Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel, Bazaar & Eqyptian Museum

Day 8

Lisa and I finally got to sleep in; well kind of. We set our alarm for 7 am to be packed and downstairs for 9. We rolled out of bed at 7:30 and got ready and packed. We headed down for the breakfast buffet in our hotel, remember the one we had just a few days ago but couldn’t find a free breakfast?

We headed back to our room and snacked on some beef jerky and granola bars that Lisa had packed for these types of situations.

9 am we met our guide downstairs and jumped into the van and headed for the Alabaster Mosque which is located in the citadel, which is the old army barracks of Cairo. It didn’t take long as the traffic was fairly light. We drove through the citadel gates and up to the entrance of the Mosque; where Lisa, I and the guide got out.

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel, Cairo, Egypt

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel, Cairo, Egypt

Our guide took us around to the side where we entered the courtyard of the temple. The size and detail of the Mosque were really quite impressive. The building was built by Mohammad Ali, a Turkish man who ruled over Egypt in the middle of the nineteenth century. Our guide said that the design of the Mosque resembled those in turkey. We looked around the courtyard for a while and then proceeded to the entrance of the Mosque.

At the entrance we could either remove our shoes or buy a pair of slippers to put on over our feet. Lisa and I opted for removing our shoes. We walked into the Mosque to be surprised by its sheer size and beauty. The Mosque apparently took 10 years to build and another 8 for all the paintings and drawings within the temple. It’s really a masterpiece of art; there is a gigantic chandelier that hangs from the ceiling that has 365 lights hanging from it – one for each day of the year.

We took a few photos and videos within the Mosque and then sat down on the floor. Our guide then explained how the Mosque functions and how the ceremonies are carried out. She then opened the conversation to questions, Lisa and I had a bunch, not just about the Mosque and the Muslim religion but just about everything in general. We sat on the floor for a good half hour and talked.

Court Yard at the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel, Cairo, Egypt

Court Yard at the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel, Cairo, Egypt

After the talk we got back up, took a few more photos and left the Mosque in all its glory.

We headed back to our tour van that was waiting for us in the parking lot and hopped in. The next stop was the Bazaar which the tour guide claims hasn’t changed all that much since the 4th century. The tour bus pulled up to the front of the Bazaar and dropped Lisa and myself off. Lisa wanted to get a few souvenirs for her family so this was definitely the place to do it. Lisa already had an idea of what she wanted so it made shopping pretty easy; if the shop didn’t have what we wanted we took off.

Eventually after a few shops Lisa found one that had what she was looking for. We bargained with the shop keeper for a while. But in the end we got something a little different than what we had originally gone in the shop for. By this time it was almost time for our pickup so Lisa and I walked back down the narrow crowded streets surrounded by hundreds of these little shops no bigger than 4 x 10.

We got back to the van and made our way to the last stop for the day, the Egyptian museum. Again we got dropped off at the entrance by our driver as there was nowhere to park. Our guide then took our tickets and told us that cameras were not allowed in the museum. Thankfully they have a camera drop off near the entrance, so we just put our camera gear in there. We then entered the museum where one of the guards actually stopped Lisa to check her bag – they detected stone and wanted to see what it was that she had, which was one of the souvenirs we had just purchased in the bazaar.

Giant Chandelier, Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

Giant Chandelier, Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

The museum consisted of a lot of sarcophagus’s and statues on the main floor and then all of the objects removed from Tutankhamen’s tomb on the second floor. Also some other smaller pieces from ancient Egypt. We went through the main floor first, where our guide took us to see some of the more unique pieces in the museum and explained each of them to us. There were a few neat pieces that she showed us. One room contained some of Nefertiti’s stuff, like a bed, jewellery box and bracelets; it wasn’t like anything we’d seen on the trip. I hadn’t realized that the Egyptians were so advanced.

Our guide then took us to the second floor were all the pieces that were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb were located. Our guide quickly showed us through the collection and led us to a room where we could see the kings gold head piece and solid gold sarcophagus. Our tour was pretty quick through the museum but then again the museum isn’t all that large and there are several pieces that are very similar; there must have been at least 100 different sarcophaguses in one area of the museum.

At the end of the tour our guide gave us the option to see the mummies for an additional 20, a person but we opted out. Because our hotel was right across the street from the museum our guide had given us the option to browse the museum by ourselves for the rest of the Afternoon; we thought this was a good idea since it was only a little after 1:00 and the museum didn’t close till 6:00, plus our pickup from our hotel was at 9:30.

Bazaar, Cairo, Egypt

Bazaar, Cairo, Egypt

After our guide left, Lisa and I walked around for a bit but then Lisa started to feel really sick. We found a place to sit and Lisa sat for a while. I decided to explore some more of the museum. When I returned to check on Lisa 10-15 minutes later, she said she needed to get out. It was pretty warm and humid in the museum, so we thought a little fresh air might help, but it didn’t.

I grabbed the camera gear from the little drop off place outside the museum and then Lisa and I made our way back to the hotel. Getting back to the hotel was a bit of a challenge, we had to cross one minor road and one major road, which was an off ramp of the freeway before getting to the hotel. It ended up being easier and a lot more fun than it looks.

Back at the hotel we no longer had our room so we sat in the lounge area hopping that Lisa would start feeling better. After sitting around for an hour Lisa thought some food might help so we headed across the street to Rotten Ronnie’s where Lisa had a double cheese burger, milkshake and I had a Big Mac with fries all for $7.

After McDonalds we went back to the hotel and sat in the lounge area again.

There were some couches in the lounge area that Lisa and I were eyeing up, but the people in them were not leaving. Eventually after an hour or two the people got up out of the sofas and Lisa and I quickly swooped in to grab them.

Lisa took a nap while I read a book. Later on Lisa started to feel better but by then it was a little late to head back to the museum.

We spent the rest of the evening people watching and relaxing on the couches till our pickup at 9:30.

At 9:30 our driver showed up and loaded our gear into the van then we were off to the airport. Waled our host couldn’t get through traffic so he called us through the drivers cell phone. Traffic was pretty heavy to the airport and I thought it would take a while to get there but it only ended up taking 40 minutes or so. At the airport we were supposed to be greeted by a host but we never ended up finding anyone. It wasn’t a big deal in the end; it was easy enough to get through ourselves.

We had passed through security and were standing at the gate when all of a sudden someone at the airport came in and said the gate had changed. So we had to walk a fair distance to another gate and go through security again, by this point I was glad to be leaving Egypt and was just hoping South Africa would be much better.

Our plane left Egypt around 1:00 am, as soon as we were on the airplane the cabin crew gave everyone a meal, I ate some of it and Lisa ate very little, we were both really exhausted at this point. After the meal the lights went out and both of us fell asleep.

When we awoke it was 7am and we were about 2 hours from Johannesburg. The crew handed out another breakfast which was cooked to the bottom of the plate and was pretty gross. Lisa didn’t eat anything and I just nibbled on the egg and wiener. Not too long after we touched down I Johannesburg, Lisa and I headed straight for the wash rooms. It was great to have a clean wash room and toilet paper without having to pay for it.

It took Lisa and me quite a while, so by time we got to the immigration line it was massive. Here were several other planes that had landed at the same time and there must have been a few hundred people in front of us; it took us about an hour and a half to make it through immigration. The only positive about the long wait was that our bags were easy to spot as they were the only ones left on the carousel.

Leave a Comment