Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Great Pyramids of Giza

Of course one of the reasons anyone goes to Cairo is to visit the pyramids, and so – aboard our camels ( and a pony for Kate), with our trusty 15 year old guide and 10 year old camel puller, we made our way to the 3 Great Pyramids and the 6 lesser ones. No routine tourist tour this one, we are on our own with our junior guide.

Now riding a camel gives you a totally different perspective. It’s up high and there is lots to see. Let me also agree with our friend Barb Notte, who told us before we left for Cairo that camels raise halitosis to a totally new level of disgusting! – And let’s not even mention the other end!

The pyramids are right on the edge of the city. In fact, I’m sure that were the reserve not fenced, the housing would go right up to (& probably over) them. The trek is a long one, but well worth it. Sights a plenty in the local streets and along the way inside the reserve. After the first 15 minutes or so we have adjusted to the pace and the motion and are happily taking snaps of all and sundry.

Inside the reserve, we approach the pyramids. They’re quite awesome really. So big, so old, so well preserved, and you wonder how they did it.

By the time we reach them, it is dusk and the reserve is supposed to be closed. We can only catch a distant glimpse of the Sphinx on our way back. All along the way, the Tourist and Antiquities Police use the opportunity to give our guide a hard time and enhance their income. But it’s all part of the game and we return tired, dusty and so very glad of the experience.

The same evening we go to dinner on the a cruise boat on the Nile, complete with a generously proportioned belly dancer and floor show. Of course, never backward in coming forward, two of the sheik’s hareem end up as part of the show, leading the dance around the boat.

We sleep well.

Friday, 7 December 2007


The alabaster sphinx at Memphis is one of the last monuments of the area. There is also part of the great statue of Ramses II kept here under cover. Memphis was the capital of Egypt before Cairo. Here is a link to more information on Memphis
Of course our guide once again was a font of knowledge about Memphis and told us all the information you will read on the link. I couldn't resist putting this picture of Ron on the blog! Not many days you get to kiss a sphinx!
One of the things that was most concerning about Egypt was the corruption of the Police. I found myself a couple of them and it only cost me 20 Egyptian pounds to have a photo taken with them!


We visited the stepped pyramid at Saqqara. This was the 'original' pyramid built before the great pyramids at Giza. It was a sort of prototype really. Information on this pyramid and the other sights to see at Sakkara (click link)
Our guide told us the history of the area in quite some detail and it was really interesting and I am so glad I don't have to take e
xams in Egyptology! Just remembering who did what and in which century BC is a major accomplishment but Tarak (our guide) had an encyclopaedic knowledge of it all.
Ron had his first experience of sitting on a camel and we think he
really looks the part of a regular Sheikh!

Egypt - First stop the hostel

Our recent trip to Egypt was fun and our first experience of the country was the King Tut Hostel where we slept for four nights! Well I am not sure we slept but we went to bed and listened to the cars and people in the streets 8 stories below! I didn't think noise could carry that well! However most days we were exhausted from flat out sightseeing and expired for a few hours at a time. Here is a pic of us in the lounge/dining area. The hostel was in fact quite comfortable and well serviced and the guy that runs it was extremely helpful arranging tours and a guide and bus. We really did see an 'authentic' side to Egypt that I doubt we would have seen if we had been on a big bus trip. Of course our highlight was that we were sharing the holiday with Erin who had arrived from Aus a few days before and was very excited at the prospect of visiting yet another country on her trip.
Some of the people from the SIP team also came along and it was nice to have company and be able to chat about the whole experience. In the next post I will put up some of the highlights!