California to Jerusalem
Cairo and the Pyramids, Egypt

A new way in a very old land.

When Petra broke her leg, our walking pilgrimage ended. But we wanted to make an end to it in Jerusalem. Within a week of that fateful day Petra was on the internet and found a tour called "Into the Promised Land." It took us from Egypt through Jordan to Israel.

We began the 12-day tour on 15 December the morning after we arrived in Cairo on a flight from Rome. Our first stop was the amazing Cairo Museum. But, sorry, no pictures allowed. We also visited a Coptic church where Petra was the only photo that turned out. Then a little too late in the afternoon for really great photos, we drove up to the pyramids and got these.

The Pyramids of Khufu (c. 2566 BCE), Khafre (c. 2532 BCE), and Menkaure (c. 2504 BCE) in the late afternoon sun with Cairo in the background. Khufu's is the largest. It looks smaller because is a more distant and on a bit lower ground. 15 Dec 10

A closer look at the pyramids of Khufu, also known as Cheops, and Khfre, also known as Kephren, along with only two of the tens of tourist busses in the area. At one time the all the pyramids were covered with smooth, bright limestone. It's been used in other buildings for millennia. Only a little (and that is not too bright) is still in place on the top of Kephren's pyramid. 15 Dec 10

Mankaure's (Mykerinus) pyramid, stands in the desert with the buildings of Cairo in the background. 15 Dec 10

A close-up of Mankaure's pyramid reveals the size of the blocks used to build these huge tombs, if they were even that. These stones are huge but we didn't even have time to go over and stand next to them and feel their size. We had too many other things to do and places to to. 15 Dec 10

The city sits in the Nile valley, the pyramids on a plateau on the edge of the western desert, the place of the setting sun. 15 Dec 10

And to show that we were really here.... Petra is walking with only one crutch. This is just seven weeks after her fall. The leg is mending quickly. 15 Dec 10

Several camels are around for the convenience of the tourist--and to add a little to the economy. You can see the dark land in the background. This is the Nile valley. The Nile is Egypt. Egypt is the Nile. Almost all else is desert. The people live in the valley. 15 Dec 10

The "caravans" of tourists out for a jaunt. 15 Dec 10

Petra and one of those camel drivers. I learned a lesson from him and Petra. He wanted me to take their picture. Like the bus driver who told us everyone out here was after our money, I thought he just wanted money and didn't believe him when he said he didn't. Petra asked me again to take a picture. She believed him when he said "We are not all the same." I took the picture and he wanted no money. We shook hands and parted. A camel jockey teaches me a lesson: Don't pre-judge. 15 Dec 10

Khufu's pyramid from below the Sphinx. 15 Dec 10

The Sphinx. The light was already quite unfavorable. It would have been much better to have arrived noon or early instead of late in the afternoon. But that is how it was. Being on a tour with many stops left much to be desired. We could have spent days here but all we had was less than a couple hours. Our first and last tour of this type. It was a necessity this time. 15 Dec 10

They found this boat disassembled and buried at the base of Khufu's pyramid. They think it was used to carry the Khufu to his burial and then put here to carry him to the afterlife. 15 Dec 10

Petra rests in Cairo. Does she have a new job? 15 Dec 10

Cairo traffic. 16 Dec 10

Our only view of the Nile taken as we sped across the bridge in the bus. 16 Dec 10

Many half-completed apartment houses line the freeway on the edge of cairo. Our guide told us they were mostly illegal and below code. But they are filling a need for housing. Notice that they are incomplete, waiting for money to add more stories. 16 Dec 10

Cairo's freeway leading to the Suez in the east. 16 Dec 10

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Copyright © 2011-2012 Mike Metras,