Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea arrived in Cairo Sunday at the start of a 12-day trip to North Africa that administration officials call a "bridge-building" mission between the U.S. and the Islamic world.
And their first stop was a medieval fort that's the emblem of Cairo's Islamic roots: the citadel that still symbolizes a defeat of Christian crusaders.
This is Mrs. Clinton's 19th foreign trip without the president - a goodwill tour to boost Arab-American friendship. And a spring-break getaway for Chelsea.
At a Cairo mosque being restored with American aid, the Clintons were told this was Mother's Day in Egypt. This far from Washington, politics seemed to be on no one's agenda.
Mrs. Clinton said she was here to honor tradition, and to celebrate the bond between the United States and Egypt.
The first lady plans to speak out on education, democracy and women's rights. What she won't be talking about on this trip, aides say, are her own plans for the future.