Change Yourself…Change The World.


The Pyramids!
July 23, 2010, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Egypt

Hi friends,

Today I achieved one of my Travel Goals by visiting the last of the original seven wonders of the world, the Pyramids in Egypt! We (some friends from my hostel) and I visited three sights today: The three pyramids of Giza (the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure) and the Sphinx; the city of Memphis (the old capitol of Egypt) and Memphis open-air museum; and Saqqara, which is most famous for the Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest stone pyramid in Egypt.

We first started off at the Great Pyramids, which was a very intense experience. It may not look like it in the photos below, but there were tourists everywhere. We managed to get off the beaten track a bit and walked around the graves, which was really interesting. We went the long way around (the route that the camel-riders go), so it took us about an hour to get to the base of the pyramids. By this point I was pretty dehydrated (it is REALLY hot in Egypt) and sincerely regretting my decision to wear flip flops today- definitely not the best for trekking up sand dunes. But the actual sight of the pyramids more than made up for it.

We then went on to Memphis, which was a bit underwhelming considering it was once the main capitol of Egypt. The driver refused to take us to any other areas than the open-air museum, which cost 20 Egyptian pounds (about 5 dollars) to get in. The open-air museum has one large statue and then a bunch of smaller ones. I’d give it a medium-priority of visiting- only because it was cool to have actually ‘been’ in Memphis.

Our last trip was to Saqqara, which was definitely a worthwhile trip. Not nearly as many tourists come to the area (at least in July), and the other girls from the hostel didn’t go in- so it was more of a loner trip, which was a cool experience. The Pyramid of Djoser is really interesting and different from the other Great Pyramids, and there were some areas where I was completely alone. There are also a lot of interesting graves and buildings around the Pyramid of Djoser, so I took some great pictures, which you’ll see below!

So our grand day came to a close, and I’m very satisfied with our experience (and my sun tan). Check out some tips below for traveling to the Great Pyramids, or scroll all the way down for the BEST part: the pictures!

Just a note: We arranged a driver to take us to The Pyramids, Memphis, and Saqqara (this was standard and we couldn’t forgo any of them), for about 180 pounds for the four of us, with the expectation that it would be from 8 AM-5 PM. Our trip was from 8:30 AM-2:30 PM, so you have ample time to see all these areas!
A few tips if you ever plan on visiting The Great Pyramids:
1) Buy water in bulk before going, as they charge 2-5 times the price inside the pyramids (and believe me, you’ll need water!)
2) As stated above, wear adequate footwear- I suggest shoes that you won’t mind getting sand in every crevice, so probably sturdy sandals
3) Before you enter the Pyramids, people will try to offer you camel and/or horse rides into the exhibition for exorbitant prices (we were first told 190 Egyptian pounds for an hour camel ride). Inside, Tara and Petra (two friends from my hostel) paid 10 pounds each for a half hour camel ride. If you’re into riding camels or horses, wait until you get inside the gate and bargain down the price.
4) Student rates at the Pyramids are half the price, which is a real bargain for students traveling cheaply. If you are a student, make sure that you have a student ID that HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE. My student ID (which expires in August, but doesn’t explicitly state so on the card) was vehemently rejected.
5) I don’t suggest buying any of the souvenirs inside the Great Pyramids- people will be much less apt to bargain to a fair price because it is such a touristy area. You can get all of the same things at Khal el-Khalili, the main bazaar in Cairo.
6) If you don’t want to pay the fee to go into the Sphinx, you can get the same great pictures on the road up to the Pyramids.
7) You will be constantly harassed inside the Great Pyramids. Hawkers will come up to you every few minutes offering souvenirs, horse rides, camel rides, drinks- they’ll offer pictures of camels, horses, or of you with them, and then charge a fee- if you don’t want to any of these things, my best suggestion is to just ignore these offers, even if it is irritating. Engaging with these hawkers only makes them follow you longer.
8). If you want to get off the beaten track a bit more (there were some areas where there were absolutely no tourists), take a left when you get into the pyramid, rather than a right. Then you can explore the graves and walk up the sand dunes to the pyramids, rather than up the road, which is teeming with other people and buses.

CHECK OUT THE PICTURES HERE:

Our start of the Great Pyramids

The limestone is massive here

The Pyramid of Khafre. The original casing is still intact at the top of the Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu: THE Great Pyramid. The tallest, most intact, and most famous one. For 4,300 years this was the tallest structure on earth (until the construction of the Eiffel Tower in France, in 1889).

Petra and Tara taking a camel ride.

Many, many animals in the Great Pyramids.

The Great Sphinx

The three pyramids and the Great Sphinx

We Heart Giza Plateau

Memphis Open-Air Museum. This is a massive limestone statue of Ramses II, one of the pharaohs of Egypt.

Memphis Open-Air Museum

Entrance to Saqqara

Saqqara

The Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest stone pyramid in Egypt.

Different edifices in Saqqara

The Pyramid of Djoser: up close and personal

New and old limestone together.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

jealous

Comment by Siobhan

okay now time for the serious comment
these pictures are really amazing. you can tell that you are having an awesome time. thanks for keeping us back in the ole U.S. posted. we love and miss you!

Comment by Siobhan

[…] The Great Pyramid of Giza is the last standing original seven wonders of the world, so this is included! I saw the Great Pyramids in July 2010. Read about it here. […]

Pingback by Change Yourself Goals « Change Yourself…Change The World

[…] is the fourth wonder of the world I’ve seen (well, arguably fifth, if you count The Pyramids), and I might be going out on a limb here by saying this, but I think it’s been my favorite […]

Pingback by Petra! « Change Yourself…Change The World.




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