Egypt Part 1 – Ramadan in Bustling Cairo

Pyramids, pharaohs, King Tut, the Sphynx, all these images I grew up with had me in a constant state of excitement during my two week trip to Egypt. How would the sites be? Would they live up to my expectations? Are the pyramids as grand as they seem on TV? Are the carved statues at Abu Simbel as massive as they seem in pictures? The answer is absolutely yes to all of the above!

From the moment I arrived in Cairo I was just thrilled to be in Egypt. Cairo is a bustling city of 20 million plus people and approximately 3 million taxis. Cars, six abreast, squeeze along on 2 lane roads! The initial challenge was learning how to cross the street. I soon learned to look out for any locals crossing and attach myself to them and this worked really well.

I was in Egypt for the last week of Ramadan so I got to experience both Ramadan and the festivities that followed. The positive aspect of visiting at that time was learning all about it on a day to day basis – plus, nobody was smoking. The downside was that a lot of sites visited were open shorter hours but the number of tourists was the same. When Ramadan ended the streets were filled with women and children out celebrating which was great fun as our day-to-day exchanges were most typically with men.

I had just 3 days in Cairo but it deserves many more. One could spend days walking the maze of streets in the Khan al Kalili bazaar and exploring all the exhibits in the Egyptian Museum. Other sights worth seeing are Coptic Cairo, the Christian area, and the Citadel, with fantastic views of the city and hopefully a glimpse of the pyramids.

The pyramids were amazing and took my breath away. Each one made with over 20 million slabs. You marvel at how they managed to build them and still there are no real answers to that question. The Great Pyramid (of Cheops) is open for you to go inside, as long as you do not suffer from claustrophobia or mind walking bent over uphill for quite a ways!