Its one of the seven wonders of the world. And although it is already difficult enough to imagine how the Pyramids of Giza were possibly built through mere images on Google, my mind was truly boggled when I saw it up close and personal earlier this month. My husband and I spent 4 days in Egypt and spent every moment basking in the beauty of the Pyramids. Whether it be the history behind each stone, or the accuracy of their placement, the Pyramids of Giza were certainly the biggest — and tallest — part of our trip. 😉
Although we were able to see the Pyramids everyday during our trip due to how close it was to our hotel, it wasn’t until our third day that we passed the entrance. The entrance fee to view the Pyramids is roughly $10 CDN, with an additional fee to go inside of The Great Pyramid. Unfortunately, we were only able to spend about an hour and a half to two hours at the Pyramids with Emo Travel Tours. It took almost an hour to get there from Sakara and stopping at The Perfume Palace and Papyrus Museum to encourage consumer spending did not help. So, we spent our time like the average tourist; taking corny pictures photographed by the locals and going on a 10 minute camel ride to see a panoramic view of the city. We were quick to realize that the purpose of tour guides were so they can take a few pictures for you. It was almost as if we were there to prove we were at the Pyramids — not to experience a significant part of Ancient history or, you know, make a few lifelong memories. The experience was lukewarm and failed to quench our thirst.
So we went back the next day. Without a tour guide. Without a group. We paid our entrance fee — again — and basked in the beauty of the Great Pyramid — again. Our patience was truly tested that day as locals were quick to take advantage of our lonesome selves. They insisted on taking us on a tour and offered us camel rides and horse carriage extravaganzas. It took about half an hour, yes half an hour, to lose these so-called tour guides who were apparently approved by the Ministry of Tourism (yeah, okay!) before we were able to finally have some time to ourselves. Just my husband, myself, and the Pyramids. The experience became even more beautiful when my flip flop tore in the midst of walking. Now, I can proudly say I walked around the Pyramids of Giza in the dessert sand- sans shoes.
The beauty of being able to walk around the Pyramids of Giza is having the ability to walk behind them, beside them, and all the way around them. Walk a few feet away from the tourist population and you’ll discover some excellent places to take a few Instagram-worthy pictures. Unfortunately (or fortunately), tour guides don’t take their tourists anywhere beyond the front of the the Great Pyramid and the line camels that await your American dollars and generous tips. So the nooks and crannies of the area that allowed us to take pictures to our heart’s content without having to crop or strategically frame our photos to avoid other people was like finding treasure.
And if you know me, you know I have a weird obsession with camels. The obsession grew when I discovered a verse in the Quran regarding these majestic animals. “Do they not look at the Camels, how they are made? And at the Sky, how it is raised high? And at the Mountains, how they are fixed firm? And at the Earth, how it is spread out? Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish.” [Al-Qur’an88:17-21] Before I even read or knew about this verse, the very sight of a camel brought me to tears. There is something so beautiful about these animals. When you look into their eyes, they can tell you centuries worth of stories. So when my husband told me we would be going camel riding in the sunset, I nearly cried.
I think the camel ride was the highlight of my trip. I loved the peaceful atmosphere as we strolled into the sunset on miles upon miles of sand. The sounds of the Athan (call to prayer) throughout the city during Maghrib (the evening prayer) filled my ears and heart as I remembered the various stories my mom used to share about the Prophet (PBUH) and the journeys he used to make with his camel. It was all coming to life in front of my eyes. At one point, I fell over backwards while I was staring at my camel as he was sitting by the side of the road, waiting for a command by his owner. The tour guide — who watched me fall — turned to my husband and said, ”your wife really likes camels.” He just nodded in agreement. I couldn’t even say anything in response. Because same.
I’m so glad I was able to experience this with him. All praise be the the most High, who help us make each other’s dreams come true everyday. My one request during this trip was that I get to ride a camel and go on an ATV bike. Meanwhile, all my husband wanted was a day to ourselves by the Pyramids. He wanted to walk around each Pyramid and through the Valley of Kings to bask in every piece of stone that went into building the magnificent wonder. So when my flip flop broke… I didn’t even care. I just wanted to be there with my husband making his wish come true.
The history of Egypt tells its own story through every grain of sand. Pictures and videos just don’t do it justice. Take one step in the streets, however, and you’ll learn a thousand new things. You’ve got a big personality, Egypt. I’ll miss you!
These photos were all captured by my husband or myself and self timers with his iPhone 8 Plus.