We stayed at a guest house that reportedly offered the best possible view of the pyramids without being on top of one - they were right. We were literally on the same street as the entrance to the pyramid area. The roof was flat and the perfect place for viewing the pyramids away from the the vendors and noise below.
There weren't many tourists around, fewer than when I was there 7 years ago, anyway. There were, however, just as many vendors and people shouting, grabbing, pleading with you to buy whatever they were selling, following you as "guides," and begging to take your picture for "bakshish" - tips. This is exhausting.
I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted up close to the pyramids, primarily because we couldn't stand still or we were all but assaulted. It was sad; tourism is down. They genuinely are in need, but we were ill-equipped to respond and "no, thank you" attracted more attention - ignoring was the best (though still not very effective) method, but this was hard on us because we felt we were being rude and uncaring. This was the situation all around Egypt, in some areas more than others.
We were surrounded by people begging us to choose their services; horses were all around, no camels in sight at that point. We really just wanted to get away from the crowds as quickly as possible. That, and horses really are much more comfortable than the desert dinosaurs.
We rode to the back hillside for the panoramic view of the pyramids. Finally, we had at least a little more peace to enjoy the stillness of the desert, and to absorb the overwhelming presence of the pyramids. The Great Pyramid, the largest of all, is the oldest and only remaining of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. As the ancient Arab proverb says, "Man fears time, time fears the pyramids."
Besides, it's technically illegal, and anyone who knows Geoff knows he can't stand to even speed a few miles over the speed limit. Had he climbed it, I bet he would have thought it was much bigger than he first realized by the time he got to the top, and his legs would have been sore for days. Those stones are huge, it's no wonder there's such a mystery of how they were put in place.
The light show is fun, and dinner in addition made us feel like royalty. We got to have this dinner and light show experience three times on the roof though we only stayed there our first and last nights in Egypt, as they served us our second night before we caught our all night train to Luxor.
We saw a lot in Egypt, these are just pictures and stories from the Giza pyramids. We traveled to other pyramids, and followed the Nile river down to Luxor to get the most out of our time in Egypt. More stories and pictures to come - for now, we hope you enjoy the slideshow of the Giza Pyramids below: