The day started early with our guide Ahmid picking us up at 7.45am. We headed first to the great pyramid of Giza. There are 3 large ones, 5 smaller ones and of course the sphinx. We paid extra (900 Egyptian pounds) to go into the great pyramid. You crawl through a very steep passage up 70m into the heart of the pyramid to the burial chamber. Inside is a sole sarcophagus. Made out of one solid piece of granite. The walls inside and out were complete smooth, almost polished! Above us, massive slabs of granite 10m x 2m each. It’s impossible to believe it was made with simple tools. The kids are really taken with how big the pyramid is. We then barter for our camel to ride behind the pyramids to be able to see them all at once. Mark and B.B. are in front and they end up having a naughty camel! At one point as mark is getting on, the camel jumps up, nearly knocking him off! It’s funny as it keeps farting and pooping too. We capture some amazing shots of the pyramids and head to the Sphinx. Here we again become a spectacle with hoards of Egyptians wanting our photo. Benjamin decides today he likes all the attention but as I see people running in our direction put a stop to the picture taking. We already have about 60 people around us and more are coming!
After 3 hrs, we head to a papyrus factory. We see how they strip the papyrus stem and then hammer it flat. They then soak the strips for 3 days for light and 7 for dark paper. This takes out some of the sugar. It then goes under a heavy rock to dry. After some real heavy bartering we end up with two large pieces and two smaller ones for the kids.
Next we are off to Saqqara and the stepped pyramid. We pay a quick stop to see the oldest mummy in Egypt pharaoh Meryn Ra We can’t go inside this pyramid though as it’s not stable. We stop off at Memphis this see what’s left of the monuments from Ramses and a mid-size Sphinx.
On the road again and we head for the bent pyramid and the first completed, true pyramid built by Sinafru. After climbing what seems like a thousand stairs, we look down the barrel of a 65m steep shaft, almost straight down! The chamber is again beautiful but stinks to high heaven. There are three chambers with the last one needing you to climb back up 30m or so. As much as we would have liked to have stayed a bit longer the smell is too overpowering.
As a full day of pyramids viewing comes to a close, Ahmid invites us back to his place for ‘lunch’ that just happened to be at 4.30pm. His sister spent all day cooking and we were delivered a feast! Battered fish (mullet) crumbed chicken, baby eggplant stuffed with rice, pasta and some delicious potatoes. All sooooooo amazing!! So much flavour! Ahmid kept piling our plates up till we almost burst! Then we had the privilege of meeting his family. They all live in a 5 story complex in a little village. The house looks old from the outside but walk indoors and you’re blown away! It’s like a Victorian manor house. Decorative crown mouldings painted in gold, wallpaper on the ceiling. Victorian triple layer curtains in every room and big ornately carved furniture. The kids went and played with the other children. Despite not knowing the Egyptian, they all enjoyed the universal language of laughter and play. We left will full tummies, after eating more fruit (The mandarins were amazing) and little pastries named Fteer Meshaltet.