. . .Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy. . .
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy. . .
-- 59th Street Bridge Song
We set out on foot – one of our favorite ways to explore any place -- but especially Cairo, Egypt where we spent three mid-December days. Past the entryway Christmas tree that greeted guests at the Cairo Marriot Hotel -- cleverly built around the historic Gezira Palace – we were off to revisit the Zamelik neighborhood in which the hotel is located.
Just past the guard house at the hotel’s entry gate – with its armed officers and a leashed German Shepherd that check all arriving vehicles - we were greeted by a bevy of taxi cab drivers each offering ‘a good deal’ to the Pyramids and Sphinx or anywhere we might want to go. They spoke English and didn’t badger once we explained we were going no further than our feet could take us.
|Cairo Marriott Hotel entryway is part of the old palace|
This is the second time we’ve used Cairo as a ‘gateway city’ from which to return to the United States after a stay at The Stone House on The Hill. So both times we’ve arrived here from our laid-back rural area of Greece and have been jarred by the sheer size of this city with a population hovering at 20 million. The sprawling megalopolis is often blanketed in morning smog, traffic is continuously horrendous, and yet it has such a charm that it keeps bringing us back.
|Gezira, means island, and that's were we stayed in Cairo|
|Gezira island - Wikipedia photo|
|Can't always walk between parked cars in Cairo|
|The displays in this store are a work of art|
|No doubt about what this store sells!|
|Eateries tease with aromas and displays|
|A florist shop display extends into the street in Cairo's Zamelik district|
|Roasted yam, anyone?|
Bread and roasted yams brought a new meaning to ‘fast food’.
|Bread for sale|
|A secret garden filled with flowers and statues|
|Mansions and villas lined some streets|
|Other streets had high density housing|
*First, is to be educated about where we are. We read up on the place in advance of our arrival. Novels set in the area provide a bit of history and contemporary color, guidebooks, travel blogs and on-line articles and traveler’s reviews are all part of the pre-travel research we do. We heed the advice of others. There are Cairo neighborhoods we wouldn’t explore on foot - just like there are places in Miami, Chicago and Seattle we’d avoid.
*We get a city map from the hotel concierge, discuss where the hotel is located on the map and where we are thinking of walking. We heed his/her recommendations and warnings.
*We dress conservatively and try not to call attention to ourselves. In Cairo that meant wearing long dark pants, not jeans, and shirts with sleeves. I wear or carry a scarf just in case I need one to cover my head and shoulders to enter a mosque. As much as we love our sports teams back in the Northwest, we would never wear sports logo clothing when traveling abroad. Nothing targets you more as “American” than a bright colored tee-shirt with a sports logo emblazoned on it.
*We carry local currency in small denominations in case we do need to catch a taxi back to the hotel. If the map doesn’t have the hotel’s name and address on it written in the local language we carry a business card with it on it on the off chance we find ourselves needing to ask directions.
*As much as I want to snap photos, I limit the times I pull out the camera or phone. That is another act, that screams out "tourist". And I ask permission if a person might be identified in the photo. Besides being considerate of the individual, this saves embarrassing moments as I’ve encountered some who say yes to a photo but want to be paid for having their photo taken. . .I don’t pay for photos.
|The Nile from the Marriott hotel|
That’s it for this week. This is our last post of the year for 2016. We thank you for joining us on our adventures this year and look forward to new destinations and experiences next year. The time you spend with us is always appreciated! Our wishes for a happy and healthy New Year ~
Linking up this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
ahhh...love the fruit...the beautiful flower market...ReplyDelete
the beautiful buildings...how exciting to see all the places most of us only dream about. xoxo
It really is such a magnificent city with warm and welcoming people. It is too bad that terrorism can shake such a place in its shoes and impact so many good people so negatively. I do hope more travelers return! Thanks for the visit, BJ! xxxxDelete
Love the feeling of (tripping?) and "kicking down the cobblestones" alongside you and getting a glimpse of the daily and street life in this very foreign city. I'm using your posts for part of our research into a visit to Egypt and each story piques my interest more. Wishing you and Joel a 2017 complete with an accessible Greek consulate, a resulting Greek visa and a whole new direction to explore! :)ReplyDelete
Anita, you two are going to love Egypt. . .it was as enchanting this time as it was the first (I always have a bit of hesitation, hoping that I haven't built it up in the memories and then will be disappointed when I go back but Cairo didn't let me down.) We do have a trip down a 'long and winding road' ahead of us this year which will hopefully take us in some new directions (and probably provide a few laughs along the way!) Happy New Year!! Let's try for a visit this year in the real world~Delete
Thankyou for this insight into Cairo and for the travel tips. It is a place I would love to put on my travel list, but I think I might need to go with a guide. I do think though that exploring on foot really takes you into the heart of a place and is the best way to absorb the culture.ReplyDelete
Also thank you so much for your support during the year. Like you, my family and friends don't bother looking at my blog....though my cousin I know visits as she occasionally will comment. Blogging has certainly expanded my world contacts - and places I would love to visit. Yes, I think my blogging contacts know me more than my face to face friends. LOL
Happy travels. Enjoy your trip home. And I hope to see you back in your Greek stone house on the hill very soon! All the very best for 2017. Happy travels and happy blogging.
Happy New Year Jill. Glad you liked the post and glad you are part of my world!Delete
Happy New Year, Jackie and Joel! All the best in 2017. You know how much I love Ciaro. Your fruit stand photo is fantastic. Thanks for linking up week to the last Travel Photo Thursday of 2016. Someone please tell me what happened to 2016? :) #TPThursdayReplyDelete
It is so nice to know that others loved Cairo as well. Sadly most of our Northwest friends simply roll their eyes when we talk of its wonders! Happy New Year!Delete
Jackie, your expert tips on travel are always so useful and enlightening, especially to destinations that are in the spotlight for whatever reason.ReplyDelete
Wishing you and the Scout a very Happy and Healthy 2017!
