A previous trip to Cairo in 1989 with three days to explore plus two days now still didn’t allow enough time to finish up the itinerary and visit the Nilometer. Just ran out of time. A week just in Cairo would not be enough. I’d suggest spending several days before beginning your Egypt tour and then tacking on several days at the end. Touring is exhausting and it’s difficult to assimilate facts towards the end of the day. Hindsight is always 20/20 and this is on my Egypt agenda for next time (think positive that there will be a “next time”):
- The Nilometer is a unique historical site used to measure the flood levels of the Nile River. It was on the “to see” list after Bab Zuwelya but closed at 5:00 p.m. and we were too late. It was built in 861 and remains mostly original except for the roof. The column is graded, divided into 19 cubits (a cubit is slightly more than half a meter) and capable of measuring floods up to about 9.2m/30′. An ideal flood filled the Nilometer up to the 16th mark. Less than that could mean drought and famine. If the measure exceeded 19 cubits, there would be catastrophic floods. Doesn’t the Nilometer sound interesting?
- Spend most of the day inside the Khan el-Khalili really exploring the small streets along with time to schmooze with shopkeepers and browse the different wares. And an hour sitting in a cafe while people watching would be the icing on the cake. A few hours just didn’t do the Khan el Khalili Bazaar justice.
- Have time to actually walk through the Old Cairo section that leads from Bab Zuwelya to Khan el-Khalili. The distance isn’t that far and from what we saw, the entire area around Bab Zuwelya was fascinating…View image…View image
- Have enough energy left to take a Nile evening cruise in Cairo on one of the many boats for a different perspective. There are even feluccas available for this.
- Visit Abou Rawash, three miles northwest of Giza, to visit the unfinished pyramid of Khufu’s son, Djedefre. The interior is exposed and shows the techniques used to construct the pyramid and cut the burial chamber.
- Take in the Sound & Light performance at the Pyramids. Called “tacky” and “cheesy” by some, we enjoyed it years ago and would gladly sit through it again.
- Revisit Coptic Cairo on my own, this time armed with the literature relating all the details, go in and out of all the churches and browse the lanes.
Last, I wouldn’t mind at all combining everything above with the extra 4-5 days in the desert down to Kharga, and then spend a few days chilling out in Luxor and revisiting some sites.
Sounds like a plan to me….