We've made it to Luxor

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
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Trip End Sep 11, 2011


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Flag of Egypt  , Qina,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18 2010. We're off to Luxor today, a 2 hr flight loosely following the Nile south. All the formalities completed and we’re under way by 10.15am. Another hazy day so the visability is not conducive to photo-taking.  As we approach Luxor, the blue of the Nile can be seen snaking through the ribbon of the green vegetation. Either side there is a surprising amount of high ground – we pass over the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.  Safely on the ground after a bumpy approach we were parked alongside a small high-wing aeroplane with great registration 3D-FUN, and an Antonov AN-2.  The Handling Agents were quickly with us and after refuelling and putting the plane to bed, we were escorted through the Terminal with a minimum of fuss.

An interesting taxi ride took us to the West Bank area where we were staying in a small local guest house run by a French lady, Eleanor,  and her Egyptian Business Partner.  Very rustic and charming, and we were welcomed with a light snack and delicious lemon juice drink.  As our time there was going to be short, we wanted to start sight-seeing that afternoon and just had time to visit the local Medinat Habu Temple before it shut at 5pm.  A quide attached himself to us, and whisked us through the many colourful hieroglyphics and carvings, giving a running commentary on their meanings.  We were glad we had the opportunity to visit the Temple – an amazing place.

A quick soft drink and Eleanor kindly took us to the Nile river bank where we caught a local boat to the East Bank, accompanied by an Italian couple who had just arrived at the guest house.  We decided not to go into either the Luxor Temple or Museum, but instead to walk around the town. We were hassled for carriage or felucca rides a lot, but a firm 'No’ usually had the desired affect!  The suggested restaurant for supper was a huge success and after a delicious meal and mint tea, we made our way back via the ferry (bit like the Star Ferry in Hong Kong for those who may have experienced this) and a taxi ride to the guest house.  The end of yet another busy day!

September 19 2010.  A day off from flying and a chance to stretch our legs.   We decided to spend the day on the West Bank and visit the Valley of the Nobles and then the Kings.  After a leisurely breakfast we were dropped off outside the antiquities ticket office and walked to the Valley of the Nobles.  First tomb visited was that of Nakht  (an astronomer of Amun), then Mena (an estate inspector) and finally Sennofer (overseer of the garden of Amun under Amenhotep II).  All three tombs were quite stunning in their colour and decoration with scenes of the daily rural lives.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed.

Next to the Valley of the Kings.  As this was a few kms away, we started walking but eventually succumbed to taking a taxi the rest of the way.  We negotiated what we considered was a good rate, only  LE60 for the drive up, the driver to wait for us for 1.5 hrs and then take us back to the Medinat Habu. Again, no photos allowed which was a pity considering the beauty of the area and the tombs. A general admission ticket allowed access to three tombs so with a tourist information guide’s help we settled on Tuthmosis III, Tawosret/Sethnakht and Ramses III.  The middle of these was the most impressive, perhaprs because Tawosret was a woman! 

Patrick needed to print out some airport information for tomorrow’s flight so we went into the local town (Al-Gezira) to find an internet café. On the second attempt we found one with printing facilities.  A walk along the Nile bank, time to watch the world go by and then a taxi to a local restaurant by the Memnon monument for an early supper.  Excellent chicken curry, rice and veg and lemon juice to drink (hope you are feeling hungry!!). We were the only people there and got chatting to the chap running the restaurant (who just happened to be connected to the guest house owners!)  - free hot bananas and jam for dessert.  We signed his guest book – there were many complimentary comments about the delicious food and the view. 

The Lonely Planet Guide for Luxor just about got everything right regarding the West Bank. The Medinat Habu, the Valley of the Nobles, the restaurant and the accommodation were all specifically mentioned and excellent.

It seems that the locals associated "luvvely jubbely" and “walk like an Egyptian” with English people, as both these phrases were used an awful lot to us…

Questions:

-          The Valley of the Kings has another name which includes the word for a dried up river bed – what is this word?

-          The tombs in the Valleys are carved out of rugged limestone cliffs – how is limestone formed?
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Comments

Chris Cruickshank on

Hi, Peter and I are catching up on your trip so far. Cairo and Luxor takes us back to our fab trip to Egypt with Clive & Jane last year so we can picture it well. What a wonderful trip you are having.............although lots of crosswinds!!! The blogs are great - keep them coming. Can't wait for the next installment. Love C&P

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