Egyptian Museum and transfer to Luxor
In order to fit in a trip to the Egyptian museum before our flight to Luxor, we needed to be up with the larks, on in this case, the ibis. I thought I’d seen horrific traffic on our trip to Colombo, Sri Lanka, but that paled into insignificance compared to the Cairo rush hour. After numerous hair-raising, buttock-clenching moments we arrived at the museum entrance. It looks like any old British Colonial building from the outside and hasn’t changed much on the inside.
Dust everywhere and priceless exhibits displayed inside old wooden cabinets, secured by the world’s weediest padlocks. I’ve seen better on a suitcase. How on earth the museum has not suffered major thefts I’ll never know. Even the treasures of Tutankhamun were similarly displayed. Fortunately, modern Egyptians are busy building a new state-of-the-art museum in the vicinity of the Great Pyramids. Not only will the items be better housed, but tourists will not have to endure the hair-raising trip into the city centre to see them.
Papyrus scrolls, canopic jars, sarcophagi (I think that’s plural for sarcophagus?!) and royal mummies… we saw the lot on our whistle-stop tour. I was most impressed with Ramesses the Second. He must have been a very tall man in his day. To have ruled for 67 years, dying at the ripe old age of around 97 is impressive even by today’s standards.
All too soon we had to leave to travel back to our hotel (Mena House) to meet up with our transfer coach to the airport for our flight to Luxor. There was little difference between rush hour traffic and midday traffic but at least there were fewer buttock-clenching moments.
Our flight was unremarkable (thank God… I’m not the world’s happiest flier) and our transfer to the ship short. The MS Esadora was one of three getting ready to cruise to Aswan. How sad to see so many other ships in mothballs, just waiting for the tourist population to increase to the pre-Arab Spring numbers. For a country that relies heavily on tourism, a 50% drop in visitor numbers is catastrophic for the economy. The country is trying so hard to ensure our safety. We were heavily guarded everywhere we went.
Anyway, back to the ship. This was our very first cruise so Mr D and I had no idea what to expect. Our cabin was beautifully appointed, with a Juliette balcony to watch the Nile slip past. The welcome meeting split the guests into three tour groups for the week, each headed by a very knowledgable Egyptologist. A brief outline of the full week itinerary was covered. I had a sneaking suspicion that we would be up early most mornings to make the most of our tours before the temperature soared. Unfortunately I was right. Tomorrow’s wake-up call was scheduled for 6:30am! Hello! This is supposed to be a holiday where we rest and recharge the batteries!
Tune in tomorrow for part 3, Karnak and the Temple of Luxor.
PS – we took a copy of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, as you do 🙂