Egypt: Cairo all to myself (and the other 23 million people who live there)

Heading into the centre at 6am from the airport when traffics light is a good idea. The centre is a network of one way streets and without GPS it would be very hard work navigating.

The first stop is Cairo City Central Hotel (10GBP) Once unpacked the plan is food then Egyptian museum.
One big advantage of being in Egypt at the present time is the lack of tourists at any of the main sites and the usually crowed halls of the museum are now eerily silent. Covered in dust and devoid of tourists it’s like a 1930s time warp and the treasures of Tutankhamen were all mine (and the security guards) for a period of time. Very tired having not slept the previous night I wondered the halls in a dream like state. No photos allowed.

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There’s a big problem with abandoned cars, some now quite collectable. Surprised the metal hasn’t been recycled.
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Fixing shoes on the street.. I wore them out!

Food
As ever, my main area of interest are the culinary delights, a few found below
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Breakfast.. Refried beans, salad, pickles, egg and as much whole meal pitta style bread as you can eat. All for 40p
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Egyptian pizza

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Indoor market

At the informal early breakfast club I met with Andrew, a retired Iranian born American and two Bahraini men, again retired. All enjoying the leisure opportunities offered by Cairo.
My day was a cycle tour around the main sites of the city. Cairo is a city for cars and not people, large highways cut through city and crossing them is impossible. Pavements are generally not for pedestrians and double even triple parking is the norm. Many of the backstreets are jammed by tightly pack of cars inching their way to wherever they want to go. Given all of this I still managed to visit much of the city with a bit of carrying and pushing!
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The Nile
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Typical Street scene
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Church
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Dedicated to the Saint who washed the feet of Jesus. Had an impressive reliquary; true piece of the cross, a thorn from the crown and section of the shroud.

City of the dead
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Peculiar mix of dead and living. The dead don’t want to be left alone so some mausoleums include living quarters, picnic facilities and whole families living there. I even stumbled across a wedding party, although it’s not the place where you should flash your camera about.

Sultan Hassan and Al Rifai mosques
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Very peaceful places. Sat and chatted to two Egyptian students and time flew by.
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View of the Citadel that overlooks the mosques

Old City
Very quiet in early evening and was mostly closed. Sorted for photo ops.
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After finding a suitable cafe for a deserved rest, I got chatting to the owner who invited me for supper at his house above. Very generous and kind couple.

Albert Palace
Given the political situation, previous looting of museums there is a very heavy police and army presence at all the main sites. Lines a armoured personal carriers, barbed wire and bored looking soldiers are ever present at sensitive and strategic points around the city. Not the sort of thing you should photograph!!
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Categories: Africa, Egypt | Leave a comment

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