Already when my mother arrived at the airport of Cairo, we had to deal with the intrusive taxi drivers. A thankful rejection of their offer they usually disregard and insist, until you have to hunt them down really violent. At the beginning you can bear that to some extent. Over time, your nerves burn. Like everywhere else in the world, drivers are trying to raise prices. Not exactly a nice start in a new country.
On the first day, we first visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and experienced a positive surprise. The management had issued a photo permission for all visitors in December. Of course we accepted that thankfully. It is the world's largest museum of ancient Egyptian art and contains works from various eras of ancient Egyptian cultural history. It was built in 1900 according to the plans of the French architect Marcel Dourgnon in neoclassical style. The opening took place in 1902. The exhibition covers two floors with over 100 halls and 150,000 artifacts. Most of them are completely dusty and the whole presentation is more reminiscent of a Brockenhaus than a museum. The condition is quite thoughtful. With little resources and professional support, you could get a lot more out of the whole.
Of course, a visit to the pyramids of Giza should not be missed while you are in Egypt. Once you have driven out all intrusive camel and carriage drivers and bought a ticket (the ticket office is neither signposted nor written) you are right in front of the pyramids. They are the only surviving of the Seven Wonders of the World and have been World Heritage Sites since 1979.
The pyramids arose between about 2620 and 2500 BC. In the 4th Dynasty.The largest and probably the most famous pyramid is that of Pharaoh Cheops. He reigned about 2620 to 2580 (according to another source to 2604 to 2581) v. It was built from around 3 million stone blocks, each weighing 2.5 tons, and was completely clad in limestone blocks.
The middle of the three pyramids is that of Pharaoh Khafra. He ruled from about 2558 to 2532 BC. It is even larger than the Great Pyramid of Cheops because of its small size and height, about 10 meters higher, and its peak rises above the top, which is why laymen often believe it to be the Pyramid of Cheops. North of the valley temple and the causeway of the Chephren is the 73 m long sculpture of the Sphinx, which was carved out of the upcoming rock. The smallest of the three pyramids is that of Pharaoh Mykerinos. He ruled from about 2532 to 2503 BC. Chr.
The dimensions of these structures are breathtaking. I was particularly fascinated by the precision of the buildings. How the ancient Egyptians could build these pyramids so accurately without modern gauges is really a miracle. Reassured, we observed that local tourists were also harassed by souvenir sellers and coach drivers.
I did not want to do a trip by train or bus to Luxor to my mother. That's why we decided on a domestic flight. Until our flight we had 2 days left and found after a long search a hotel in the city center. An Iraqi who has been living in Switzerland for a few years now and is currently in Cairo on business helped us to lower the room price a bit. He wanted to know how we feel about the Egyptians. I told him that they are often not honest and therefore they develop a great mistrust. He was able to confirm this. In addition, many make a pretty resigned impression. Since the revolution in 2011, there is great uncertainty. Mistrust and resignation have since become a major part of everyday life.
We took the metro to the old town of Cairo to visit Chan el-Chalili. The market, located west of Saiyidna el-Husain Mosque, is considered to be the largest in Africa and was founded in the 14th century as a caravansary and trading post on the site of a former Mamluk cemetery. The name goes back to its client, the Emir Dsch (ah) arkas al-Chalili. From there we walked to the citadel. The Citadel of Saladin (Salah al-Din) is one of the few remaining fortified fortifications in the city of Cairo. The citadel complex was built between 1176 and 1183 AD by the Ayyubid king Salah al-Din in order to defend the city of Cairo better against the crusaders' attacks. Only for about 20 years, the citadel is open to the public.
Since we were the only foreigners on the domestic flight from Cairo to Luxor, we were allowed to fly First Class in the front row. That's what I call a service! At the airport of Luxor the brazen taxi drivers followed us outside the area. Only when we shrieked loudly did they leave the field. The Egyptians just do not understand when it's enough.
The first trip to Luxor we did the following day. On foot we went to the temple complex of Karnak. The oldest remains of the temple still visible today are from the 12th Dynasty under Sesostris I. Until the Roman Empire, the temple complex was repeatedly expanded and rebuilt. Outstanding among the ruins are the Temple of Amun-Re with its total of ten pylons, the largest of which is about 113 meters wide and about 15 meters thick and has a planned height of about 45 meters. The total area of the temple is about 30 hectares. In addition to the pylons, the large portico, begun by Haremhab and completed under Seti I and Ramesses II, is particularly impressive. We were amazed and spent almost the whole day in the area.
Walking through Luxor without being approached by any Egyptians trying to sell you anything is really difficult. With time you lose the desire to lead any conversation at all. Only in the hotel you can reasonably relax. But even there you will always encounter difficulties. Especially with the cleanliness, the Egyptians are not very accurate. We chose extra the pricier hotels to get around this problem. However, the owners are usually even bolder than in the cheap accommodations. You do not even flinch when talking to them about the problems. Through all these circumstances we slowly lost the pleasure of traveling. It does not surprise me that tourism here in the country is experiencing such a collapse. The Egyptians finally have to learn to treat their guests like ATMs without providing anything in return.
We decided to draw a line and flew back to Cairo. There we spent New Year's Eve again in front of the pyramids.
On New Year's Day, I accompanied my mother to the airport. Despite all the circumstances, the time was extremely eventful. Thank you mum for everything!
I got on the night bus to Dahab the same day. There I try to recover a few days with snorkeling in the Red Sea from the exertions, before it goes back into the desert.