This is the post I’ve been waiting to write about my visit to the Pyramids! If you read my previous post about Egypt then you will know that we left Luxor early in the morning. We landed in Cairo at 6:30 am and got back to Yousef’s an hour later. I’m exhausted at this point, and so is Andrew. We decided we would sleep for a few hours and then venture out to the Egyptian Museum since we never made it there earlier in the week.
Let me also preface this post by letting you know the one place in all the world I have wanted to see is the Great Pyramids of Giza. My first research paper in 9th grade was on them. The mystery of them fascinates me. Everything we know about them, and don’t know about them, excites me! We literally saved seeing the Pyramids for our last day in Egypt. There was no do-over if this day didn’t go well.
The Day Before the Pyramids
Now, back to the day before we saw the pyramids. I woke up around 11 am due to the smells of spices wafting in to the apartment from other peoples’ homes. Andrew would wake up occasionally and turn over or ask what time it was. I spent my lazy afternoon on Facebook groups and messaging friends. A Facebook group I’m in is all about travelling. I posted a request for tour guides to the pyramids, and i was not let down, and got the number of two different guides.
I wasn’t sure if we needed a guide for the pyramids. Everything I read online said that having a guide usually helped you enjoy the experience more. Also, having a guide helps to keep the Egyptians trying to sell you things away. I felt confident that we would be okay without a guide, but all the reviews I had read suggested otherwise.
Finding a Guide
A guide named Momin came highly rated from another traveler, and he was quick to respond to my messages and cater a tour to our needs. He said he would have a driver pick us up for the day, show us around the Giza Plateau, and take us to the Pyramid of Djoser, aka step pyramid, in Sakkara.
Getting our day at the Pyramids planned was a huge relief. I was finally able to relax a bit more. Guess what, we never went out to see the Egyptian Museum. Andrew and I were both still so tired from our travels to Aswan and Luxor. Yousef came home from his work day and invited us both out to play squash with his friends. I decided to decline and enjoy some time to myself, so I sent the boys off to play!
Fast forward to 11 pm when the guys finally came home. They had a great time, and Andrew was very good at squash so I hear. I finally got to sleep late that night excited to have my dreams become a reality in the morning!
Our Final Day in Egypt! Pyramids are Happening!
We woke up ready to see the Pyramids! Our guide, Momin, met us outside as we all waited for our driver. Our driver arrived a little late, but it’s Egypt. Every one is late, so he was on time. We made it to the Giza Plateau around 10 am. Our ride took around two hours due to some back traffic, and horrific driving. I never caught our driver’s name. I’ll call him “The Kid” because he barely looked old enough to drive. I’m pretty sure we almost died no less than 200,000 times. At one point a white van was about 6 inches from Andrew’s face ready to T-Bone us. Andrew even got a little motion sickness. But we made it, and we were so happy to get out of his car.
Most of the photos you see of the Giza Plateau and pyramids make them look like they are in the middle of the desert. They are. However, so is the city of Cairo on the western bank. The city limits butt right up against the plateau. Do yourself a favor and watch the episode of “An Idiot Abroad” where Karl Pilkinton is sent to Egypt. It is hilarious. You can sit inside a Pizza Hut and look at the Pyramids. We saw it, but we did not get to stop for photos, sadly.
Entering Giza Plateau
So we made our way up the the pyramids. The entrance was easy to find, and the pyramids completely tower over the city. It is such a strange juxtaposition of ancient and new meeting. It seems wrong that these historical wonders of the world are next to a highway. However, it is also really cool. It is as if the Egyptian people are so used to having such ancient ruins and colossal monuments in their back yards they don’t care that there is a Pizza Hut across the street.
I was expecting a massive crowd of people. There were people and vendors, but nothing like reviews I had read online. This could be due to Egypt’s tourism being down drastically, or that we were still in the shoulder season before temperatures dropped and more tourists come. Either way, it was great!
The weather was excellent; we were fortunate. It was bright and sunny, but there was a nice cool breeze that kept you from melting. As soon as you enter the gate you are faced with The Pyramid of Khufu or Cheops. It towers over you and you can’t see anything else. People looked like insects next to the giant stone blocks.
Momin booked a camel ride for us to do first. We really just did it for some fun pictures and to say that we rode a camel! My camel’s name was Pepsi and Andrew rode on Charlie Brown. From seeing videos of people riding on camels I thought it would be difficult. It was really easy to mount and not hard to stay balanced while they stand up. Our camels seemed to be well taken care of, and our camel guide was great at taking photos! He also kept us laughing with jokes about how many camels Andrew would sell me for.
We ended our camel rides and made our way to the base of the largest pyramid. Before arriving I had decided I did not want to enter the pyramid. The inside is plain, hot, humid. I know, you’re thinking, how could you not go in? Honestly, I never wanted to do that. It seems like such a sacred place to me that entering and disturbing the history inside seems wrong.
I’m on the Pyramid
We were able to climb on the blocks up to the entrance and take a few photos. It is shocking how large each singular stone is. You can see the wear and aging on most of the blocks. The steps we took to the entrance were worn smooth and flat from years of footprints. They do not allow you to climb on other parts of the pyramid now, but I can imagine a time when people would climb all over the yellowed blocks and see how high they could get.
After our walk up and down the pyramid, our driver and guide took us to a viewing area farther away. From here you are able to see all three large pyramids and a few of the smaller pyramids built for the queens. Those are mostly rubble now. We drove back down to the area between the smallest two pyramids, took a few photos, and then headed to the original entry to the Giza Plateau where the Sphinx watches guard.
It was at this point in the day that I realized just how fast my dream was going by. I knew the distance between the pyramids was vast, and it is, so I’m glad I didn’t have to walk it in the glaring sun and boiling heat. Luckily, we had excellent weather. In my dreams I always imagined walking around the pyramids and seeing them from every angle. I would imagine what it must have been like to build those structures and see them for miles and miles in the distance. Because we had a driver though, the visit I imagined flew by. I did not get the chance to sit and embrace my dream. We went from photo op to photo op.
We left the pyramids to head towards the Sphinx. I was so in awe of the Pyramids I completely forgot about the Sphinx! They have most of the area around the Sphinx blocked off. I mean, it’s nose already fell off, they have to protect it! I’m not kidding when I say it looks exactly like what it looks like on TV. It wasn’t smaller than I thought it would be or bigger. The proportion of it beside the pyramids make it seem so small, but it is still massive.
Close up on the Sphinx
Then our tour of the Giza Plateau was over. In total we spent around 2 hours visiting the site. I could have spent days exploring each block like an archaeologist. The minimal amount of vendors we encountered were much friendlier and less pushy than those on the streets of Cairo. The hordes of people I assumed would be touring the pyramids were not there, and the weather was amazing. What an amazing visit!
We concluded our day with a trip to the step pyramid in Sakkara and we finally made it to the Egyptian Museum! I’ll go in to those visits in my next post. Sorry it’s been so long since posting. I’ve barely had time for sleeping.