So I have to confess something here. These two collective days wandering with Haitham have been two of the best days I’ve had exploring Cairo. I’ve just felt very free to go anywhere, as long as Haitham’s there. It’s not a safety concern, but traveling with a male fluent Arabic-speaker quashes all my getting-lost-anxiety. Plus, Haitham is an intrepid explorer and willing to go anywhere, which was great fun!
So after we finished at the two mosques, we decided to walk to Khan el Khalili, which involved us walking around the mosques, down the main street, asking a few people directions along the way, and finding ourselves facing a crowded narrow street full of sounds, smells and sights galore that would allegedly lead us to our destination!
As you can see in the pictures, the street led us through markets and shops, past vegetable stands, bread sellers (we bought some more for tonight’s dinner), fruit sellers, loofah sellers (Haitham bought a huge one for 1EGP (~$0.17) and said they were the best around – I neglected to follow his lead, so now I’m on the lookout for the loofah man), past unitentifiable meat sellers, past someone selling just feet (yes, just hooves), and sadly past a lot of live animals for sale, including bunnies, ducks, pigeons and chickens. We also passed shoe shops and the renouned “Tentmaker’s Street,” which is a fantastic old caravanserei of small stalls full of beautiful appliqué blankets, pillows and if you want them, tents (I hear people have them made for weddings and such).
This led us to Bab Zuwayla, which is a medieval stone gate dating from around the 11th century that’s connected to the Mosque of Sultan al-Muayyad (circa 1420). There are other mosques along the way (this was at least the sixth one, according to the map, just on this narrow strip), however we decided to leave them for another day and keep walking.
From here we entered the fabric, bedding and clothing area, so were luckily free from more live bunnies. Being a vegetarian in Cairo is really very easy for me, especially since I love hummous, baba ghanoush, fattoush, falafel, etc., however "bunny" moments like these make it … less easy.
As promised, our path led us right to the Khan, however before venturing in, we found ourselves being drawn into the Mosque of Al-Ghuri, and before we knew it, we were climbing to the heavens.