Luxor and the West Bank
Trip Start Oct 30, 2005
59Trip End Jun 19, 2006
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10,000 tourists a day tread the paths of the Valley of the Kings alone, with 100 tour buses making a daily 10-hour round trip from Hurghada, on the Red Sea coast, to the sites at Luxor.
Inevitably, the sheer touristic value of the archaeological wonders of Thebes draws the touts, like flies to honey, and the inescapable price dualities and rip-offs that Egypt seems to specialise in.
But not even the relentless cries of "Papyrus?", "See my shop!", or "Water? 10 pounds", can distract from the incredible sights on offer here, in the West Bank
Many of the tombs are closed to the public unfortunately, for restoration work, so my choice was limited. In the end, I was able to explore the tombs of Ramses IV, Ramses III, and Ramses I, all of which contain exquisite and delicate frescoes depicting their respective pharaoh's passage to the afterlife, and the wealth he took with him to the realm of the gods. Alas, photography was not allowed inside, with the ever vigilant guards more than willing to drag offenders outside by their camera straps, so I have nought but memories to take with me, and no photos to share. You'll just have to come here yourselves!
Of the many other highlights on offer, we managed to get around the imposing edifice of the Temple of Hapshupset (built by one of Egypt's greatest female pharaohs) and wander casually through several of the vividly decorated Tombs of the Nobles
After that, though, it was time to call it quit. Two consecutive days of exploring old stone was enough for this traveller for a while, and I was starting to think wistfully of the deep blue waters of the Sinai, and Dahab - my next destination. All that stood in my way was a 17 hour bus journey. I can't say I was looking forward to that, but I knew it was time to see Luxor, and it's amazing reminder of what once was, in the rear-view mirror. For this trip, at least.