October 14: The Giza Pyramids, standing against a crisp blue sky. Up close, they are even more breathtaking than imagined. They are the highlight of Egypt!
Old as the Hills
Well, maybe not as old as the hills, but really old. The Pharaoh Khufu built the Great Pyramid as his gateway to immortality over 4,600 years ago. To put that in perspective, it was already 2,600 years old when Cleopatra and Julius Caesar reigned. The tomb rises 481 feet from the ground, and for 3,800 years was the tallest man-made structure on Earth. It is the oldest, largest, and only remaining wonder of the ancient world.
The Great Pyramid is one of nine on the west bank of the Nile, built by decedents and officials of the Khufu. And each pyramid has a separate complex, including a long funeral causeway, with embalming and funerary temples at each end. And, of course, the Great Sphinx guarding the way. All face true points of the compass, and the position matches that of the Orion Constellation!
The archeological remains in Giza are stark. There are very few hieroglyphics, and thieves plundered any remains or valuables centuries ago. A pyramid is a rather conspicuous spot to hide a treasure, after all 😉
A trip to Egypt isn’t complete without a ride on a camel! We climbed aboard Cassanova and Bob Marley as they sat patiently. Then we leaned back and braced as they rose, back legs first, then front. And we were on our way! The camels’ gait is more undulating than that of a horse, but comfortable. At least, comfortable enough for our 20-minute excursion.
Our guide from High End Journeys, Bassem, was fantastic. He ended our day with a late lunch overlooking the pyramids and Cairo, and the pyramids looked unreal against the blue sky and haze of the distant city. Eternal and unforgettable.