Red Sea Day 7: The Pyramids of Egypt

A later start to the day as we arrived into Sokhna – which meant more time to relax and enjoy breakfast.  We were used to getting up early, and in fact by this stage enjoyed it.  Pyramids and Sphinx here we come! I am sure many people similar to me have always wanted to see this great “place of eternity”. I do understand that there is debate whether the pharaohs were actually buried in the pyramids, however, my particular journey was to see and experience these massive constructions that have stood the elements of time and not concern myself with the two theories..  Our first stop was to the step pyramid – Pyramid of Djoser.  Upon arrival, and surrounded by the familiar donkeys and camels and their owners, I recalled a story my parents had told me when they were at the pyramids…

They had travelled to Egypt years earlier, (pleased to say on a ship) and my mum was literally ‘camel jacked’ as soon as they stepped off the bus.  My dad, when he saw her, told her to “get down at once”. My father’s reaction made my mum burst into stitches of laughter, asking him “Nick! How am I supposed to simply get down from such a large creature?!”

All he kept repeating was “get down immediately”. Of course the camel owners wanted money and as they thought she was having a wonderful time, probably thought it was a good opportunity to ‘raise the stakes’.

I would like to think of myself as a street smart traveller, and believed it would not happen to me.  Ironically, however, within a few moments of us hopping off the bus Brianna was suddenly perched  on a donkey. Before I knew what was going on my camera was taken out of my hands and I was being whisked on top of a donkey myself. I must add that the camel owner didn’t steal our camera but rather took it for the purposes of photographing us (and then asking us for 20US Dollars for his professional services – we settled on two Euro).

Brianna and I with our donkeys and our self appointed guide

In hindsight we do have the photos of memories and it merely cost us a couple of dollars for the fun.  Considering the plight of many, it is a relatively small cost.  I do have to say, that it does become difficult at times with so many people constantly haggling and trying to sell their wares.  As I stated in the beginning, many are trying to eke out a living to feed themselves.

Step Pyramid

There were very few tourists at the pyramids that day, allowing us plenty of time to explore the area.  I met a French young man who had recently moved to Egypt.  He was showing two friends the sites and led us off the beaten track, where we saw some amazing paintings.

ravelling through Cairo to get Giza was an eye opener.  I will never complain about Sydney traffic again.  In saying this everyone keeps moving and somehow it all flows and works – a true sense of organised chaos. When we arrived at the pyramids of Giza the sun was on the cusp of setting. The sky was filled with soft hues of pinks, blues and oranges. It was the perfect backdrop to the phenomenal pyramids. Irrespective of how many times you see images of the pyramids, nothing can prepare you for their enormity, their grandeur and the impact they have on your senses.

The remainder of our time at the Pyramids of Giza (also the site of the Sphinx) was spent in blissful awe. In our silence, we reflected on our travels. We had journeyed through lands that literally brought history to life. We had met wonderful people, cruised in a new region, and reacquainted ourselves with our darling friend, MSC Armonia.

Author: Lynne Clarke is the Managing Director of MSC Cruises (Australia).

MSC Cruises is currently operating 7 night cruises aboard MSC Armonia until March 2013. 10 night fly/cruise packages are available out of Australia or New Zealand that include this cruise. Quote “Pharaohs of the Red Sea” to enquire. Red Sea Cruise only options are available in the 96 Hour Sale 28 January – 1 February 2013.

This concludes our series on the Red Sea, we hope you have enjoyed it!