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Traveling to Egypt

After our wonderful day in Petra, we were worn out; luckily, the next day was leisurely, since we would be spending most of it traveling to Egypt. We rode to Amman, to the Queen Alia airport in time to board an afternoon flight to Cairo. The airport staff was so gracious that I want to make a point of noting how lovely they all were. Everyone seemed ready to bend over backward to please customers, and the place was well-ordered and quite clean. I’ve been in a lot of airports, and this one was quite exceptional! 🙂

Anyhow, we arrived in Cairo in the early evening and were met by the tour company, then driven to the hotel. Cairo traffic is pretty intense, so it took a while to arrive. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, because we had an early and full day in store.

Our first stop on the sightseeing agend was Memphis, once the capital of Lower Egypt. I was surprised by how little remains, architecturally. There are many artifacts displayed on the grounds, but there’s no sense that this area was once an important city. The highlight of the museum there is an enormous and exquisite statue of Ramses II; its twin is on display in downtown Cairo, as I understand it. It’s huge, but it has to be displayed lying on its back because it would be damaged by the weight of standing upright.

Apparently, Ramses II was fond of stealing other people’s statues and having his name chiseled on them. Here’s another example of a Ramses II statue (which I believe was someone else originally):

There was also a small sphinx on the grounds, near the building where the large Ramses II statue is housed.

There are various statues and relics scattered all throughout the site, so one weaves one’s way through it all, stopping to read the signs (such as they are) and take photos. My favorite depiction of an Egyptian deity was that of Hathor, the goddess of love, motherhood & happiness.

There were also a few sarcophagi on display, some of which still boasted very nice sunken relief illustrations. Here’s a close-up of a portrait of Anubis, the jackal-headed god.

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