(October 21, 2011) Cairo and arriving to Athens
The whole morning will be available for visiting Cairo. The
principal visit will be to Archeological Museum. We have the option of
going to citadel as well, in case we havenīt gone before. Then we would
leave to the airport and lunch once there while waiting to board in our
flight to Athens at 14:10. It is scheduled to arrive to Greece capital
at 17:10. After checking in hotel, we would get some dinner in Plaka
and would go to sleep.
The spots marked at Cairo map are:
0- Hotel Isis
1- Archaeological Museum
3- Khan El Khalili bazaar
4- Train station
We’re having our breakfast at 9:00 in our hotel.
The views of Cairo downtown from this floor, at the top of a high
building, are shown to us at their best version.
At the other side of the building, we can enjoy amazing views
of the city too, but we can see what seems to be the average state of
maintenance of Cairo buildings. And we grumbled yesterday about this
At left of panoramic photo we can see the Nile, and at the
very left, ending the picture, a small part of a red building can be
seen: that’s the Archaeological Museum, our goal for today.
But this goal is in danger. When I talk to
receptionist for booking a taxi to the airport, I’m pretending leaving
around 12-12:30, but they have a problem with that: we’re told the best
is leaving at 11:30 maximum as, that way, taxi driver will be able of
doing his noon pray at airport’s mosque; if not, we will have to wait
for him to finish his pray here to go for our flight. I promise we will
do our best for getting the hotel as close as possible of 11:30. But
this takes time off this already short visit.
We’re fast enough on getting baggage ready and
checking out as per thinking being at museum just before 10:00. Once
out of the hotel, we must just go across a street one block far from
it, but as it is the back side of the building, we still must walk
along its width to get the entrance.
We’re quite light as we left cameras in hotel knowing they weren’t
allowed in Museum and we are quite lucky for the only street we need to
cross to arrive here, as a police stops the cars for letting us to
pass. So, we indeed are in front of the museum entrance a few minutes
A wall built at 20 meters distance of museum
limits creates a narrow street in front of the museum and hides from
our sight the famous Tahrir Square. We buy the tickets – 50 pounds each
– and pass across the railings. There are several military men here and
is a group of them the ones who break our tickets. At the stairs there
are a row of guides offering their services. The first come to us
speaking English and we refuse him in Spanish, then the Spanish guide
jumps to us and insists hard for being hired saying the visit is
useless without his services and doesn’t reckon the very short time we
have for it. They’re desperate to work.
Once in we go directly upstairs. We’re short of
time, so we’re going to organize our route following our personal
highlights. We’ve discarded the mummy hall visit, which saves 100
pounds per person; we’re going to Tutankhamun treasures as first visit.
Although I documented about visiting this museum, I really
understood Tutankhamun treasures exhibition needed another 100 pounds
tickets as the mummy hall does, but it is not. We can go into the dark
small chamber and celebrate the saving by taking some images of the
amazing golden mask – the icon of this place - with my iPod’s video
camera avoiding being detected by the guard.
When watching the video later, I could see my high
estimation error, recording actually a bunch of legs in a dark room.
I solved this mistake for the crazy – because of
its clandestine ways - video I recorded along museum halls, like the
two above, in front of Colossi of Amenhotep III and his favorite wife
We go to all spots I selected from my guide book map and go out from
museum quite tight of time. I take advantage of being out of the museum
for getting another video, once out of the rules forbidding it, from
which this picture is taken.
at the moment of getting the street through railings, the same military
men who asked us the tickets when coming in ask us for opening my bag.
I go pale as, if they’re looking for cameras, mine is just there, but
after checking inside they let us go. Now I think maybe they’re not
after pictures of objects belonging to the museum, but objects
themselves, which is undoubtedly worst.
We want to get the hotel fast, but the police is
not there anymore for helping us on our way across the street, so it’s
time to get it by the “local way”: avoiding the cars. We do it by
stopping sometimes in the middle of the street and taking advantage of
a low traffic moment.
We get the hotel then at 11:35 and the taxi driver
is already there waiting for us. We tell him we’re going to come back
down immediately and go up for the baggage. So we go to our room, take
the bags and I close the door with the key for delivering it in no
time. My parents have been fast too so we’re ready to go. Somehow, when
we’re leaving through the door we all can hear screams and hits on my
room’s door. It is Eva because it seems I locked my wife in our room.
The man use the key for opening the door and Eva’s freedom at once.
It’s hard to me explaining how, in my routine
inspection of the room before leaving it for being sure I don’t forget
of any shoe, or comb… anything! I’ve forgotten her.
So we leave Hotel Isis, a place which has fitted
perfectly in our plans, but still we will get contact from them in our
way to the airport as they called to the taxi driver to asking us for
the key of my room. They cannot find it and are asking us to look for
it, but I remember him it was delivered before he used it for get my
wife free from the room.
When we go out from the car to the airport the
driver gets his tip in time to go for his noon pray. After few seconds,
we already get a boy in uniform trying to drive us to the door for
Olympic airlines, trying to help us with the baggage and even pass the
security control in preference of the people on queue. As we are sick
of confounded bakshish and have spare time to spend here, we take our
place in the queue for baggage scanning and go into the airport. We’re
almost leaving this country full of contrasts.
We must do our passport control before checking in (that’s new)
and queues are long enough as per being grateful of having time enough.
After that, we check in really quickly and we’re lunching on a fast
food place with more options than burgers. We’ve got more time as our
flight is labeled as 30 minutes delayed.
We still don’t go to seat on our boarding gate as it has its own
security control and prefer go around for some shopping. I get a
Marlboro carton by 18€.
Two hours later, after a
peaceful flight, we’re back in Europe. We take our baggage and get a
taxi, which deliver us in front of Hotel Chic after three quarters of
hour trip in the middle of Greek night. We pay the price in taximeter,
which we round to 35€. I really expected to pay something more here.
We like the hotel and decide to rest in it until tomorrow
morning, when we meet early with our breakfast. We’re close to Omonia
Square, in an area known by night clubs with prostitutes, but they
cannot be seen on the main street where the hotel is sited. Somehow,
when I go to the roof for smoking a cigarette in absolute loneliness, I
can see the lights of this clubs in the alleys around the building.