Saturday, September 25, 2010

Exploring the Pyramids

Posted by Melissa

Day 2 in Cairo and it is still amazingly HOT! August in Egypt, who would have thought?? We woke to this lovely view of the gardens and the pyramids at Giza from our balcony.

Breakfast in style and then out to explore.
Breakfast room at the Mena House
Our first stop is the The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khurfu), just down the road from the hotel.
Our group - Thane, me, Jennifer, George, Alina, Kathy, Nancy & Tom
This is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing. I found it so hard to believe that I was standing next to, and even crawling up, this iconic structure. Every little child has seen pics of this pyramid and now I found my adult self lucky enough to be here.
Sweet Hubby and me
Cheops/Khurfu Pyramid
Khafre Pyramid
We also checked out Khufu’s Solar Boat which was found buried next to his pyramid. The thinking is that this boat was intended to convey the Pharaoh's spirit to heaven in the afterlife. Several other boats have been located around other pyramid complexes but this is the best preserved specimen of all Egyptian boats found to date. It was hard to believe that this was about 4500 years old!!

Up next was the obligatory camel ride!!  For me this just meant getting up on the camel long enough to have my pic taken. Yes I am scared of being on a camel! Thane and the rest of our group of eight rode around the desert for a bit.

Just a short ride away we come upon another iconic wonder of the world - The Sphinx.

The ramp in the background of this pic was built for a recent visit of President Obama.  Our guide also told us that this was built so that Obama could walk up to, and touch, the Sphinx - but that the President of Egypt himself has never touched it!
Nancy T
Next up a visit to the Saqqara complex where I  found these cobras on a wall near the Step Pyramid of Djoser .

We went inside the Tomb of King Unas, down to the underground funerary chamber. Unas was Pharaoh of Egypt from 2375-2345 BC, 5th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.  This particular pyramid doesn't look like much from the outside, more like a mound of stones, but inside we found three rooms which were covered in hieroglyphics. I was awestruck to be standing next to these ancient writings. Pretty amazing stuff built some 4300+ years ago by ancient Egyptians (Thanks George! - my personal Egyptologist)

Both interior photos taken from the internet
My personal wishlist included a stop at an Oasis, and, lucky me, that is exactly where we found ourselves for lunch today! I'm sorry to say that our pics didn't really do it justice, but here are pics of our lunch.
Vegetarian portion of lunch
Mixed grill - we think the small chicken like meat was actually pigeon...
As we left the little outdoor cafe, a couple of musicians were drumming away and Thane caught our lovely leader, Nancy, doing her famous Egyptian Dance. Thank you Nancy and Tom and all of the BN staff for making this trip possible. Love you guys!!

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