DAY 12 – THURSDAY, APRIL 21
Today was our first full day in Cairo. After a wonderful (and fancy) breakfast, we left the hotel around 7:30. Our first stop was Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt. Although most of the city is underground still and not excavated, we saw some an impressive colossus of Ramses II (he reigned around 1,280 – 1220 BC).
Nearby was Sakkara. Here we saw a few things from the past. First, visited the tomb of Ka-Gmni. He was a nobleman who lived in the 6th Dynasty (2,340 BC). The details of the hieroglyphs and reliefs inside his tomb were amazing. Next, we descended into a smaller pyramid. The room at the end was where the sarcophagus as located. Lastly, we got a close-up look at the stepped pyramid itself. King Dozier was buried here, although the tomb and the temple leading to the tomb was designed by the famous Imhotep, the priest.
Following a quick visit to a carpet school and after a quick bite to eat at the “7-11” type of place (“On the Run”), we visited the famous Pyramids of Giza. There are three primary ones – Khufu (Cheops), Khafra, and Menkaura. The largest pyramid comprises of 2.3 million stones, the average weighing 2.5 tons. It rises almost 500 feet high. It is so big that standing close to it doesn’t allow to capture it on a camera. We climbed several levels of the pyramid before going further away for a more panoramic view of all three of them. Here we also enjoyed a camel ride.
Finally, we visited the Great Sphinx. It sits next to the pyramids. Leading up to the Sphinx is a temple where the body of the kings were embalmed. We read from Genesis 50 about Jacob being embalmed Egyptian style. The Sphinx itself is massive up close, about 100 yards long. It serves as the ultimate symbol of ancient Egypt with its lion’s body and human head.
One the way back to the hotel, we made a brief stop to an Egyptian jewelry store. A few had a cartouche made (names spelled in hieroglyphics). We returned to the hotel for some relaxing time before dinner.
We wake early tomorrow to fly to Aswan, about 750 miles south. This is where we will board our cruise ship for the next three days.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, APRIL 22: CAIRO AIRPORT, FLIGHT TO ASWAN, BEGIN NILE CRUISE, PHILAE, GRANITE QUARIES