DAY 15 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Today was our last day. It was a sunny and more comfortable day, with highs around 90. Leaving the hotel at 7:30, we first drove to Memphis, the capital of Egypt in the Old Kingdom. During the drive we saw just how poor these parts of Cairo really are. Although not even comparable to Luxor’s grand temples, we still saw some impressive statutes here at Memphis of Ramses II.
Close by was Sakkara, the stepped pyramid and the oldest of about 120 now found throughout Egypt. Following a visit to the museum (and seeing an impressive mummy), we first entered the ancient Egyptian tomb of Ptah, one with unbelievable wall reliefs of the greatest detail. Next, we entered into a smaller pyramid, descending down into it about 50 before coming to the sarcophagus far underneath. Next, we enjoyed a closer view of the Sakkara pyramid itself, the burial place for King Djoser (about 2,700 BC). To think this pre-dates even Abraham (by 600-700 years) is amazing.
Before leaving the area, we made a quick stop in a carpet-making school. It was very interesting to see and her how carpets are made.
The next stop was the famous Egyptian Museum. We spent about an hour and a half here, seeing some incredible artifacts from Egypt’s past. From statutes of Thutmose III, to the Hathor bull (e.g. “golden calf”), to the Merneptah stele (which mentions the ‘Israelites”), the most impressive was King Tutankhamen’s treasures. A special room is set aside to display the “golden mask” and other artifacts from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
After lunch (a quick bite to eat at Egypt’s version of our “7-11”), we drove to Giza (again a very impoverished area) to the Pyramids. With the largest of the three standing about 500 feet high, it is actually indescribable. Made of 2.3-2.5 million stones, each of the weighing around 2.5 tons, the pyramids live up to their “seven wonders of the world” status. After a panoramic view of them, we entered the third/smallest one. We also saw the Great Sphinx nearby as well.
We drove back to the hotel, but not before stopping in a Egyptian cotton stores as well as a papyrus store. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner together. We retired early since we all have to get up early for our various flights home.
It was a great last day here in Cairo!
DAY 16/17 – TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15-16: CAIRO, USA