Cairo Day 4 – The Pyramids!!!!

I had a driver arranged for LE160.  He picked me up at 8.30 and stopped at a felafel place for breakfast.  Fresh felafel are delicious.  He dropped me at a horse stable, where the man tried to make me hire a horse.
‘It’s 12km around the whole area!’
To the very furthest objects, perhaps, but the pyramids are only a few hundred metres apart.  He told me their route would take me to the best photo spot in the whole area.  I noted it, and walked off.  Entrance was LE60

The advantage of coming during Eid, after a revolution and early in the morning was that there were few people.

I was surprised at how small the sphinx was

I knew the touts would be bad, but there weren’t that many.  They do get angry when you ignore them.

Having been raised in the fine tradition of poking the bullet holes in the church I thought the ruins were great – you can’t climb the pyramids (to prevent erosion) but there are a lot of outbuilding ruins to poke around.

Some still have visible engraved heiroglyphics – 3000 years old.

It’s perfectly easy to walk around, and at this hour I had the furthest pyramid to myself.

Cor!

From another angle. Note tourist policeman keeping me out of the ruins

The tourist policeman then came out and offered to take my photo.  I’d read about cameras being stolen like this, so before I accepted I checked he wasn’t armed, and it looked like I could outrun him.

Strange look because he appeared to be pointing it in a stupid direction, which he was.

He then demanded his baksheesh so I gave him LE1.

Baby pyramids

From here I walked to the photo spot.  It’s only about 500m and is marked by a small shelter on the top of a hill.  I didn’t think it was as good as another a bit further down the hill.

The nicest thing was actually having some peace – no touts, no camel drivers, no other tourists.  I could just look at the pyramids.

In the other direction

I walked back to the entrance.

By 10.30 it was full of tourists and hawkers.  I went to Saqqara.  Entrance was LE60, and LE2 for the car.

The entrance hall

The were hardly any other tourists here, and immediately a ‘guide’ tried to latch on to me.

The step pyramid

That’s all there is to see at this spot.  500m away is another pyramid.

Yes, it is a pyramid.

Another guide latched on to me here.  I went inside.  (Free, unlike the Great Pyramid which is LE100)

The sarcophagus

He then followed me around all the outbuildings, reading the carvings (only what was completely obvious) in extremely bad English.

I went off without paying any baksheesh because he was so useless and annoying.  We went to Dahshur (LE30 and LE2 for the car)

The Red pyramid

View of the step pyramid from up the Red pyramid

You can also go inside here – the entry tunnel is very long and the cavity reeked of ammonia.

Cavity ceiling

You can’t get close to the other pyramids here

The Bent pyramid (due to poor architecture)

The Black pyramid

From here we went to Memphis.
My driver: “3000 years ago this was the capital of society and religion – now . . . it’s a village.”

There’s a museum (LE35 and LE2 for the car) which isn’t really worth the visit.

The main draw is this big broken statue of Rameses II

Alabaster sphinx of Rameses II

A large Arab approached offering to take my photo.  ‘No baksheesh!  No baksheesh!  I am the owner!’

How do people take photos so badly?

He then gave me a spiel about the artefacts then tried to sell me some carvings.  There’s not that much to see – just broken statues, stelae and other bits of rock.

Sarcophaga

Mummification table

Rameses again

We went back to Cairo.  I tried going out to the park to do some exercise but was moved on by a man who didn’t speak English (and had no uniform) – I think my interval timer was disturbing a mosque.  The mosques that blast their prayer calls at 5am at 120 decibels.  Did I mention Arabs don’t exercise at all?

I checked in to the Australian Hostel – only LE30/night for a 4-bed air conditioned dorm with breakfast.

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