World through my eyes

Sunday 3rd October

At 4:30am in Cairo it was finally a balmy and an enjoyable 80 degree Fahrenheit. We arrived at the airport an hour later and since we were early got a coffee, unfortunately they did not serve Egyptian coffee, so it was a latte.The flight to Luxor was uneventful about from being packed into a departure lounge from which 3 planes were leaving simultaneously, two for Luxor and one for Hurghada on the Red Sea. At Luxor the first thing we saw on entering the arrival area was a welcome sign for Roger Cottrell. Once again it was hot outside > 100F. We drove to the river and took a small ferry boat across to the West Bank of the Nile. There we met our guide for the day Ashwar. We piled into a Toyota mini-bus and introduced ourselves to  a couple from Greece, an Australian from North of Perth and 3 people from Bogota Columbia. All were in their 20’s. Our first stop was the arid Valley of the Kings where we entered three tombs (Tomb of Ramses IV, Ramses IX and Ramses III, which had the longest tunnel (410ft) in the area and a room with portraits of 2 blind harpists . The corridors were about 12 feet high so there was no stooping required. All the tombs were wall to wall decorated. In the next valley, the Valley of the Queens, we visited the Tomb of Titi and the Tomb of Khaemwaset (a son of Ramses III). We then went to the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut which is spectacular from a distance. Afterwards we headed back to the river where we caught a ferry to the East bank and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. After lunch we headed to the Karnak Temple.  It is “jaw-dropping” with massive columns and many statues. Several of them reminded me of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias (The Greek transliteration of Ramses II) . Over a period of 1300 years every pharaoh wanting to please the Gods added a temple, a hall or at least a shrine. Then it was back to Luxor to see the Luxor temple built by Amentophep in the 14th century BC. The two temples over 2km apart were linked by a long road lined with dozens of sphinxes. The temple was unearthed in the 19th century. There were 2 obelisks originally but one was gifted to France in 1829 by Mohamed Ali the Albanian-in-origin sovereign at the time, where it now stands in the Place de la Concorde. Built on top of the temple is a Muslim mosque. As it got dark it was very evocative being in the ancient temple and hearing the Muslim call to prayer. We left for the airport in Luxor at 6:30pm. The plane should have left for Cairo at 9:25pm but was delayed until 10:15pm. The flight was one hour and at Cairo we met up with Ahmed and Osama who drove us back to the Guest House. After packing etc. I went to bed at about 1:15am.

 

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