While the view at Marriott Mena House is historic, the food is pretty touristy. At least the mediocre breakfast was complimentary.
The Pyramids were the focus of today's tour, starting off with the Pyramids of Giza. They're massive, with the Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), aka the Great Pyramid of Giza, truly living up to its name, both inside and out. The nearby Pyramid of Khafre is equally impressive, while I admit I was a little underwhelmed by the Great Sphinx. Some of this might have been by vantage point; I had failed to do my research and didn't press my tour guide on going to more optimal vantage points than the usual tourist ones.
Saqarra was the next stop, with the Funerary Complex of Djoser and the Step Pyramid of Djoser as the highlights. Made sure to pay extra for the photography permit, which the guide actually recommended I skip (!) (another sign of this guide not being a good one for me). Surprisingly, at Saqarra was when the true sense of scale really began to hit me. It wasn't just one pyramid or even ten or twenty, but over a hundred and many complexes similar to the Giza Necropolis, and Saqarra, and Dahshur. Even minor structures like Serdab, outside of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, must have been hundreds, if not thousands of hours of effort.
Inside the Step Pyramid of Djoser, was a level, low, rough stone hallway leading to the towering burial chamber, very different than the sloping hallways of polished stone I had experienced not more than a few hours ago in Giza. And the first exposure to the vibrancy of still-painted hieroglyphs inside the Tomb of Chief Justice and Vizier Kagemni only added to the experience.
Final stop of the day was Dahshur, for the Red Pyramid of Snefru and the Bent Pyramid of Snefru. Very different experiences inside both, with the towering, dark, corbel-vaulted ceiling inside the Red Pyramid, vs. the rough-hewn white stone inside the Bent Pyramid (and the bats!). I'm not sure if it was the fact that the sun had come out or what it was, but seeing the Bent Pyramid was actually much more impressive than I had expected. The outer layer still being mostly intact, the obvious modern repairs, maybe a combination?
Having the employees accidentially turning off the lights while I was still inside the Bent Pyramid was unexpected, tho!