Giza: Pyramids and Camels

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Giza, Giza, Giza. Where do I even begin? Ok, ever since I was a little girl, reading my Eyewitness picture books about ancient Egypt, it has been my dream to visit the great Giza pyramids. In my head I always imagined riding around on a majestic camel, wearing all-white linen, with the ancient arabian desert winds blowing through my hair and (a young) Peter O’Toole, Brendan Fraser, or Harrison Ford cantering along dreamily beside me. Let’s just say that the reality was a little less glamorous.

To put it mildly, Giza is a dump. It’s actually a suburb of Cairo, with the fenced-off and heavily armed pyramid complex. It’s dirty, stinky, and filled with people who will hustle you blind. We paid a taxi driver from Cairo to drive us around all day to the different sites. Once we got to Giza we had to find someone to rent camels from. We are complete idiots and forgot to ask how much it should cost to do a camel ride around the pyramids, which is a must in Egypt’s bartering culture. I am confident we overpaid enough to feed the camels, their owners, their owner’s families, and their friends and their camels for a month. But let’s not talk about that. The weather was beautiful, bright and sunny with a nice breeze going on, blowing through my long blonde hair. Too bad I didn’t factor the sand part in my fantasy. Oops.

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Getting on and off the camels is really tricky, but once we were up there, we were good to go. After paying to enter the sight and passing through security, which consisted of a lot of men in robes and turbans with automatic weapons (shudder) we headed off towards the pyramids. The first thing we passed as we entered the complex? A dead horse. Yup, that’s right, a dead horse, just hanging out in the sand on the side of the path.

This is what I mean when I say that Egypt could definitely work on it’s tourism. Picking up trash and dead work animals around your nation’s top tourist attractions might actually help you out in the long run. Just saying.


After that scarring image, we spent a good four hours cameling about the pyramids, hopping (or in my case, falling) on and off the camels. My poor thighs were so sore the next day! This girl was not meant to ride anything but bikes and horses! We climbed up a bit on one of the pyramids, and took a million ridiculous photos. Our camel guide loved my camera. He kept taking it from me and taking photos of me and M, among other things too. He was pretty chatty and told us lots of interesting things, though he swindled us out of a lot of money to show us where the entrances were to some of the smaller tombs. At least he bribed the guards so we could take photos, or I mean, so he could take photos of us inside. Creepy.

By the time we got to the Sphinx, we had gotten on and off the camels so many times I thought my legs might be bleeding. I was sure I would tumble head first into the sand if we stopped again. Also all the peddlers and people selling stuff lurk around the Sphinx, and at least when I was on the camel, I was up high enough they couldn’t reach me. Win!

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giza pyramids

We saw our first hieroglyphics that day, slid down a lot of narrow, long ramps into the tombs, learned how to tie turbans, reenacted scenes from Indiana Jones and the Mummy, and burnt the s*** our of our scalps. Lessons learned that day: wear hats in Egypt and barter better! And oh yeah, dreams do come true! 

Have you ever been to Giza? Ever ridden a camel before? Have you ever envisioned a place and then finally visited in person? Did your image match up to the reality?



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giza pyramids

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Please notice where he is staring. This pretty much sums up our interactions with men in Egypt.

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21 Comments on “Giza: Pyramids and Camels

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  1. I have heard Giza is a dump, which is so sad since I have always dreamed of visiting the pyramids too! Your pictures, however, are gorgeous!

    I just found your blog! I’m so excited to read more! I’m a California native that just moved to Germany. So far, it’s almost all love, but I miss home sometimes too. What part of Spain are you living in??


    1. Glad you like my pictures. It is still worth visiting, the pyramids are incredible, just dont have high expectations about Giza, or Egypt in general haha.

      Glad you like my blog! I´ll check out yours asap!

      1. I am about to move to work as a Teacher for a year in Egypt.. I have done a lot of research and have been very excited.. After reading your blog about it….. Excitement gone.

    2. I just left Giza 2 days ago, we stayed in the hotel in front of the pyramid. we can see the pyramids in our window when we are sleeping. we arrived at lunch time and the thing i see first were the garbage on the road, plastics flying around and the dust which is really sticking to my face especially i am sweating. but the most horrible thing for me are the flies and the stink of the poop of the animals. oh my god, i do not want to get out of our room anymore. around 5pm we went out to look for food but the people always comes and offers you something and asks you and force you to rid eon their camels or buy stuffs from is not very relaxing. and then i see the way the food are handled. oh my god they just took it with their bare hands which are dirty like hell and the surrounding is so dusty especially when the wind is blowing. and people buy fruits, for example the dates, they just put it in their mouth right away and it is full of dirt. and one vendor offered me to try it and eat it from his hand. i said no, i do not like it. but they will really force you and said it is free.hahhaha..i do not care. i cannot breath really because of the stinking smell. really is completely the contrary of what i was expecting of.

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