Thursday, March 20, 2008

First day in Egypt: The Pyramids

After some days back in the Netherlands, it is time to talk about Egypt. Naoko and me went there backpacking from 7th to 16th March and visited Cairo, Gizah, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Luxor and Thebes and Hurghada. It was really intense and we did tons of walking. We went by ourselves, without using any kind of packaged tour and that probed to be the right decision!

The first day we arrived in Egypt, it was at night and we could only see around our hotel in Cairo, near Ramses train station. From the airport, instead of taking a taxi and paying 10 euros, we sticked to our principles and experienced the real egyptian way: a 20 euro cent bus. Much cheaper! ;-) It was our first contact with local people and we could notice something which would repeat elsewhere; tourist don't like mixing with local people and the consequence is very little tourists use public transportation. The result is people are very surprised with tourists in their buses and find it funny. Besides, they try to be helpful and make your stay as pleasant as possible. One guy even paid for our tickets in a bus in Luxor! By the way, getting into a bus is quite a challenging experience, since many are just minivans going where the driver wants to... you have to stop the van and ask the driver if he is going to the place you are heading for.

For the second day (first full day), we hired a car with driver (25 euros) and went to Gizah, Saqqara and Memphis to see pyramids.

Below you can see the typical images of the Sphynx and the Great Pyramids!

There were also plenty of camels around!

After a few hours, we went to Saqqara, the place where the first pyramids were built. There we visited some tombs, temples and pyramids. The most outstanding element of the complex, the stepped pyramid.

To wrap up the day, we visited Memphis, the traditional capital city of Egypt. Now, there is nothing there appart from a museum. Inside, there was a fantastic statue of Ramses II and other sculptures and statues.

At night, we had dinner by the Nile river and took a night train to Aswan, the southernmost city in Egypt.

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