two of the bigger mosques in the area that we got to visit. Along the way to the Citadel, out taxi ran our of gas. I had to help the driver push the taxi 2 1/2 blocks to the closest gas station.  I wish we had a picture of me pushing a tax around downtown Cairo, but alas, it was not possible to get one (cars were flying by pretty quickly on Lori’s side of the taxi).

A view from the top o fthe Citadel. There is A LOT of smog in Cairo.

View from the top of the Citadel. There is A LOT of smog in Cairo.

Day 41

So we’re heading back to the U.S. for a couple weeks to go to Kate’s wedding and take a small break in our Round the World trip. We left for the airport at 5AM (again, what is it with flight times in Africa).  We had a 5 hour flight to Paris on Air France which I find to be one of the more pleasant airlines. We then flew to Atlanta on Delta before connecting to Louisville.

In the past 2 1/2, we’ve taken quite a few international flights. So I feel I have some authority when I say that, among the various international carriers, I would rank Delta somewhere between “Last” and “Willing-To-Pay-More-Money-For-A-Different-Carrier.” Anyway, we arrived in Louisville that night. Good to be home.

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