TRAVEL THERE: SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST?
This trip to Egypt was one best thing after another, but our day in Old Cairo was special for many reasons. Let’s get started!
A Long Wait
During my 1996 visit to Egypt, my niece had plans to take us to the churches in Old Cairo, but those plans were always for bokra (tomorrow) and bokra never came. I really didn’t know what I was missing. I was so focused on getting to the Pyramids and the Cairo Museum the churches weren’t even on my list.
This time things were different. Old Cairo was on my radar and the research I did told me not to miss it. It also told me not to let anyone squeeze it into some part of a day, but to keep demanding the outing needed its own day.
First, Bill and Ayman tried to squeeze it into the day of the wedding, but I said no. Then they suggested I see it on the day we transferred from the Fairmont to the Mena House. I kept saying no. Then I was somehow supposed to drive from Alexandria to Cairo, see the churches and get on a plane. Nope that wasn’t happening either. I’m only occasionally stubborn, but on those occasions, I’m very stubborn.
The Cairo Museum
And speaking of stubborn. Remember Zuzu, our guide to the Pyramids? Well, he was back for a repeat performance. And remember how he was determined to take us to Giza before we went to Dashour or Saqqura? Well, we had the second stanza of that. We were going to the Cairo Museum before we went to Old Cairo and that was that.
I have been to the Cairo Museum and unlike my first trip to the Pyramids, my visit to the museum trip was very satisfying. I felt like I had the time on that trip to process everything I saw. If I lived there, I would go to the museum on a regular basis. Since I didn’t live there, I wanted to spend my time doing new things. That didn’t happen. So here I am out in front of the Cairo Museum with Zuzu listening to whatever it is that he wanted to tell me about the museum.
Old Cairo, Finally!
Old Cairo is very, very old. To impress this fact upon us, Zuzu started with this ancient fortress. It was known as the Fortress of Babylon in the early AD years and once the Nile flowed through it. That’s important later on in the story.
The Old City is a warren of churches. There is St. George’s Church and Covent, The Hanging Church, St. Barbara’s, Abu Sargus Cavern Church and a Synogogue. It gets a little confusing, because some of the properties have changed hands several times. Several have been rebuilt several times. As I researched this part of the trip, I imagined having to walk great distances to see these various sights, but they are actually cheek to jowl – right in the same place.
Next week we’ll go start touring the churches. You won’t want to miss that!