Giza Pyramids and Sphinx

Finally it is time to start seeing the goods. Today is the busy sightseeing day but first it is the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.

We start early with a drive where we go by the new Egyptian Museum (soon to be open?) and we can see the pyramids off in the distance.

New Egyptian Museum

After looking at the pyramids at a couple different angles it is time to climb on in.

The crowds inside were not as bad as I had been led to believe. It could be because there was some men outside limiting the amount of people who could enter at one time. One guy acted as a sort of guide for us by telling us when to go where and then he rushed us out. After we left it seems like he wasn’t there in an official capacity and we probably could have just ignored him. He was looking for tips at the end. I guess it did help keep it less crowded inside but I didn’t like my experience rushed.

Just a plain black room inside. Not very exciting but I did the thing (went inside).
Camels hanging out.

Also we had the option of visiting the tomb of Seshem Nefer Theti.

Soon we get into the car for another vantage point to see the sphinx.

The sphinx is under repair and the don’t let us get too close.

After our stop at the sphinx our guide took us to a location where we had a demonstration on how to make papyrus. Finished products were for sale of course but I did not purchase any.

Some glow in the dark!!!

Finally we broke up the day with lunch. Our guide asked us where we wanted to eat and we assumed he would take us somewhere to get something locals eat. He suggested Mc Donalds and we all thought he was joking. Turns out he was serious. He stopped at McDonalds for lunch in the interest of time. Oh well, it happens some times.

Cappadocia Red Tour

A couple days after my not so great green tour I take the Cappadocia Red Tour. I thought I may have overreacted a couple days ago but after taking the red tour with a different vendor I know I am correct in my opinion. The red tour is well organized and the guide is very personable. His name is Sonny and he made our day sunny.

First stop is a view of Uchisar Castle.

Next is Goreme Open Air Museum

A favorite of mine in the Open Air Museum is the Dark Church. It is a separate ticketed option but well worth it in my opinion. The artwork inside is very nice (no photos allowed).

Love Valley

I have no idea why they call it that. <sarcasm>

Avanos pottery demonstration

The pottery is nice but it is way too early to start weighing my backpack down so I forgo any purchases.

Then we stopped at lunch. I don’t remember what I ate but I had to try all the desserts on the buffet.

Before we went back out sightseeing we stopped for a silk demonstration. It is interesting to learn how silk items are made.

Aaaannd the demonstration of the rugs. Some are nice enough to tempt me but they are so expensive. I just can’t purchase one….especially with no job and no permanent place to stay.

After the tough sell we stopped at Devrent Valley where there are a bunch of rocks that look like things.

A snail?

A hand

On the left it is supposed to be two people dancing

Finally we finish out the day at Paşabağ

Great day, great tour guide. All the magic of Cappadocia in one day.

Ephesus

Ephesus is an important Greek and then later Roman city. It was an active river city for commerce but over time diminished due to receding waters. It was also further destroyed by invaders and earthquakes.

I’ve been to Greece, I’ve been to Rome, and I have seen all kinds of ruins elsewhere but Ephesus is up there in impressiveness.

I ended up downloading Rick Steves Ephesus audio tour and I am glad I did because the labeling and descriptions weren’t the best.

I catch the minibus from bus station in Selcuk which is not far from my guesthouse. They drop you off the opposite way you logically want to go. Once I entered the gates I pushed through the crowds of tour groups to get to the start on the other side.

It is a hot and crowded day but I don’t let that get in the way of admiring this town.

Everything in Ephesus is impressive but my favorite is viewing the terrace houses which is a separate ticketed entrance.

Not only is it covered from the sun and less crowded but you can get an idea on how the people (rich) lived back in the days. For them to be so close to the commerce they were probably pretty wealthy.

El Capricho de Gaudí

During my northern Spain road trip I scheduled a stop at El Capricho de Gaudí in Camillos. Comillas is a small town along the northern stretch of Spain. It is busy with day trippers like myself but the big drawl is Gaudi’s work.

El Capricho is one of his earlier works and one of the few outside Barcelona. He was working on his craft but this is definitely the most “normal” of works I have seen by him thus far.

Greenhouse

Hallway around the greenhouse. Nice use of natural light.

That wood!

He designs furniture too

More Gaudi

Fatehpur Sikri

After 25 miles from Agra lies some very interesting sandstone buildings in the city of Fatehpur Sikri. It was capital of the Mughal empire for a time during the 1500’s. The ruler Akbar had multiple wives of different religions because of that you can see a mix of faiths in the design and architecture.
I love the integration of all the different symbols on the walls.

The central pillar of Diwan-i-khas

Panch Mahal

Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience

“Life” designs not seen in too much Mughal architecture.

This is a bed. So high!!!

Queen’s Palace

A squirrel buddy at a nearby tree.

Jama Masjid (mosque)

Tomb of Salim Chishti