Cairo & the Pyramids of Giza

Gill Nicholls on 05 October 2009

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I met colleagues at Heathrow and checked in for our BMI flight. We were then taken to the BMI lounge, situated airside. It’s a lovely lounge, decorated in contemporary style. There was a good selection of pastries on offer along with other drinks and snacks. They have a lovely fireplace with comfy sofas arranged around it.

The flight is about 4 hours and BMI’s economy cabin offers a tasty menu and a very good entertainment system with video and audio channels.

We arrived in Cairo and the next day we visited the Egyptian Museum. Entry fee is EG£60 which allows you entry to the majority of the antiquities held here. I found it fascinating looking at furniture, clothes and jewellery which was all at least 5000 years old and you can easily spend a whole day in here. If you want to see actual mummies e.g. Tutankhamen, then you have to pay a further EG£100 to the special area.

In the afternoon, we made our way to the Pyramids. People always think the Pyramids are way out into the desert but in reality, they are situated on the edge of the city at Giza and in fact, you can catch a glimpse of them from most places in the city.

Entry into the area is EG£60 and you are able to walk around the Pyramids and the Sphinx. You have to have your wits about you here as you will be hassled continually by people trying to sell you all manner of things or offering you camel rides. We were warned not to engage with the sellers but while there other guides were heard encouraging their group to buy so it depends on who you get.

The Pyramids and Sphinx were absolutely awesome and it was hard to take in that I was looking at an Ancient Wonder of the World. I actually touched the base stone of one of the Pyramids and felt very humble.

The Sphinx was built to guard the Pyramids and our Guide explained that when a Pharaoh died, it took 70 days to embalm and mummify the body and this was done in a building below the Sphinx away from everyone. He was then carried through a corridor to a temple where the family could pay their last respects. The last part of the journey was the carrying of the body into the Pyramid itself.

Our last full day in Cairo was spent visiting various hotels both in the City and around the outskirts and it gave us a chance to see the contrasts. There is a new city being built to take the overspill from Cairo, called 6th October City, and there’s lots of building work at the moment but already looks very promising. Nicely landscaped and less polluted with lovely resort hotels.

On summary of my trip to Cairo, I would definitely compare it to Marmite – you either love it or hate it! Personally, I feel very privileged to have seen the Pyramids with my own eyes and visit the Egyptian Museum and I think everyone should visit the Pyramids at least once in their lives.

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