This morning we needed to catch the flight from Aswan to go back to Cairo, we came to Aswan from Luxor by the River Nile Cruise and it took us 4 days 3 nights. In the middle, we stopped at Edfu and Kom Ombo city. Aswan is a city in the south of Egypt, about 680km south of Cairo. It only takes an hour to fly back to Cairo.
Today we had a busy schedule, as we still have some places to visit in Cairo. We were going to have lunch at the Citadel view restaurant, visiting the Perfume Palace and then going for the supermarket to get some Egyptian snacks to bring back as souvenirs for our loved ones.
On the way to the airport, we passed by a stunning Coptic Church. The design from the outside seems to reflect a very grand and modern architecture.
Aswan Airport Review
It was shocked to learn that the Aswan airport is very disorganized, nobody seems to line up properly and queue cutting happens. A local tour guide from another group just cut in the queue and hand in a stack of passports for the counter to check-in for their 20 passengers. The staffs who work in the check-in counters were pretty slow and the lines just get longer.
At last, we managed to get on the flight and it was way passed the check-in timing, the plane was delayed for everyone to check-in and board on the plane. It was not a smooth flight as the plane was just small and the ride was a bit rough. It was Air-Cairo that we board on.
Cairo Airport Review
Cairo Airport has 3 terminals in total. T1 services for most international airlines and T3 is for both international and domestic flights. We were in T3. Our tour bus was waiting for us outside.
There are 20 million people live in Cairo’s metro area, making it one of the largest cities in the entire world. On our way to have our lunch in the Citadel view restaurant, we saw some of the interesting buildings and architectures in Cairo.
City of the Dead in Cairo
There are still many people living in poverty and one of the top places for the poor is the City of the Dead. It is a four-mile-long cemetery from the northern to the southern part of Cairo. It is the oldest Muslim cemetery in Egypt. The place is in very bad condition and rubbish and waste are pilling up. It is sad to see there are so many people who can’t find a decent home but have to stay here.
Citadel view restaurant
We had our lunch at the Citadel view restaurant, it has a beautiful setting with a nice garden.
The view from the restaurant is great overlooking Azhar Park landscape and Saladin Citadel.
I happened to bump into an Egyptian man with 4 wives at the park, they are friendly but the wives’ faces were all covered up.
We had the Egyptian bread or Aish Baladi, it has all the different dips for the local bread. The taste was ok, not as good as the view here.
The main course is rice with chicken and fries. The rice tastes different from our white rice back home, I think they saute with some secret ingredients before boiling the rice.
Cairo City is crowded, it has about 20 million living in this place. The city suffers high level of pollution and traffic.
Perfume Palace in Cairo
The ancient Egyptians love fragrances and we went to a place called the Perfume Palace. There were several stores in the building and the perfume section is located on the second floor. The store specializes not only perfumes but also essential oils. There are so many choices to pick from, over 50 if I am not mistaken. Some of the hot-selling fragrances are papyrus flowers, Cleopatra and lotus flower.
Once you choose the fragrances that you wanted to purchase, they will place it into the bottles for you together with the boxes. If you buy in bulk, it will be cheaper. As shown in the below picture, the smallest bottles at the far left cost USD 120, followed USD for the medium size and large size at USD 450.
Supermarket in Cairo
We requested to visit one of the supermarkets in Cairo and our wish was granted. We were sent to a big shopping center and inside the shopping center, there is a clean and comfortable supermarket. We managed to get some of our souvenirs and Egyptian snacks from the local supermarket. The prices are affordable for foreigners.
Strolling in the supermarket, we can roughly know the standard living in Egypt. One can of coke cost EP4.60 which is only about USD30.
- Please arrive at Aswan airport earlier, I would say earlier than 2 hours so that you don’t have to panic and get intimidated by the crowds and the messy system.
- The city of dead in Cairo is really incredible to look at but sad at the same time to see people living in those conditions.
- Perfume Palace is a nice place to learn about perfume.
- Food in the Citadel view restaurant was alright but the view was stunning.
- Supermarket visit was a bonus, we were able to see what the locals eat and cook. Also, we managed to get some local snacks to bring back home.