10 Days in Egypt | Part 1
What can I say. This has been a bucket list destination for as long as I can remember. But it always seemed so foreign, too difficult, and potentially unstable.
I'm so happy that my first trip to the African continent was a place steeped in such rich archeological history and iconic landmarks known to the world. Though I can't mention how amazing the trip was without also mentioning the absolute CHAOS that is Egypt 😅
This picture just shows a "quiet" tiny town off the beaten path somewhere. And yes, our mode of transport that morning was a horse and buggy!
I have never experienced a city like Cairo in all of my travels... It had the true grittiness of a third-world country, but it also had a level of chaos in a way that I had never witnessed before.
Even our guide, Ahmed, who was with us for all ten days said that driving in Egypt is terrifying. And he's Egyptian!
"The rules of the road are simple," he said in the most dead-pan way. "There are none."
Picture eight lanes of freeway without lines or order. People are swerving, scraping off other's car mirrors, all while trying to avoid hitting people sprinting across these eight lanes. Oh, and of course, you'll need to look out for the horses and donkeys galloping around as well.
When we were first picked up from the airport, the one hour ride to our hotel was WILD.
But then, we were met with views from the courtyard that looked like this 😱 The Marriott Mena House is a stunner.
That is THE Great Pyramid of Giza, my friends. We got to look at it for an evening, but we wouldn't get private access to go inside until day ten. Such a tease 🙄
Just reminiscing about this trip is so overwhelming... in a good way. We were up before 4:30 each morning for 14-16 hour days, for TEN DAYS straight just to see as much as we could with our guide.
It is truly unfathomable to imagine what the ancient Egyptians accomplished. It feels mind-blowing to say this, but after several days of visiting sites dated back to 4,400 B.C., you almost become numb to it... as weird as that sounds.
Your brain can barely comprehend it on day one, and after it is said each day, it almost becomes normal to be standing in these ancient sites and structures.
I think the best way to share these memories are to just share the photos. It'd be impossible for me to try and recreate anything meaningful for you, from what I learned while there.
I hope you enjoy 🤗
|Memphis, Dashur, and Saqqara
This first pyramid you see here is called the Red Pyramid. This isn't any of the three main pyramids in Giza, but it's special to me because it's the first one I climbed up and down into.
Once you scaled up to the entrance, it was a 15 minute descent to what felt like your ultimate death. It was a narrow, dark, steep tunnel into the belly of this thing. Occasional dim lights, dust, and thick, hot (oxygen-deprived) air made the claustrophobia level a proper 100 😅
Poor Ken had to turn back about halfway down because he started panicking!
I loved it. I was sweating and struggling to catch my breath while crawling inside this 5,000-year-old pyramid with my bulky camera in hand. The interior chamber was dark (shocker) and pretty bare. I spent all of 30 seconds inside before scrambling 15 minutes back up the same chute we came down. I had to practically crawl on top of people who were coming down, just to get past them. What an experience!
The neighbor to the Red Pyramid is the, aptly named, Black Pyramid. Our guide said that moving around and navigating inside the Black Pyramid was a 12/10 on the difficulty level and could take over an hour just to get out. I passed on that one.
Just a short drive away was the Step Pyramid - the oldest pyramid in all of Egypt (and its crumbling neighbor). By the late afternoon, the clouds had set in, but the rays of sunlight jutting out from the clouds over this pyramid was just... magical.
In fact, one theory our guide told us as to why the pyramid was used in ancient Egypt is it is said to mimic the shape of sun rays coming down from the sky (and the ancient Egyptian gods).
To top the day off, we got to visit a recently uncovered tomb that isn't open to the public. They even had newly-discovered cat mummies still being examined on a table right outside the tomb's door!
And an added bonus was the Egyptologist who discovered the tomb happened to be there that day, so we got a first-hand, private tour from him.
There's a super interesting Netflix documentary that talks about this specific tomb, and in the biggest of coincidences, we watched this specific documentary before we left on our trip not knowing that we would get to visit that tomb and meet the archeologist who uncovered it. What is life.
The ornate details of everything in there is just simply mind-blowing.
And THIS was the end of just our first full day in Egypt. I'm completely exhausted just looking at these pictures again, haha!
We spent the next day visiting the Grand Egyptian museum in Cairo. And just wow. So many artifacts.
Among the thousands of pieces that we saw, we also got to see the full collection of King Tut (the Egyptians haaate that the rest of the world calls him King Tut 😂). So... we got to see King Tutankhamen's gold burial mask (which we couldn't take photos of), his golden, bejeweled sarcophagus, and other things like his royal chair, chariot, a bust used as a model to make and fit his clothing.
The next day, we flew south to Luxor where sites such as the Valley of the Kings are located. But because of the hundreds of photos I still need to sort through... that will just have to wait for part two 😊