The next day it was time to see what most people go to Egypt to see, the pyramids of Giza. We had decided that we wanted to go on camels around the pyramids so our driver took us to a place in Giza not far from the entrance to the Giza plateau.
Riding a camel is quite different to riding a horse – as it gets up it rises onto it’s knees which makes you slope forwards a long way. This is why it’s a good idea to lean backwards as the camel gets up so you don’t fall off head first. I’m sure anyone who forgets to lean back will soon regret it from the damage to their head and the embarrassment of falling off. Fortunately neither of us did.
The ride from the camel place to the pyramids is a slow one, but it gives time to take in the surroundings. The roads and buildings that lead to the pyramids are in pretty bad condition, another indication of how much of Egypt is poor.
It took about 10 to 20 minutes to reach the entrance to the Giza plateau, and once there our guide led us to the best places to photograph them from. Before getting close to the pyramids we went out wide where we could see all three side by side, a totally amazing sight – just as amazing as seeing them for the first time a couple of days previous.
Once we had done taking photographs were taken down the side of Khafre, the second largest pyramid, which is where we left the guide for a brief time whilst we went off to get tickets to go inside. Once again we had to leave bags and cameras outside, though this time it was understandable. Whilst the rock isn’t going to be damaged by taking pictures of it there is the issue that it would hold up the flow of “traffic” heading in and out of the pyramid, and there wouldn’t be the space to carry it down the passageways either.
The passage into the pyramid is very cramped and almost impossible for people to pass each other – which you have to anyway as there is a steady stream of people going in as others are going out. Eventually you get to a burial chamber which is quite a large room and is poorly lit. It wasn’t somewhere you’d want to stay too long though as the air is quite warm and stale from the number of people in there without any real flow of air.
Back outside the pyramid we stood around and took our time taking photographs. Once done we went back to the guide – who then took us to where the worker’s tombs are located; an area totally fenced off with barbed wire. Despite this he moved the fence down out the way and led us in where we were able to look around an area that was totally unsafe as it wasn’t somewhere tourists usually get to see.
This should have rung a few warning bells in our heads as making us traipse over barbed wire isn’t something you usually do on a tourist-type holiday, but there we were doing it. As dangerous as it may have been I do think we were pretty lucky to have had the chance to see inside the worker’s tombs. Though once on the other side of the barbed wire they wanted us to pay them again before they’d lead us back out of the tombs. It cost us around 100 LE extra for the guide to show use round the worker’s tombs – but since that works out as about £10 it wasn’t too bad for the two of us. It did make up for not being able to photograph inside the pyramids as well.
To finish off the tour of the pyramids we then went on to see the Sphinx – the largest of it’s kind (there are smaller ones, such as those on display in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities). Since the Sphinx is suffering from weather damage and was at the time being worked on to try and repair some of the damage it was impossible to get that close to it, but there was a small stone building that led up to a suitable “viewing platform”. The whole area kept making me think of the movie, Star Gate because of the film’s ties to Egypt and the pyramids and the way the building looked.
Once we’d done there we then rode the camels back to where we’d hired them from, though they tried to charge us again despite having paid beforehand. This shows how important it is to ask for a receipt or to find a more reputable company for travelling with. Once this had been settled the limo then took us back to the hotel.