The first official tour day was an early one, we wanted to be at the Egyptian museum ready to walk through the front doors before it opened at 9:00am. Sherif knows all the little extras and made sure we would leave early enough to allow for slow traffic (guaranteed) and slow security/ticketing at the museum. We had a delicious buffet breakfast at the Oasis Pyramids hotel and got on the road in a full sized bus, heaps of room for the 17 of us and a security guard with a gun! Sherif was very informative on the bus ride and told us all about the housing, the people and the sights we were seeing out the window as we passed. He made sure we understood the tipping system, haggling when purchasing items, the current unrest in Egypt and how to keep safe.
We arrived at the museum, went through security and got our ticket from Sherif. I have to say the x-ray scanners are great for checking the bags but when every single person beeps going through the metal detector and they only check a couple of men here and there and none of the women then I am not sure that counts as complete security… Anyway another security check inside the door and we were in the museum, also note if you want to take photos you have to have a camera ticket or they take your camera and store it. Sherif took us around alot of the museum telling us about different pharaohs, artwork and hieroglyphs. It is a very big museum (soon to be even bigger when they move to the new site) so we ended up going back on our last day when the tour was finished to see the rest. We paid extra to see the royal mummy room which I’ll be honest was not really something I needed to see (cold and creepy for me) but worth it when you go all that way. Small side story – a girl on tour got trapped in a toilet cubicle there and had to climb over the top when some guy with tools couldn’t open the door (this just leads into a few other toilet incidents on tour!). We left the museum and headed towards the pyramids while Sherif kept us informed with everything we were passing and it’s history. We stopped at a petrol station to get some snacks for the road and the overnight train later that night before parking up by the pyramids. And what an incredible sight up close, this was half of the reason I had booked the trip to Egypt and it was amazing!
We took a camel ride out in the desert and had the most amazing views of the Giza Pyramids. The camel ride was great fun, I felt like my legs were holding on for dear life at the start but I eventually got comfortable. Our guide even let me go off on my own for a bit which is how I got this amazing photo up ahead of the group off and away with my camel.
We took some photos together, went to the third pyramid to take a look inside and walk down the very short tunnel and then on to see the Sphinx (much smaller than the pyramids to my surprise). At the end of the day Sherif took us to a restaurant by the pyramids where we could watch the sunset and have a group meal before the train ride to Aswan.
I won’t go into too much detail about the train, let’s just say you should have extremely low expectations haha…. it was interesting for sure. After waiting on the platform for a while we were just grateful to get on, then grateful to get out of our tiny cabins after a meal (could you call it that if you could only eat some rice and a bread roll as the rest was advised against by our guide earlier?) was given to us and into the bar car where we basically stood round in a group at the bar and played drinking games. We saw in Christmas day with a drunk middle aged woman singing and counting down to the 25th as if it were New Year. Then everyone slowly made their way to the chilly cabins and tried to get some sleep while the train violently shook and made all sorts of noises. In the morning I tried to open the door to get out of the bathroom and it wouldn’t open. Luckily another girl on my tour heard me and got the steward who asked me to stand aside and kicked it open so hard I thought it would slam back and get stuck again. What was hilarious about this is that once we got off the train and onto our bus I heard that another three people on tour had also been trapped in the bathroom at different times of the night with the same scenario of the man kicking open the door. Luckily all was well and we had made it through the night (with no shower since the morning before and having ridden on camels and sweated in the heat all day :D). Time for the Nile!