Of course, we had to take Bud and Ashley to see the pyramids, and we were eager to see them again too. This time we did the whole shebang, all six of us on camels plodding through the seemingly endless desert, sun beating down, up to the very base of the magnificent pyramids. Riding a camel reminds me a lot of riding a horse - the same soothing, rocking motion, but from a higher vantage point. The getting on and off, however, is considerably more dramatic. My stomach lurched as the camel, groaning grumpily with the effort of lowering or raising himself, folds and unfolds his gangly legs. Their funny gargling sounds made Misha laugh.
Last time we took the horse buggy, which was restricted to staying on the road that runs among the three large pyramids at Giza and past the Sphinx. This time, with our caravan of camels, we came up through a stretch of desert behind the pyramids, so that it really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, coming upon a great landmark ahead. We literally saw only rolling stretches of sand, with silhouettes of other camels in the distance, while the modern city of Giza was forgotten. It was wonderful.
It was very hot, but we had the advantage of a 9 a.m. start, the morning breeze, some sunscreen borrowed from another kind tourist, and white head covers provided by the camel company for a small fee.
Our caravan of camels, all linked one after the other, following our guide.
Off into the desert!
Bud and Ashley climb the steps of the Red Pyramid
Last but not least, we visited the step pyramid in Saqqara, one we had not seen before. This is Egypt's oldest pyramid, built under Pharaoh Djoser from 2667 to 2648 BCE. That's the 27th century BCE. Wow. Beneath the pyramid there are a maze of tunnels and burial chambers, but they are not open to the public.
Like a scene right out of an Indiana Jones movie, Josh and Bud pose in a doorway of the temple at Saqqara.
Around one side of the temple were three tombs, but unfortunately I am not sure whose they were. At this point, we were getting burnt out and a little frustrated with the constant demand for tips from guides, so we took only a brief look at one of them. This was our first glimpse of real hieroglyphics, which was great. They even retained some of their color. Images of boats, like the one above, usually represent the journey to the afterlife.