Egypt is a magnificent mess. With breathtaking landscape and a glorious history, it is a destination that everyone should visit in their lifetime. Unfortunately, modern issues overshadow its past splendor. The recent plane crash solidifies its tumultuous reputation and it will be years before tourism is back on track. We’re thankful we were able to view these wonders and grateful to the many Egyptian people who kept us safe during our stay and infused us with enthusiasm for their remarkable country.
To try and see as much as possible safely, we enlisted the help of Encounters Travel who hooked us up with an itinerary of a lifetime! Their thorough safety procedures sealed the deal for us and their local guides were knowledgeable, passionate, and brought a unique perspective to both modern and ancient Egypt. Hold onto your hats and travel with us back through time.
We arrived in Cairo and got settled into the Mena House Hotel. What a history and what a view! The hotel was originally a sultan’s palace and it looks the part! If that doesn’t impress you, the view will.
We began our tour just outside Cairo in a city called Memphis. This was an appropriate introduction because Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom (3000 BC) and today has an incredible open air museum that houses a gigantic statue of Ramses II (he’s arguably the most powerful of all the pharaohs ever. So, a pretty big deal).
Next, we headed northwest of Memphis to the home of the Saqqara necropolis, a National Park and the burial ground of the Old Kingdom. We saw the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, which is the oldest complete stone building complex in the world. At Saqqara, we also visited our first tomb! And WOW. Covered in hieroglyphics from 5,000 years ago, it was humbling to see.
After a morning building up our early pyramid knowledge, we were ready to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza. Despite all of Egypt’s ancient treasures, these structures steal the show. They are the only remaining Ancient Wonders of the World and left us speechless (no easy task). How can stone be so gorgeous?
Next to the Great Pyramids is, you guessed it, the Great Sphinx. Wowza. There are many a sphinx in Egypt, but this one overshadows all others. Its Arabic name translates to "The Terrifying One" and it stands as a monstrous guard to the Great Pyramids. It is built out of a single piece of limestone and is the largest statue of this type in the world.
We were exhausted and dusty after our whirlwind tour of Cairo, but there was no time to rest! Next up, one of our favorite cities in Egypt. Luxor!
That's What We Did in Cairo. Click Here to read What We Learned!