Friday, May 28, 2010

Egypt: Pharaoh, Pharaoh

Of course, the main attraction in Cairo is the PYRAMIDS!

There are three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. The largest pyramid, or the Great Pyramid, is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. (It is the only remaining wonder as well.)

Imagine growing up and playing on this soccer pitch?

Wanting to have an authentic experience, we opted (or were heavily pressed) to see the pyramids el camel. (More on the camel ride to come.) Since camels head to the pyramids via a secret route, we were able to see a bit of local neighborhood life along the way. The picture above was taken on the beginning of our ride before we hit the sand. Contrary to the way I'd pictured it in my head, these Giza giants rub shoulders with the city. The view from one direction is quite picturesque--pyramids, blue skies, sand, the whole bit. However, swivel your head a few degrees and the view changes radically: Hello, smoggy city!

1. Iconic Egypt
2. Menkaure's Pyramid & Khafre's pyramid
3. 3 ladies and their trusty steeds
4. Khafre's pyramid; at the top you can still see the original casing stones

Jill, Hannah, and Molly with the pyramids.

The two biggest pyramids in the Giza Necropolis belong to former King Khafre and former King Khufu. (Khafre's is on the left; Khufu's is on the right.) Khufu's pyramid is also known as the Great Pyramid. Although it may look like Khafre's pyramid is bigger, it's a bit of an optical illusion. Built after his father's pyramid, the architects maintained their pharaoh's prowess by plotting it on higher ground and designing it with a steeper angle. In reality, Papa Khufu's pyramid is larger. King Khufu's tomb was built around 2560 BC. Back in the day, it held the record for being the tallest man-made structure in the world. However, after 3,800 years, England's Lincoln Cathedral broke the record and stole the title. Shucks.

Thoughts running through my head at this moment . . . Am I really here? Are these really the pyramids? Whoa . . .

Khafre's pyramid; a.k.a. Pyramid #2

Seeing the pyramids was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The slow trek across the dunes was a highlight of the trip because I had a perfect view and a perfect opportunity to make-believe. Swaying back and forth on the back of my camel, feeling the sun on my back, and starting at these ancient towers, made it was easy to picture life as it was 4000 years ago. I could imagine what it looked like to see the first stones being laid, to hear the camels, the donkeys, and the workers create the noisy hum of the workday, to feel the wind blow sand in my eyes, and to envision the pharaoh watch his monument rise out of the desert. It was a day dreamer's paradise and I spent a happy hour recreating the lives and stories of those involved. It was so easy to be hypnotized by the ancient charm of this phenomenal site. Incredible!


Sarah said...

... ooo baby!

Jill said...

That's "Ms. Jill" and "Ms. Hannah"


Wendy said...

Was the camel like a slow horse? Nice pictures. Nice adventure-the peak thus far...even if man made peaks:)


Molly said...

@ jill---i stand corrected. ;-)
@ dad & wendy--yes, pretty slow. it was similar to riding a horse, except on the camel there was a lot more swaying involved. i found that it worked best to sit towards the front and then to kind of let the hips swivel.