Luxor Travel Blog› entry 15 of 36 › view all entries
Well sorry for the major delay in my next instalment, but in India, as the locals say, anything is possible.
So back to Luxor, formerly Thebes, and home to The Valley of the Kings. Luxor, at present, is essentially a big building site so if you fancy coming here give it a year or two. I checked into the Nefertitti hotel, which was pretty reasonable, and took a stroll along the bank of the Nile. At least I assume it was the Nile as it was somewhat obscured by the mass of barges, bow to stern, 3 or 4 abreast for 3-4 kms. The touts are also horrendous, the worst I have experienced to date, their offerrings largely felucca trips or use of their horsedrawn carriages. It was not just the touts, as all manner of people approached, many claiming to work in your hotel or aboard your boat, with varying degrees of sob stories always ending in the request for baksheesh.
Wednesday morning and I made the crossing to the West bank and the short trip up to The Valley of the Kings and some hardcore sightseeing. The heat was incredible, well over 40 degrees and no shade to speak of. On arrival at the entrance to the valley you pass by numerous stalls selling their tatty souvenirs. I purchased my ticket allowing me entrance to 3 tombs, with those of Siptah, Tuthmosis 3 and Sethnakht the three recommended by various sources. The valley is hardly glamorous, reminiscent of a rock-strewn, open-cast quarry, which in many ways is exactly what it is I suppose. Whilst the tombs are in many ways impressive - their size, depth and the murals - the whole experience was somewhat underwhelming and certainly not near the top of my favourite places list.
Next and a quick taxi ride to the Temple of Hatshepsut, which is a hugely impressive structure from near and far, the mountainside acting as its prop. Not a great deal to see, but a wonderful sight. The Valley of the Queens was the next drop-off point, and is very similar, although smaller in scale to that of the Kings. Unfortunately the stand-out tomb, apparently the finest in all of Egypt, that of Nefertari, was closed. On the way back to the river a quick stop off to view the Colossi of Memnon followed by lunch overlooking the Nile and back for a siesta. Unfortunately what I thought should have been more of an experience was somewhat drowned by the incredible and unrelenting heat, and the equally incredible and unrelenting hawkers, who could easily turn your blood cold were it not for the heat!
Luxor is hardly the most exciting place in the evening, it's souq is not up to those of other places visited, indeed squalid would not be too harsh in comparison to those of Syria, and the hassle received made it moreso.
The following day I visited the Temples ofLuxor and Karnak, and these were a much more enjoyable experience, particularly Karnak, with a great feeling of space, monumental structures and carving and generally (comparatively!) hassle free. The huge carved papyrus are well worth a viewing in particular. Other then this I found Luxor at a time when they are clearly trying to improve the town in one huge leap that will undoubtedly take a year or 2 more, and therefore perhaps I am not able to do it the justice it deserves. I bought my train ticket to Aswan, further south and no doubt hotter still, and set off on the Thursday morning.