After a very hot flight from London we arrived slightly flustered at Cairo, we’d met two other TDA riders on the flight, Liz and Ali, both from London. We were met even before the passports and visas by a TDA representative who sorted out the visas and passports then went to fetch trolleys while we waited for our bags and bikes to arrive, four bikes and six large bags later we were then shepherded through the airport and handed over to the next rep who then showed us the way to the waiting bus, our kit was loaded on board and then we took our seats for the short ride to the resort hotel. Our rep turned out to be a very well read bloke and told us all sorts of interesting things about Cairo, some I might even remember 😉
It was well past midnight local time when we arrived but it didn’t stop us from ordering beer and food, while we waited for it to arrive we took the opportunity to sort through our kit. Food devoured, beer sadly put away in the fridge and kit sorted we retired to bed, it was 3.00am !!
The following morning saw us sleep in well past breakfast, oops ! We finally surfaced, showered and went in search of coffee, that done we started to take a look round the resort, we walked towards the pool and saw two guys with bikes on the patio. We went and introduced ourselves, the two guys were both TDA mechanics, JJ and Catalin we had a quick chat, then as they were there we decided to fetch our bikes and get them rebuilt, as we were working away several other TDA riders came and introduced themselves, John from New Zealand, Nix a nurse from Cambridge, Luke, Volter from Australia via Germany, Suzanne from Germany, Caroline from Belgium to name a few !!
After putting the bikes back in our bedroom we had a bit of lunch and ended up sitting with another rider, Stig from Norway, good bloke and like us getting nervous and excited 😉
After lunch Naomi took herself off to read while I went to reception to use the Wi Fi , I’d just about finished when I met up with John the Kiki and a friend of his called Alan, another TDA rider form Canada but living in Africa at the moment. We chatted for a while then decided to head to the bar for a beer, I collected Naomi on the way and we joined John, Alan, Volter and Anne at a table, as you’d expect the conversation revolved around cycling and the forth coming trip, were we mad or just naive, who knows !! As the evening progressed some people left and others joined, Caroline, Suzanne joined first then Alan left then Sylvie and Eerin from Switzerland arrived just as Volter said goodnight. It was a good night and it was great to meet and put names to people already, apparently there are fifty riders leaving from Cairo doing the full trip and seven doing the first stage, got a lot of names to remember yet !!
Tuesday 8th January 2012
Off to see the Pyramids !!
Our second day in Cairo and were off to see the Pyramids, we’ve hooked up with Caroline and Suzanne whom we’d already met and two new guys from Canada, Alex and Jan, Suleman is our guide and our first stop is the bank to make sure we’ve all got Egyptian pounds !!
Next stop, The Pyramids of Giza, impressive sight even from a distance but when you get right up close they are huge !! We paid the extra and went inside the largest, very narrow and long uphill ramp until you reach the burial chamber, damn that was incredible, nothing prepares you for the stunning simplicity and the sheer size. It’s also amazing just how smooth the walls are and how large the stones that make up the space, especially the ceiling, the span is immense !!
We also went to the plateau where you can see most of the pyramids and if you like up you can ride a camel, no thanks, been there, done that !!
I did manage to get a few of the silly photos, me with the pyramid in my hand, me eating a pyramid etc, also got one of me and the guard 😉
Next up the Sphinx, again, seriously impressive especially when you consider how long ago it was carved and therefore how long it’s survived even if it has lost it’s nose ! More photos before were back on the bus, we were expecting to go straight to the museum but as per usual there was the sales pitch, this time it’s a perfume factory / shop ! All very pleasant I’m sure but when we told the guy what we were doing, cycling to Capetown I think he knew there would be no sales 😉
Lunch is our next stop and we chose the buffet, good choice as it happens, a wide variety of food on offer and very tasty it was too 😉 we didn’t hang about to long as we were anxious to get to the museum, we did however stop at the square where the revolution kicked off and took a few photos, burnt out buildings etc, all very edgy at the moment hence our security guard complete with machine pistol under his jacket, nice to know that Egypt takes its tourism so seriously !!
Finally we made it to the museum where our guide gave us a fantastic potted history of Egypt while all the time we were itching to get to the Tutankhamen exhibit. We got there eventually and boy was it worth it, the amount of artefacts they pulled out of that one burial chamber was enormous and some of them are incredible. The workmanship is fantastic and I’m sure there are people today who wish they could replicate it, the colours, design and intricate detail are hard to put in to words, suffice to say I was impressed !!
Two hours or more at the museum was all we had time for, it would take weeks to see all the exhibits and to read all the cards but we had to get back to the hotel, we have a riders briefing tonight, it wouldn’t do to miss it !!
A great day out and a fantastic start to our African adventure 😉
The Cataract Hotel in festive mood, Egyptian Christmas is January 7th !!
JJ and Catalin, the two TDA mechanics on the tour, very helpful guys 😉
Naomi putting the finishing touches to the Captain !!
The view of the pyramids from the hotel 😉
Don’t need to tell you what this is !!
The camel jockeys touring for business, looking out over Cairo !
That bloody woman gets in all my photos 😉
Four out of the nine pyramids at Giza !
Some silly photos of me and the pyramids 😉