Like the only ancient wonder of the world still standing?
The pyramids at Giza.
|No clear blue skies, but still an amazing site!|
I must say that it feels like Egypt is a hot mess. And that's putting it nicely.
Here's a short clip driving out of Giza on Day 1.
Everything is in disrepair, there's trash everywhere and no sense of organization to just about anything. We saw one (ONE!) traffic light in all of Cairo.
But, there's still these amazing pyramids to come and see.
And given how things around here seem to be taken care of...I'd make the trip sooner rather than later.
So, back to the main course at hand...Othman arrived bright and early with Bill to drive us out for the 'tour di Pyramids'. Othman provided us with our own supply of corn nuts and chocolate pebbles, after our excitement at both the day before. It's all in the details, don't ya think?
|treats from our tour guide...corn nuts and chocolate pebbles...|
They were both quite tasty!
We started out at Memphis, the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, to check out the remains of this ancient city. Which, I gotta tell ya, ain't much.
Other than a huge partial sculpture of Ramses II, there's not much here to see.
From there, we headed to Saqqara, home to the famous step pyramid and burial ground of ancient Egypt.
This is the entrance to the tomb of Titi. The 'pyramid' just looks like a mound of sand. The descent is pretty steep and the slope has wooden slats designed to help you safely make your way down, while you also bend at your waist so as not to hit your head. The interior has two separate rooms, one with a basalt sarcophagus. There are lots of carvings on every surface, the ceiling included.
|the step pyramid|
|omg, I love this guy. Of course, he, too, wanted a tip.|
But, the real thrill is, of course, in Giza.
The pyramids you've seen and heard about all your life.
|In front of the Great Pyramid.|
If you look just left of Caitlin's shoulder you can see where you climb up to in order to enter the pyramid.
We climbed inside the Great Pyramid, up the short narrow shafts and into the burial chamber. This was very scary, but so very AWESOME!
If you check out this site you can see how we entered and then went down slightly before going up towards the king's chamber. You climb up an incline, again with wooden slats to help you and then take a couple steps up a ladder before continuing on up another incline.
This picture is from the very top, before you enter the chamber with the sarcophagus. You can't really see much, but...I thought I'd try.
|If you need a thigh workout, climb inside a pyramid.|
And don't wear Tom's! I had no tread on my shoes and it was super slippery!
|The rocks used to build the pyramids were massive.|
Othman played photographer and insisted we do all the silly pyramid touching/holding poses. Caitlin was determined to ride a camel and I played along.
|once in a lifetime!|
|Caitlin hates this pose, but I thought I'd use it anyways!|
|camels and pyramids, oh my!|
|Our guide took this pic. It's one of the best of the trip. |
Caitlin is screaming/laughing as her camel attempts to lay down and I'm laughing in the background.
What a moment!
We stopped by the Sphinx on the other side of the pyramids. Current theory holds that the Sphinx was built in 2500 BC and is believed to be part of the second pyramid's funerary complex for the pharaoh, Khafra. At one point the Nile River came up to this point in Giza so that the pharaohs could come by river to inspect the construction of these massive tombs.
It's impossible to think about how old these sites are...I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around it.
|Don't worry...we have the cheesy pics of us kissing the Sphinx too.|
Later in the day we attempted to watch the Sound and Light show at the pyramids, but it was weird and interrupted noisily by the longest and loudest call to prayer. So, we really didn't pay attention and I wouldn't advise anyone to pay to go to this...just stay at a hotel where you can watch for free at a distance or watch from a restaurant with a view.
A last note for the night...we headed to dinner at a nearby restaurant, only to find ourselves eating in the dark part way through our meal. Seems that power outages must be a fairly normal occurrence here, as they wait staff immediately began to bring out lights that had been previously charged for just such an event. Now the random light in the corner of our hotel room makes a whole lot more sense.
|Egyptian pound notes|
Mit Rahina Museum (Memphis) entrance fee: 40 Egyptian pounds
Imhotep & Saqqara entrance fee: 80 Egyptian pounds
Giza Pyramids entrance fee: 80 Egyptian pounds
The Great Pyramid entrance fee (to climb inside): 200 Egyptian pounds