Without ever having on my mind plans to go to Cairo, the opportunity came to me in the right momento and with the right person.
A friend of mine, Robin, asked me if I wanted to join her to a trip to Cairo. She wanted to visit that city but she wasn`t allowed to go there by herself. So she asked some people and at the end it was just the two of us. She organized everything from airplane tickets, to hotel reservations, etc, and I have tos ay that she made a great job.
We spent 4 days in Cairo at a very nice and luxurious hotel. She also got some contacts of ome Egyptian friends of some friends. They were Bola and Marianne. He was such a nice friend, a perfect tourist guide. He made our trip one of the best trips I’ve ever had. He showed us both Islamic and Coptic Orthodox Cairo.
We went also to the ancient bazaar (marketplace) “Khan el Khalili” that dates back from 1382. This bazaar is incredibly amazing. It is located in the Islamic District and it is considere one of the Cairo’s main attractions for tourist and Egyptians as well. I have to tell the true: I fell in love with it. You can buy sooooo many beautiful things there you can’t even imagine. From gold and silver jewelry to spices, chandeliers, food, coffee, clothes, etc. Besides it has many restaurants, tea shops , food streets and coffeehouses. The oldest one is calles FISHAWI and is one of the most important meeting points for artists, writers and tourists in the city. That’s actually where we met our friend Bola for the frist time. As you can imagine, Khan el Khalili is really a big attraction, I’m sure you’ll spend lots of money there and you won’t get bored.
To write about Cairo in just a few words is really hard because there’s so much to se, so much to experience that words aren’t enough.
We went to the Egyptian Museum where there’s the most expensive collection of the ancient Egyptian atiquities. For example some faraonic mummies, several sculptures and manuscripts and the gold mask of Tutankhamun. In my opinión, it was nice to see all that, but what I didn’t like was the museography, everything was topped, there where too many things together.
What I loved to visit learn was about the Coptic Orthodox Church, because they are a minority in a very Islamic country. Also because I’ve read a book (The last Cato of Matilde Asensi) where one of the main characters is a Coptic Egyptian and I was always curious about that. Now I had the chance to get to know more about it. We went to the Coptic area and Marianne gave us a very well explained tour in a very good English. We went to the Hanging Church, the greek Church of St. George and St. Mark’s Cathedral.ç
Another experience I won’t forget was the boat trip on the Nile. It was during the night with all the lights reflected on the water, the stars in the sky, the Arabic music in the background. It was idyllic.
But I haven’t spoken about the pyramids of Giza, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Arriving there and seeing those majestic old tombs in the middle of the desert and knowing that they have been there for thousands of years make you feel insignificant, but at the same time it feels great to be so lucky to be there. It’s an unaccountable feeling. Obviously, as good typical tourists, we had a camel trip to the pyramids. I loved to ride a camel!!!!!!! I will never forget it!
Another thing I loved to do was to break some social rules… My friend and I entered with our Egyptian male friends into a bar that was only for men. I would have never thought about doing something like that, but as we were guided by two Egyptian guys and we were tourists they let us enter and the let us smoke hookah too. It was a great feeling to know I was breaking the rules in such a conservative culture: Now I can tell I was lucky to have that experience that none of the women in that country have ever had.
When Cairo comes into my mind, it reminds me a lot of feeling and tastes or smells, the chaos, the smiles and the good vibe of the people, the sand colored buildings, the call from the minarets to pray, the guava and mango juices , hibiscus tea, the delicious food, the Arabian music and lots of other things.
I’m so lucky to have had that travel experience and I thank my parents who helped me with money, my very good friend that invited me to join her and the nice friends made there.