Luxor - a long day and lots seen

Trip Start Apr 13, 2008
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Trip End May 02, 2008


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Flag of Egypt  , Nile River Valley,
Monday, April 21, 2008

21 April
Overnight the boat cruised to Luxor and we had a big day planned.  As part of the cruise we had expected a tour of the Necropolis of Thebes; however the trip now also included a trip to the Temples of Karnak and Luxor.  After checking out of the boat it was on to a bus and off to the Valley of the Kings with a short stop at the Colossi of Memnon.  They were well worn but what would you expect after 3,500 years.  They marked the entrance of Amenhotep IIIs mortuary temple which was long gone.  From there it was back on the bus and off to the Valley of the Kings.
 
To get to the valley it is a short ride on an Electric Train which bet walking up the hill in the heat which was climbing into the mid to high 30s and it was only 8:30 in the morning.  It was a magical place and I felt in awe at being there.  It did not have the visual impact of the Pyramids or Abu Simbel as the impressive parts are underground and out of sight.  After a brief talk about the valley from the guide we did not wait until he had finished.  We skipped class and headed for Thutmosis IIIs tomb. One interesting fact was that the valley is built at the base of a natural pyramid, to connect the dead to heaven like the man made pyramids.  To get to the tomb we had to go to the back of the valley on the left side and up some stairs.  By the time I got up there I hot and puffing.  We then descended down into the tomb.  It was steep down hill with a left turn into a chamber and then down into another tunnel into the burial chamber.  In the chamber was a giant granite sarcophagus.  How did there get it in there?  We then climbed back out again.  Outside the sweat was dripping off and if I had thought it was hot before going inside, it was now cool as the sweat evaporated.
 
It was back down the valley to visit the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses III.  Tutankhamun's tomb was small and looked partially finished.  There were only drawings on the burial chamber walls.  Tutankhamun was lying in the tomb. Ramses tomb was a long corridor deep into the hill.  It had amazing drawings on the walls and a number of side chambers.  At the end was the burial chamber.  Now back to the bus.  On the way back I was pestered by a vendor for 3 statues.  He started at 1000LE and slowed my walk to the exit.  He was very persistent and I just kept saying no.  He finally got to 50LE at which time I gave in and brought them.  Janine was so concerned about the level of hassling that she was about to go to the Tourist Police.

Back on the bus and off to an alabaster 'factory' for the old tourist sale job.  The kids bought some glow in the dark statues and Mikayla and Janine both got marriage proposals from the same man.  Then it was off to Hatshepsut's temple.  It was now about 11:00am and the sun was really beating down with the temperature at around 40 degrees and we went through the water like no tomorrow, 5 bottles (1.5lts) before lunch. Hatshepsut's (Hat-ship-suit) temple was amazing, even if the heat was overwhelming.  At the top in the sanctuary a local guide showed us over the rope for a look inside at the coloured drawings for a small fee.
 
After a quick stop at a papyrus factory it was back to the boat for lunch and digging out some more water.  After lunch and swim it was off to Karnak Temple. Karnak is the biggest temple in the world and it showed.  The last pylon (named the first as it is on the outside) is unfinished and is larger than any of the previous ones.  Then it was into the temple and the great hypostyle hall.  It has 132 columns that are so large that 8 men with arms stretched out could fit around them.  They are around 20m high.  It was very hot there not only the sun but the all the stones had adsorbed the sun heat and were radiating it out.  We only got as far as the scared lake and had to stop for an ice cream to cool off.  It was then a march for about 1km back to the bus and the air conditioning.
 
Then onto the Luxor Temple as the day was getting on it was now after 4:00pm and the sun was waning with some of the heat taking out of the day.  The Luxor Temple was a nice and compact site with some amazing statutes - particularly of the one who loves himself.  It was hard to believe that it was covered in silt to the level of the mosque's door (the height of about 1 to 1.5 floors).  In front of the temple is an obelisk in the front of the temple.  It sister obelisk was moved to Paris.
 
After the visit it was back to the boat to wait to be picked up and taken to the hotel.  The day was exhausting and we were all tired.  It was the hottest day on the trip and we totalled 9 bottles of water for the day.  In the hotel there were still single beds so it was the most time that I had not slept with Janine in the same bed since we have been together.  As we had eaten well at lunch time we just ordered room service of fries.  The kids thought this was a treat.
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