Up very early today because it’s time to go explore the Pyramids of Giza. I absolutely LOVE getting up early(heavy sarcasm here) and it’s weird to eat breakfast this early. But the folks at Oasis Hotel put out this amazing spread of food with everything I could possibly want at 6am that my body isn’t ready to eat. The bus is to depart at 7am so we can get an early start on the crowds and the heat. This makes me wonder though – who would actually go to the Pyramids in the afternoon?? Is it completely deserted?? Anyways, the group of Americans don’t get the concept of being on the bus on time, which is really important when you’re on a group tour! So we end up being over a half hour late and our guide Ramez is not impressed. Neither are the rest of us. This is where the conflict and drama begins….
But for now, we drive on over to the Giza Plateau and I’m super excited to get my first glimpse of the pyramids through the bus window. I can’t believe I’m here!
The Giza Pyramid complex consists of 3 giant pyramids. They were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. There are many pyramids built throughout Egypt but these are the largest and are part of the Seven Wonders of the World – the only wonder that still exists today. They were built by hauling stones from a quarry and then stacking them to form the shape. Limestone was used as a casing only and the stones were carved to make sure they were all the same shape. The limestone casings are no longer there; what remains are the core blocks of granite – the limestone was taken away from the site and used to build other structures in Cairo. History says that it took around 30 years to complete 1 pyramid. The purpose of the pyramids was to house the remains of dead pharaohs(kings) and all of the items they would need for the afterlife. The body was embalmed and wrapped in linens– eeeek! Mummies!
Arriving at the entrance gates, there is some tight security; all bags and people need to go through a scanner. We walk towards the largest and main Great Pyramid of Khufu, and Ramez begins his first history lesson.
Then we have free time to explore on our own. If you want to see what is inside a pyramid, you can pay an extra fee and check it out – I decide to skip it.
What’s really awesome is you can get right up close to this pyramid (but no climbing allowed!). I wander around to the east side with Marcelo, and this guy is following him and he wants money to be his personal photographer. Marcelo is a super nice about it, but this guy is just not taking no for an answer. Luckily, I have no problem telling him no and to leave us alone.
There are so many guys hanging around selling things, trying to be your photographer, asking to see your ticket. This is a known scam; Ramez told us to ignore them but I go one step further and tell the one guy that he’s a scammer and he’s not seeing anything of mine. Haha that shut him up REAL quick. Bottom line: you’re trying to enjoy your time marveling at the Pyramids, and you’re being constantly harassed! But that’s the way it is and you go with the flow. Before leaving, I have a look from afar at the Pyramid of Khafre (son of Khufu). It is the second largest one in the Giza complex. You can see the limestone casing that still covers the top bit of the pyramid.
Now we’re back on the bus to drive to the other side of the pyramids for a popular viewpoint where you can see all 3 pyramids lined up. We take some awesome pics doing funny things to the pyramids such as this one:
And of course a group shot!
And now it’s time to ride a camel! Even though I’ve ridden on a camel twice before, I still think it’s worth doing again. It’s always a fun and challenging experience – especially when the camel gets up and down – it seriously feels like you’re gonna topple over the front of it!
And since the camel is so tall, you’re really high up and it’s crucial to have good balance on this wobbly ride.
I’m paired with Marcelo, and our camel guide stops to take more funny pics.
At one point he grabs a small rock and tells me to put my hands up in the air. I have NO idea what he’s doing, but this is how the pic turned out. Hahaha awesome!
Back onto the bus again for a short drive over to the Great Sphinx.
It is a smaller area; Ramez does his thing for a bit as we try to keep cool in the desert heat. Our suited-up security guy stands nearby for protection.
The photo area where you’re closest to the statue is pretty crowded so it’s not a place I want to spend too much time. The Sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, and this one is made of limestone.
It is said the face is that of Khafre, that pharaoh that has a pyramid here.
Or is it his father Khufu? It is also thought to be the oldest monumental sculpture in Egypt, but there is still debate on when exactly it was built and for what purpose.
Regardless, he’s a handsome fella, despite having lost his nose! There is a guy that works here that convinces me to give him my phone so he can take some funny pics. I decide he is trustworthy and he assures me he doesn’t want any money. And it was a great decision…enjoy the pics!
And this ends my visit to the most anticipated spot on this tour! We hop back on the bus to the next destination……………