Cairo, via Istanbul

A day full of new. Of shifting, moving, adapting and finally settling.  Left ORD Friday night, and woke up 10.5 hours later in Istanbul not knowing what to expect.  We checked a couple bags into lockers (12 Turkish lire each), and caught the light rail and tram to Sultanahmet, where dusk settled beautifully over the Blue Mosque.  We had just a few hours in Istanbul, but immediately felt drawn to everything about the city. The chestnut vendors, the chai hawkers, the gracious shopkeepers, the brick paved streets lined with charming restaurants.  Istanbul is just stunning.  Our arrival in Cairo was quite the opposite.  Here, even the air is filled with expectancy and a sense of uncertainty vibrates from the ground through the soles of my shoes.  Young men cluster outside the arrival gate hustling fares.  The drive to Giza is also shrouded in a black desert night, sand pelting the windows like a harsh abrasive rain.  It’s past curfew, and we glimpse a few military trucks conveying young men with machine guns.  Ah, but then a warm, amazing welcome to the Gawharet Al Ahram Hotel, otherwise known as Husa Pyramids.  The front desk manager, Ahmed, upgrades us to a suite overlooking the pyramids and graciously offers to secure our sleeper train tickets to Luxor for later in the week (US $240 rt).  The suite is lovely and features a king size bed with a separate living room.  It is the perfect base for our adventures.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

P.S Since O’Hare, I have not had to lift my bags once.  How luxurious.

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