Oh Poppy you are always so kind with your comments about my posts. Thank you for continuing to come back and be a part of our adventures. Hugs to you, JackieDelete
I love your description of "your" neighborhood. I didn't like Cairo mostly because of the traffic and the smog, but I can see that looking at it on a smaller scale in a nicer neighborhood would have its charms.ReplyDelete
The traffic is overwhelming there, that's for sure and the smog is pretty amazing as well. We had one morning where we woke to no smog and actually wondered what was 'wrong'. Happy New Year and continued Happy Travels!Delete
I liked your insight into the suburbs that you frequent in Cairo and the tips you give for how to behave in the city to not draw unwanted attention.ReplyDelete
Thanks Jan. Always nice to see a comment from you on the blog!! Hope we meet face-to-face one day. Happy New Year to you and yours~Delete
I've never been to Egypt. Have always thought I should use Cairo as a gateway city from Cape Town to Europe. It would be such a bonus! I will save your expert travel tips for my future trip :-)ReplyDelete
Oh yes it would be a fun gateway and even if you stayed out near the airport we hear there are magnificent shopping and entertainment centers in the area that are worth a visit - we've never had time to do so. Do let me know if you stop in Cairo sometime.Delete
Glad you are back in a city you like a lot. The photo of the shop with the animals hanging in front me reminds me of my recent explorations in The Bronx. Tons of businesses have the entire animals hanging behind the counter or on the window displays. #TPThursdayReplyDelete
I am not a fan of butcher shops with the 'full meal deal' on display or of fish stores that show the entire fish - somehow I would rather not think of them as once being a living, breathing creature. But it does make for some interesting photos, doesn't it? Thanks for the visit Ruth and Happy New Year to you!Delete
Such vibrant street life. Maybe I should look into Cairo on my way to South Africa next time.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year!
I just had another comment about doing that very thing. I think you would find it most interesting -- certainly a shock to the system after your beautiful southwest open spaces, but well worth visiting! Happy New Year Gaelyn and continued Happy Travels!Delete
I really liked this look at regular life in Cairo. Usually, all I hear about is visiting the Pyramids. This city looks both "normal" and unique in its own way. That photo of all the fruit is terrific. You offer up really good tips on staying safe. Somehow, I never thought of running my plans by the hotel concierge to get their feedback. I'll have to remember that in the future.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed this one Michelle. We don't always run our plans by the concierge or desk person but have found in cities like Bangkok, Yangon, and Cairo - places so overwhelming large and exotic - that we do touch base just to make sure we aren't doing something stupid in our quest for unstructured.Delete
The butchered animals hanging there is just a bit too "real" for me. I prefer my meat wrapped in cellophane and sold at the grocery store!ReplyDelete
Great shots by the way.
Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/01/church-of-primacy-of-peter.html
I am with you! I'd rather buy the cellophane wrapped package and not think that it was once a living breathing creature. As always, enjoying the link up.Delete
Great collection - my favorite is the flower market and architecture.ReplyDelete
Hi Carol, so glad you enjoyed the walk through Zamelik today! The area's street life is fascinating and my photos didn't do it justice.Delete
Looks like a wonderful interesting travelng.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year from Germany
You asked about torn photos: they are real paper photos, which I tear, I'm always working on paper and scan the finished sheets.
Happy New Year back to Germany from the suburbs of Seattle where our US home is located. Thanks for explaining the torn photos - that is fantastic!Delete
I love the look of an open market with a myriad of products for sale.ReplyDelete
Thanks for a little stroll through Egypt.
I suppose if I really thought about all the smog that blankets the city and the blowing sand, I wouldn't be tempted by any of those items, but somehow I found myself wanting to buy a bit of everything! Thanks for the visit ~ as always, its appreciated!Delete
So glad you had a chance to reconnect with Cairo again. It's such a wonderful city.ReplyDelete
As long as we are able - and the city is as safe as it is - we will definitely be returning to Cairo! Thanks for the visit and comment Cindy!Delete
It looks like a vibrant and exciting cityReplyDelete
It is definitely both! Thanks for stopping by. xxx JackieDelete
Beautiful view od the Nile.ReplyDelete
Thanks much! Glad you enjoyed the view. . .it is a pretty spectacular river!Delete
Thanks for your comments about walking around Cairo, and more specifically about safety. We are considering a trip to Egypt this year and can make good use of that very sound advice of yours.ReplyDelete
Our view is 'stuff' or 'things' happen everywhere these days. Look at the tragic event at the Fort Lauderdale airport. . .as an example. If we lived in fear of what might happen I suspect I'd never leave the house. You do need to use common sense in Egypt but I think you'll find the place is warm and welcoming.Delete
I am one of those people who would love to go back to Egypt but the safety issues concern me. That and the fact that Egypt can be a lot of hassle. I'm looking forward to your post on safety. I will read it with interest.ReplyDelete
We've not found that much 'hassle' with Egypt although the first time, as with the first time to any large city, we felt like Dorothy as she made her way to OZ . . .everything was so very 'different' but it was that same 'different' that now keeps drawing us back for more. Thanks for commenting Lyn!Delete
Love the food photos - especially the colorful fruit. Egypt has long been on my list of places I would love to visit. Every time we think about going there is some unrest for tourists that makes me rethink. One day I know we'll get there and what an adventure it will be!ReplyDelete
This post transported me back to many years ago when I visited Cairo and stayed at the Marriott! One of my favorite trips!ReplyDelete