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Egypt Fear Not! Part I

"I don't remember how many friends and family members expressed concern when we told them about our plans to travel to Egypt. However, we firmly believe that the more we travel, the more we gain a better perspective of the world and can see what is happening in an area that often gets a bad reputation by default. We enjoyed staying at the first-class Marriott Mena House, in Giza, a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city. The hotel was not too crowded, and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. The pyramids looked magnificent during the day, and even more so at night when illuminated. We spent 19 days immersing ourselves in the surrounding area's history, culture, people, and food. It was an unforgettable experience that we will cherish for a lifetime." Any of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them. Below, we are at our hotel with the Pyramids just a 5 to 7-minute walk away.

This is the entrance to the workshop that a charming gent named Kookie drove us. We went there to see our custom jewelry made.

This video shows just a sampling of our experience there.

During our tour with Archaeological Paths, we had the unique opportunity to participate in multiple exclusive experiences, including a private tour of the Great Pyramid. At 5:00 am, our group of 20 was granted full "before the tour busses/crowds arrive"access to the Pyramid. The sheer size and grandeur of this structure left us in awe. It measures 455 feet high, and the lower tunnels extend over 200 feet below the surface. Chris and I were among the first in our group to explore and take pictures.

Okay, a quick historical side note:

These were built during the Old Kingdom, before hieroglyphics were used in Pyramids, so none were on the walls. It was built by Khufu (Cheops), the second king of Egypt's 4th dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 BC), and was completed about 2560 BC. The exact age has been debated. The Pyramids of Giza are often collectively one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and they are the last of the wonders still standing. Its original height was 481 feet, but it now stands at 454 feet, and the base is 756 feet. The total weight of large blocks used is 6 million tons.

This picture below is me looking up top of this amazing site at 6 am as the sun was rising. The thumbnails as you scroll through are the pictures as we explored the Great Pyramid of Giza. We were able to explore the 3 chambers: 2 are open to the public, but the 3rd one is typically closed.

After we left the Pyramid, we explored the surrounding area. By the time we finished, the crowds had arrived: at least 60 buses and 400-500 people in line to see what we had seen a short time before.

Flash forward to the New Kingdom:

Ramses II (aka Ramses the Great) was one of the longest-reigning pharaohs. There are many surviving artifacts from his reign. Below, is just one of one of many colossal statues of him.

We were honored to be seated between the paws of the Great Sphinx while Dr. Zahi Hawass spoke to us for an hour.

Imagine standing before the Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, towering above you while surrounded by a vast expanse of desert. I still get goosebumps...and this was just the beginning.



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