Hanging in Cairo
Trip Start Feb 28, 2013
10Trip End Mar 22, 2013
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Australian Hostel (140Le)
With our visit to Giza over and our train to Aswan departing on the 4th, we had a day to hang in Cairo. From Giza, we took a taxi to the metro stop for the ride into central Cairo and walked a few blocks and we were quickly at the front desk of Pension Roma. A group of architecture students from Columbia, staying for 3 weeks, had tied up the hotel. We had to go up few floors up the stairs to the Australian Hostel. Aussie is a super clean and friendly place with a definite hostel atmosphere. We needed a shower and by the time freshened up and got settled, it was too late to go to the Egyptian Museum. With 100000 items to look at, we figured we need more than a few hours there.
Back to Khan Al-Khalili Market
We missed the tent maker and fez maker areas on our prior visit to this big bazaar area. This time we walked over which took about the same time as our first in the taxi!
Over half the market was closed because it was Friday! The old medieval gates and mosques are there to look at. We had hibiscus tea at the famous El Fishawi's restaurant in the heart of the tourist section of the market.
Then Dave went into the Sunni Mosque of Sayyidna al-Hussein (women are not allowed). It is one of the most sacred in Egypt. Inside is Hussein’s mausoleum which is visited by lines of Muslims, kissing the wall, some almost sobbing. It is a holy atmosphere. Later we spoke to a man outside. He said there may not be any remains of Hussein, the revered holy man, inside at all. But one legend says his head was returned to be entombed here.
Just north of Khan Al-Khalili up Al Muizz li-Din Allah street are picturesque 14th century buildings containing mausoleums, a university and a textile museum. The main way is for pedestrians only so it made for a pleasant stroll. We want to go back and explore here again.
Finally, we made our way through the more common neighborhood with bakers where a line formed in front for fresh Egyptian bread. We were invited inside and everyone involved in the baking process had a few words or mimes to communicate with us. Yes, the hands came up at the end, for baksheesh. Nothing is for nothing in Egypt. We were invited to sit down with a bunch of guys socializing over smoking shishas at a shisha cafés. This is a wonderful part of Cairo, but enough for today and we made our way back to our hotel.