Egypt: pharaohs, perfume, pyramids and… Traffic.

Today we are in Aswan, after a long 14hr overnight train journey from Cairo. That’s now my third sleeper train journey in Africa (others being Nairobi to Mombassa and Harare to Vic Falls) and this was probably the nicest – although food was better in Kenya!

Our full day in Cairo had been hectic to say the least! After an early morning breakfast, we headed off toward the Egypt Museum. Cairo traffic (more on that later) meant we all had to hop off the bus for a quick stroll through the infamous Tahrir Square, where protestors were still camped out. The Egypt museum is just off the square, with the burnt out remains of the old regime’s offices looming behind.

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The Egypt museum definitely exceeded my expectations, and after gazing at all Tutankhamen’s tomb finery, I picked up a few ideas for my own khans in Oathbreaker! One of the most impressive items was a tiny statue of Cheops, the only visual representation of the great Pharaoh there is.

After lunch at Adelino’s perfume shop (and more delicious mint tea), we headed toward the Great Pyramids at Giza. After plenty of shots from a high viewpoint of the entire Giza complex, we all clambered aboard camels for a lift down to the third pyramid. It was a great ride, but not so long that it got really uncomfortable!

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We were luckily able to enter the third pyramid, which was quite eerie – even if there wasn’t that much to see inside. Just the thought of being in the tomb was enough to make my pulse race, and later standing next to the smallest pyramid of the three, you can’t help but be daunted by its massive size. Let alone its two big brothers.

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We watched the sunset over the Sphinx (no riddles were posed, much to my chagrin) and headed back to the hotel for showers and relax before our overnight train journey. At least, that was the plan. Cairo traffic had other ideas. In the event, we ended up racing along the platform at 8.01 (train was due to leave at 8), yelling at every train guard to let us on! Mercifully they took pity on us and we leapt on board, backpacks in tow, in the nick of time. Luck is on our side!

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