Tourist excursion to the pyramids
Can you see a picture of a sight so often that you take it for granted? Even without having been there yourself?
Try closing your eyes and thinking Macchu Pichu, the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China or another place that you as a traveler have always had a picture of inside your head - even before you just came close to experiencing it yourself. You see it, but only understand why, you have the picture in your head when you are there.
Ok so, now that we were going to pass Cairo and the Sovereign Egyptian Museum anyway, we might as well head out into the desert and look at the obligatory pyramids. As Mallorca-like as it sounded, we had made the decision to take the trip out there.
The scare stories were otherwise many, and they were evenly distributed between modern threats such as annoying postcard sellers and fanatics with shooting itch over mythical stories about the pyramid virus and to the pharaohs' curse on those who disturbed the peace of the grave.
We had by that time already met the 'curse of Pharaoh' in the form of the obligatory bad stomach and thought that it probably did not get worse than that. Thus encouraged, we set off in a small tourist group. In an all-too-new bus, in an all-too-poor capital, to an all-too-familiar place.
The pyramids of the desert
The fog of smog and sand eases and we can see the iconic shapes emerge. The greatness of the desert takes over as we approach, and though we are only quite a short distance from the Nile and Cairo, the silence creeps in.
We walk towards the pyramids on the plain of Giza and without thinking about why, I walk purposefully and clap the Pyramid of Cheops. Enough just to be absolutely sure it's there.
The guide flips around with astronomical numbers, and with the pyramid within clapboard, reality burns itself firmly on the retina.
When we hear that this monumental and completely overwhelming burial ground is built with stones from the inside to the outside, from bottom to top, in a flat desert without real stones, we understand why we are here. Why there is a reason why the icon became an icon that all children can draw.
A marvel in the old and new world. A demonstration of power so great, a faith so deep and an efficiency so blatant that it cannot be understood - only experienced.
We look up and see the clouds drifting past just above the top of the pyramids. We only listen with half an ear to the story that this mastodon was the tallest building in the world for over 3800 years.
The sky is near
The intact top of the Khefre pyramid radiates in a supernatural way and absorbs our gaze and imagination. We get completely unfamiliar and strange thoughts about intergalactic connections and are almost happy that a single postcard seller has sneaked in anyway, who can get us down to earth again.
He is now completely peaceful, perhaps because the policeman on the camel is keeping a watchful eye on him. We sneak out of the group, moving around the work with reverent respect and our gaze fixed on the perfect stormer's body. It may well be that Keops is the largest in square meters, but Khefre is the largest in experiences among the pyramids.
The work of the gods is guarded by the Sphinx with the cunning smile and the big paws, and we get to click many times on the cameras we have brought with us. Heretically, we think it's a shame that the Sphinx has a bad hair day with many birds on the ice and in the boxer's nose, but that does not matter.
It takes a lot more than a bad hair day to ruin such a complete travel experience, and the official wonders of the world have now been added to the list of places we should probably just go. For other people's pictures in the head are good, but pictures you have taken yourself are now even better.
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