Monday, June 23, 2014

Whirlwind visit to Cairo

Because Australia is so far away whenever I go overseas I want to cram in as much as possible, especially in the 3.5 weeks I got off work.

So when I was planning my trip to go to Switzerland for a Cousin’s wedding, I wanted to make good use of my time. I mean, who goes all the way to Europe just to visit one country, right?

Not me!

I had already decided that visiting Istanbul a must and so all I had to choose another contrary to go to before flying to Switzerland.

Originally I wanted to go to Morocco but Mum kept on saying it was too dangerous for a short white female to go alone.

But when I began to talk to my friend James in Egypt about my plans (by that stage Mum and Dad had decided to come too) it seemed like a perfect opportunity to visit him.

Typically, Mum began to worry about the political unrest and she thought we were crazy about going for such a short time but come on, I just want excitement!

But little did we know that that it would be a intense couple of days but that was ok as that is what travelling is all about. It was none of our finest moments travelling wise but, in hindsight, things could have been worse.

After our flight from Izmir was delayed we missed our connecting flight from Istanbul to Cairo. So after negotiating with Turkish Airlines (never again) we managed to get a later flight.

After surviving the ultimate red eye flight, we finally arrived in Cairo!

But because of the mix up our luggage got stuck somewhere in transit so it took an hour or so to try and sort it out with Egypt Air.

We didn’t let this spoil thing as it would all work out in the end and we were in Cairo to see James and the city.

After a short sleep we set out with our excellent guide James to see the Coptic area of Cairo as well as a ride down the Nile.

It was a really interesting afternoon and more history overload. It was good to remember that Egypt is more than the Pyramids.

The next day, we walked to Tahrir Square which seemed to be different to what it looked like on TV during the Arab Spring; it was just a big roundabout with many roads leading off to other parts of the city.
While we were there we visited the Egyptian Museum where there were more Mommies that we had ever seen in our whole and entire lives. They were everywhere, sometimes stacked 6 high. It was incredible!

We were warned to that there might be some people would try and tell us that the museum was closed or just open for locals and try and get us to go into a Touristy shop.

See what I mean about not being my finest moment? I fell for it. Papa knew about this but I just swept up in the whole idea about it being closed, I should have listened.

It was deemed too dangerous to go to the Pyramids so we went to a hotel with Pyramid views and we sat in their bar, drank wine and took it all in.

The final day in Cairo was soon upon us and sadly we had to say good bye to James. Thanks to his inside knowledge we were able to see a lot of Cairo that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Then there was the hand luggage saga but we won’t go there.

Luckily our luggage was waiting for us at the airport but retrieving it involved a fair amount of drama.   

First we had to wait for over an hour for some unfathomable reason, then finally Egypt Airway representatives would only allow Papa to go down to a basement room stacked with lost luggage and look for our bags himself.

He was gone for what seemed like hours (in reality, probably just 45 minutes or so) he returned with our bags. But in his absence we were imagining things that could happen to our papa, although we had nothing to worry about as he handled it in true style.

It was a dream come true to visit James in Cairo and it was a true adventure. It was travel at its most exciting.

Thanks for having us my friend, it was amazing.    

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