03 February, 2015

Egypt, Day 3

At last!  The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  This is a place I’ve dreamed about visiting for years.  Very unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us take photos inside, so you’ll have to make do with some images I’ve pulled from online. We arrived in the morning and while there were a few crowds, it wasn’t anything major. 

We walked around the first floor and saw some amazing pieces.  First up was the Narmer tablet.  Narmer was the king who united upper and lower Egypt and began the first dynasty. 

Next were a few statues that I remember from art history classes.

After a few more lovely pieces it was time.  We headed upstairs past some jewelry and there it was.  The first outer temple of Tutankhamun.  When Howard Carter opened the tomb in 1922 they had to open three progressively smaller temples to get to the riches inside.   I must admit it was an emotional walk past these objects I’ve seen photographs of and studied as a child.

Near the shrine that housed the canopic jars I could finally see into the room with Tutankhamun’s mask and coffins. 

Finally let into the room, I can only gaze in wonder.  Even with the recent articles about the damage done to the mask, I find it perfect.  

The two sarcophagi that are in the room with it are equally breathtaking.  Which hardly leaves room to mention the jewelry and myriad other objects kept in this one room.

After a time too short to ever really comprehend what we were all seeing, it was time to move on.  Past royal beds made famous in the black and white photos from Howard Carter's team to the statues and thrones carelessly heaped in the tomb.  Each object at last given it's place in the light.  

Beyond the Tutankhamun section there  were mummies and rows upon rows of painted wooden sarcophagi.  We managed to cover about 1/10 of the objects housed in the museum.  And though you aren't allowed to take photos, one of my more daring friends snuck a few.

Outside in the garden are many "lesser" sculptures left for people to touch and climb on.

In all we spent about three hours in the museum.  Hopefully that tells you just how much is kept inside.  Then we hopped back on the bus and headed into traffic on our way to lunch and then the citedel and the mosque of Muhammad Ali.  On the way, we past a group of people in front of a government building gathered to protest terrorism around the world. It was a moving sight.

Lunch was again in a charming local restaurant.  We sat at a long table running the length of the room and had some of the best falafels I've ever eaten.

Back into insane traffic once again we headed to the mosque.  Built as a replica of the blue mosque in Istabul, it's a beautiful gem setting atop a hill overlooking all of Cairo.

After returning to our hotel we decided it was time for a pre-dinner cocktail on our balcony.  Nothing will ever beat that view.  

We also headed over to the hotel restaurant for a few great shots of the back sides of the pyramids while the sound and light show was happening on the far side.

That's the end of another stunning day I Egypt.  I've also managed to catch up on the blog so hopefully tonight will be right back on schedule.  We have anothe full day today ending with a lecture and dinner with Dr. hawass.  We may also have a surprise guest for dinner , but that will have to wait until tomorrow.  safe travels!

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