Our first full day of this cruise starts the way many Silversea cruises start, with a hotel stay in the port city. We start with two full days in Cairo at the Four Seasons Hotel. We gathered at 8:30 am with a guide to drive us to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.
The pyramids, built by the earliest dynasties of the 4000-year-enduring Egyptian empire in approximately 2500 BC are surprisingly close to the city itself. We arrive after a 1/2 hour bus ride.
See the pictures here: http://cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=3119
We are actually able to go inside the pyramids. Is there much to see? hardly anything at all, but how great is it to say you have been inside one the great pyramids? Plus the idea of standing in the spots where some of the world's very first builders and spiritual societies began is worth it all.
You have to kneel down like almost crawl for several yards, then you can stand up and walk, and then you have to kneel and crawl again. Not recommended for weak hearts as it is hot, stuffy and lack of oxygen in there. Finally you reach a room with a tall ceiling and a tomb, but nothing in it. You turn around andsgo back.
Next, we went to the Sphinx here you can see all three pyramids and the Sphinx at the same time. You get a sense of what these people must have been thinking at the time, the size, majesty and beauty of these buildings is overwhelmin. Icould go into the Egyptian history now, but it is so complicated. Suffice it to say, they were among the world's first true builders and they did it well.
The sphinx was built solely because there was a large limestone mountain blocking the view of the pyramids from the Nile, aqn an engineer was told to remove it, he said "why not just sculpt it?"
It remained buried untl the 1800s, when a digger discovered its face. They were going to just knock it down until someone said "why don't you see how deep it goes?" so they unearthed it. No it is being restored. Of course, nothing looks today l;ike it did back then, they were all actually covered in limestone and painted in different colors. All we see today are the shells.
Finally, we visit the Egyptian museum, where the have all of the treaures of Tutankhamen (which have been around the world) - oh my gosh!! a solid gold 22 carat throne, a gold gilded chariot, and the JEWELRY!!!
Then you see his coffins and his clothes, and all the artifacts he was buried with. Very cool. The actual mummy room contain the actual dried bodies of some of the most powerful pharoahs ever, including Ramses. And you thought seeing Lenin or Mao Tse Tung was a big deal. These bodies are in one piece, with finger nails & teeth. And they are 3500 years old (later dynasties).
And this is just day one. Please stay tuned for more "cruising in luxury". The Egyptian people are extremely nice. Of course the souvenir sellers are a little pushy, as in most poorer countries, but they are not too bad.
By the way, with Silversea Cruises you always have the option of arriving in your embarkation city early and taking tours of two or three day options are available. We arrived at the airport and had a driver holding our namecard, he drove us to ther hotel (where they have bomb-sniffing guards run through the van before they lower the steel barricades to let you in).
The hotel is on the Nile (see the pics) with a HUGE balcony from which you can see the pyramids ona clear day on the higher floors (not ours).
Tomorrow we head to the ship and the next day we sail through the Suez canal. Can't wait, everything is 5-start so far...