Published: June 23rd 2012June 13th 2012
The Pyramids of Giza
Cairo, primarily the pyramids of Giza was our next destination. Arriving in Cairo at peak hour gave us a nice taste as to what madness Egyptian traffic can be (including people driving in our lane towards us) and after two and a half hours we arrived at our hotel.
The Egypt, Israel and Palestine part of our travels would be taken with a tour group and we were excited to meet everyone and check out Cairo nightlife. We were surprised to hear that our tour group were in another city and would be meeting up with us in Luxor for the remainder of our Egypt trip. What was more surprising was that there were only five in the group and no one would be taking part in the Israel/Palestine part of the tour. Considering recent events in Egypt and the current political situation in the Israel we were wondering if we had made the wrong decision to travel here.
Our tour leader explained to us that the media from the revolution has really affected the countries tourism and that many Egyptians had lost their businesses but that it was still perfectly safe. We had seen some demonstrations while we
The Great Pyramid of Khufu
by far the most famous Pyramid in Egypt, the biggest, tallest, and most intact. After its construction it became one of the “Seven Wonders Of The World”, and today, it is the only one of them remaining.
were taking the taxi earlier and there were many riot police on the streets so you could say that his words had not changed our cynicism at this point. We decided to have an early night so we grabbed some kebabs from down the street and went to bed hoping that tomorrow would be better seeing as we were going to be seeing the great pyramids of Giza!
We awoke the next day feeling much the same and made our way downstairs where we met Muhammad our tour guide for the day. Let’s say he was one of the nicest people you could meet and we were really lucky to have just the two of us in the car rather than a large group as we were able to get to know him quite well. It was interesting to hear his stories of the revolution and how he has gone from having tour groups of 30 plus to groups of 1-5.
Seeing the pyramids come into view as you are driving towards them is something spectacular. We were both pretty speechless as we approached them and we both kind of felt like we were in some sort of
The Pyramids of Giza
a fairy tale, the pure size and awesomeness of them just doesn’t seem real. We have seen the Coliseum, the Eiffel tower and even the birthplace of Jesus but they all have paled in comparison to the time we spent at the pyramids.
Due to the problems mentioned above there were no lineups and hardly any tourists at the site so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted at all three pyramids and got some wonderful photos with only us in them. It seems so impossible that they were built but having a guide really helped us understand the process and history surrounding the pyramids and the sphinx. We also entered the chamber of the third pyramid which included a deep and claustrophobic walk down some stairs to access the tomb in the middle. Being inside the tombs is a feeling of surrealism, I can only explain it by saying that you are inside a pyramid and I think that sums it up best.
After the pyramids we made a quick stop in at a business that both makes and sells papyrus paper. The demonstration was interesting and we were able to purchase a
small painting to put on our wall at home.
The next stop was something we were both extremely excited about, The National Egyptian Museum. I am just going to say that it was amazing; the museum holds thousands of artifacts that any other museum would be happy to have locked away as their prized piece. Anyone would agree that the best collection is the Tutankhamen section. For anyone that doesn’t know Tutankhamen’s tomb was found virtually untouched making him probably the most famous pharaoh even though he didn’t really do anything exciting in his own life. Seeing his gold mask was pretty impressive and Mikaela loved the jewelry so I bought her a few pieces…. (she wishes) There were also lots of mummified humans and other animals like chickens which were pretty disgusting.
For all its brilliance the museum was in a bad state, the presentation of the pieces was a mess and most of them were not even locked up. During the revolution 80 pieces were stolen when the building next door (Mubarak’s old government building)
was burnt down during the protests.
On our way home we drove past the now famous Tahrir Square and witnessed
the ongoing demonstrations. This is really the only area of Egypt that is out of bounds for tourists as we have felt safe and welcome everywhere else.
The next day we spent walking the streets before catching the overnight train to Luxor where we are as I write this. In Luxor we will get to see the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the workers, Luxor and Karnak Temple. I guess you could say we are pumped!
There are more photos below