1204 (local time)
The Tour Begins! Day 1.
Waking up at 7am is the earliest I have woken up in a long time! In fact I think it’s the earliest I've woken up since I have been in Africa/ Egypt! So it was a bit of a big deal for me.
Me and my room mate, ‘Quinny’ are sharing a room, we forgot to save on costs and we left the air-con on when we went to sleep! So we woke up which we described as an ‘ice box’ absolutely freezing!
We got our bags pack and got them together an headed down to the ‘standard hotel buffet’ (THEY SERVED FIGJAM!!!) and to meet the rest of the tour group. We ate up big because today was going to be a huge day of museums, pyramids, the sphinx and a 15 hour train ride!
The tour group was a mixture of 21-30 year olds really cool people from Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Columbia! So a great mix!
The first place we went to, was the infamous Egyptian Museum! At the museum entrance there was a small pond in the middle with two types of plants, the first was a type was a flower, the Lotus and the Papyrus, which is a type of plant that was used to make the paper back in the old Egyptian times. These two plants represent the upper and lower Egypt!
The entrance of the Museum is littered with statues and other tourists! Our tour guide took us to the oldest statue ever found in ancient Egypt history, it was in immaculate condition, its amazing that these statues were made over 3000 years ago, and to think they are still smooth, is unbelievable.
Our tour guide pointed out to us, that on most statues the king will have one hand in a fist and the other hand will be an open palm. Well, here’s some nerdy pub trivia for ya’ it means that the hand with the fist means the king wants to be remembered as being powerful whilst the open palm means the king wants to me remember as being sympathetic (aka sympathy). So for example, we then saw a statue of a great warrior and his two hands were both making a fist. So pop quiz: What does he want to be remembered as? Yep that’s right, being powerful. Whilst his wife had to open palm’s, which means she wants to be remembered as having sympathy! Pretty cool huh!
Walking through the museum with a tour guide was so helpful, because where I would have just looked at a statue, read about and walked off, the tour guide was able to explain it to us so we have a proper understanding of it.
I also found out, that although the statue may be of a king with chiselled abs, massive guns and pec’s this is just a representation of how the king wanted to be remember as, in fact he could be a fat and ugly king, quite amusing I thought.
We then made it up stairs and had a look at the different scriptures and hieroglyphics, and then we saw King Tutankhamen tomb. Its quite amazing to see how they are built and formed, because inside one tomb there is another, all with different treasures in them, similar to one of those Russian dolls, that you pull apart to find another doll in there. We were then told by our tour guide to go into King Tutankhamen tomb room (funny), where there was all the jewellery that came out of the tomb. Even though King Tutankhamen was only king for around 9 years from the time he was 9 until 18 he had so much jewellery made for him.
In this room, there were two main things that definitely stood out too me. The first thing was the famous burial mask that was made from pure gold weighing at around 9-11kilograms and the other thing that stood out was King Tutankhamen’s coffin and coffinette. This was also made from pure gold and it weighed 112 kilograms. It was an amazing site to see, because the only other time that you would see these is in your year 12 text book, so it was mind blowing to say the least.
We were then given the option to pay 100LE which is about $AUD20 to go and visit the Mummy Room. The reason why you had to pay to get into this room, was these mummies were all kings and sportsman’s at that reigned Egypt over the many centauries. I’ve never seen a mummy before (except for my history teacher in year 10, she looked like a mummy) so I thought ‘f*ck it, I’m never going to be here again, and I think ill regret it if I don't go in’ I was the only person from my tour that went in. I definitely don't regret it, it was amazing, looking at kings that are over 1000 years old, and seeing that they still have hair and fingernails is a very eerie sight.
After we finished with the museum we went again on the busy Cairo roads to the Giza Pyramids. I had a quick nap on the bus, and I woke to the site of the pyramids, what an wonderful site! Seeing the pyramids, seeing the place my grandfather used to play as a kid, seeing the last one 7 ancient wonders of the world no words can explain how amazing they looked.
At the Giza pyramids there are 3 pyramids, each belonging to the different Dynasty of the kings.
So... Ill begin. The biggest Pyramid is for King Khufu who reigned from around 2589 to 2566 B.C. The second biggest Pyramid is for King Khafra who we think reigned between 2558 BC and 2532 BC. The most amazing thing about this pyramid is that it still has a part of its smooth stones/casting stones, its hard to believe that most of the pyramids were covered in this, it must have looked amazing to see the sun hit the pyramids and reflect the sun off. The smaller one of the pyramids is the Pyramid of Menkaure, and was built to serve as a tomb for the 4th Dynasty King Pharaoh Menkaure who reigned between 2620 BC–2480 BC.
After we finished off with the Pyramids we headed off down to the Sphinx, the Sphinx is again one of those things that you don't really believe that you are looking at the real thing, because the only other time that you see the Sphinx and the Pyramids is in text books, so to actually see it in ‘real life’ it is surreal.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau. It is the largest statue in the world, standing 73.5 m (241 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 20 m (65 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians (thanks Wikipedia, take 5)
Of course you had to take all the stupid touristy shots with the Sphinx, this including kissing it and so forth, so once all that was over, we headed to the local Papyrus factory to see how they made the paper back in the day.
It’s a pretty cool process but it takes about 12 days just to make sure the ingredients are prepped and ready to go. It’s interesting watching them making it.
What a massive day it was, we were all absolutely buggered, we had a big dinner (standard buffet) and then made sure they we had everything set for the massive 15 hour bus ride from Cairo to Aswan, which is over 800 kilometres in distance in a straight line (thanks Google Earth) So let’s see if I get any sleep! I'm EXCITED!