Friday, January 4, 2008

Day 1: Giza, Memphis and Saqqara

With the Pyramids staring us in the face when we wake up, it's only natural to get the obvious out of the way first as we begin Egypt Boot Camp. The bus ride was only 5 minutes, but even that small distance hides the true grandeur of these ancient wonders. They're bigger then you'd think, and they sent shivers down my spine to stand in the presence of such history.

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (1)

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (7)

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (26)

We paid a small premium for a ticket and hiked up into the burial chamber of the
largest pyramid. The intricate shafts and the masterful stonework awed as much as the sheer scale of the endeavor. Despite the barrenness of the King's Chamber and the stuffiness of the air, the energy there was amazing; I would have liked to pause there and just be, but time did not permit.

No time to enter the
smaller pyramid, though we admired it and the jaunty cap of polished limestone it still wore.

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (11)
Indiana Wayne and the Mrs.

Time for the obligatory Arab experience; the camel ride. It was touristy, gaudy, cheesy, and great.

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (24)

Hanging on for dear life...

Oh yeah. The Sphinx. Smaller in person then in my mind's eye, but still amazing.

Egypt, Day 1, Giza (39)

After Giza we travelled to Memphis, where a small courtyard is given the lofty title of museum. There were some spectacular pieces of statuary and a huge statue of Ramses II, carved out of a single slab of red granite.

Egypt, Day 1, Memphis (6)
I think he's a cutie. Smile for me, Ramses!

Egypt, Day 1, Memphis (5)
What's up your kilt?

Hopped into the bus to go the short distance to Saqqara, the necropolis (city of the dead) and the
step pyramid. This site is much older then the Great Pyramids, and most of it is rubble that is slowly being pieced back together.

Egypt, Day 1, Memphis (8)

Egypt, Day 1, Sakkara (5)

I think I'm a little jaded now about Saqqara. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool. However, having seen far more spectacular sites in the later days of the tour, the few columns and courtyards there seem pretty tame and run-down. Hard to believe I can be so blas
e about such wonders.

Egypt, Day 1, Sakkara (8)
"Taxi, miss?"

We were supposed to tour a "carpet school" (either where they educate carpets, or teach people to make carpets... we'll never know, now) but we ran out of time due to a couple of people on the bus that couldn't keep timings.

Back to the hotel, with a warning that the next morning would be an early one (0430!) as we were flying down to Luxor for the beginning of the Nile cruise. We had an early dinner and an early night.


Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

I am so enjoying your photos and your account of your trip. As I doubt that I'll be heading to Egypt any time soon, this will have to do.

Too bad about the carpet school. I tend to shy away from tours because they tend to wait for the stragglers so no one gets left behind.....grrrr it's a tour....not the marines.

~V said...

WOW, okay that's so not even close to how I feel looking at your photos. I'm just amazed. It makes me want to go even MORESO! As you know it's always been my dream to go to Egypt, someday I hope to make that dream come true, but for now, it was such a pleasure looking at your incredible trip photos.

kate said...

I love this - it's like being read a bed time story, one chapter at a time! Everything looks amazing - some day I hope to see some wonders of the world for myself! Keep those bed-time stories rolling!