Visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza is something I think must be on everyone’s bucket list. It was definitely on mine. So when I got the opportunity while working in Cairo to spend a day at pyramids I literally jumped at the chance. You may be surprised (like I was) to find out that the pyramids are so close to the city centre that in some locations you can actually sit down for a meal and see the vague shadow of a triangle in the far distance. It is quite amazing really. Getting there then isn’t far at all by car as my colleague and I were lucky enough to find out when we got a lift with some local friends we made on one of our first nights in Cairo.After a quick purchase of tickets you walk through a security check and it’s hard to contain your excitement when see the oldest standing seventh wonder of the ancient world right there in front of you. As soon as you get there you can practically jump on a camel and in a whirlwind hear the history of the pyramids rattled off from its handler, who like many of the workers there, had been in the same job for over 10 years. Needless to say he had done this mannnny times before and we were encouraged to take ALL the cheesy touristy photos.Following a long photo shoot spent on a pretty angry camel by the end of it we entered the tomb of the architect of the pyramids, which was a man named Hemiunu. We were told we were lucky to take photos there and that it was forbidden to put them on social media (I doubt this is true but I have a million other photos to share from that day). Nevertheless, I saw my first ever hieroglyphs before then being taken around to each of the three pyramids by horse and cart. This was definitely a perk of having Egyptian friends who could negotiate an actual “Egyptian price”, a term which you will hear COUNTLESS times in Egypt as if the Egyptian sellers truly think you will believe this as a tourist with blonde hair! Meanwhile we saw other non-Arabic speaking tourists (the few other tourists that were there) walking painfully in the heat. The downfall of this deal though was that we didn’t enter any of the pyramids with the guide dismissing it as the “tunnels being too narrow and dark to see anything” – something I wasn’t so impressed with but a reason to come back one day right?
Another perk of being with Egyptians was that we got chauffeured to the nearby perfume and papyrus stores where we were shown the true scents of Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Chanel (yes before it goes to Paris guys!) before purchasing original papyrus prints – see definitely not a tourist trap… To cap off the day we returned at night to see a light show that was spectacular, not because it was anything fancy or super high tech as truthfully it was probably barely surviving in contrast to the tourist hot spot it once used to be. However, the mere fact that we were sitting front row (with probably only 10 others in the crowd max) while watching lights flicker across such an imagined place in the world is truly an experience. The pyramids may not be as ‘exotic’ you would expect through the imagined films from Hollywood but just sitting in front of such remarkable structures whose sheer size and magnificence took over 20 years to build that have lasted over 4000 years to this day is something I will not forget. Having stood the test of time, they really do achieve the vision of immortalising the Pharaohs forever.