It was a usual working day in the beginning of 2015. Everything looked pretty much normal on a lazy Monday. Then I was invited for a meeting which I wasn’t prepared for: they laid me off after almost seven years working in this airline. I called my ‘bro-friend’ (my soul brother) who is a flight attendant in the same company a few hours later to tell the news. Instead of saying he was sorry about this, he said “let’s go to Egypt to celebrate my birthday!”. “Are you crazy?” I said, but a few minutes later I issued my ticket to Cairo. And the incredible journey was about to start…
One week later we boarded to Cairo from Sao Paulo, Brazil with a long connection in Doha, Qatar. I’ve never been to the Middle East, never tried their food, I had a brief idea about their culture, I couldn’t speak a word in Arabic and I had no idea about what I was about to experience and I wasn’t aware this would be one of the best trips I’ve ever gone!
We stayed in a hotel in Giza and our room was with the Pyramids view. Was that real? I saw them on movies and on my History books and now I could see them from my room balcony… It was a dream coming true!
The first place we’ve been was The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo. Every corner, every detail got me goose bumps, I was seeing so many things I’ve studied about when I was in high school. And now they were in front of me! I saw the famous Tutankhamen collection with its beautiful gold death mask and sarcophagus and so many awesome Egyptian artifacts. This museum is a must go, even if you have a few days in Cairo, like me.
Leaving the Museum, our guide took us briefly to take some photos with the Nile River in our backs and some sightseeing.
Our second day, we went to Giza to explore the most we could. There we can see the Pyramid of Khufu or the “Great Pyramid” and the “Pyramid of Cheops”, the smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren), the Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinus), along with a number of smaller satellite edifices known as “Queen’s pyramids”; and the Great Sphinx of Giza. For exploring all this area, it’s necessary to ride a horse or a camel and you can rent them with guides – be ready for giving tips by the end of this tour, they are not included in the rental. During our horse ride, we could get into the Pyramid of Cheops (you have to purchase a ticket to get in) and it was a claustrophobic experience. There is a small stairway to get into the Pharaoh’s Chamber and you need to squat while you’re going through it. During the night, we went to the Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids and we learned about the history of Ancient Egypt and the story of the Sphinx, guardian of the Giza Necropolis for over 5000 years. Also, our guide drove us to the Egypt Papyrus Museum and we could buy some stunning paintings. You can request special paintings or have your names written in hieroglyphic or Arabic on the papyrus as a souvenir, this will be surely a great memory of your trip to Egypt. I love mine!
The third day was a trip to Memphis, 20 km south of Giza. According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes and it was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. There we visited the Mit Rahina Museum, an open-air museum built around a stunning fallen colossal limestone statue of Ramses II. In this museum you can also see an alabaster sphinx of the New Kingdom, two statues of Ramses II that originally adorned Nubian temples, and the huge stone beds on which the sacred Apis bulls were mummified before being placed in the Serapeum at Saqqara.
We didn’t go to Saqqara but we saw the ruins from the road. It’s a place we want to go if we come back there.
Besides the incredible places we visited, we could taste the amazing Egyptian cuisine, and I recommend you to try some like the falafels, shawarma, roz bel laban (rice with milk), and the sweet konafa.
This unexpected trip was the highlight of a new episode of my life and I’m so thankful for everything I experienced there. People say that what makes you happy is not buying things, but traveling as much as you can and collecting memories. The places and the people we met will be forever in my heart, so I strongly agree with this affirmation and I’ll always be thankful to my dear friend who took me to this adventure!
I really want to come back once again with more time and complete my bucket list. For my next time, I would definitely go to Old Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima), Cairo Citadel (Citadel of Saladin), the Pharaonic Village, Nile Cruise, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh and Alexandria. So, who’s with me?