Hot air ballooning and donkey rides...

Luxor Travel Blog

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"bullshet" card game on the felucca.

We arrived in Luxor and visited the Kom-Ombo temple which lies high up on a hill and overlooks the Nile.  Very beautiful.  After that it was off to the Edfu temple which was much bigger and grander.  Temples, temples everywhere!!  Luckily, it is not as hot as Vietnam was so walking around isn’t too bad – it’s mid 30’s most days.  Our hotel in Luxor was nice enough.  They are mostly 2-3 stars and hot water is appreciated but not always available.  A swimming pool is definite crowd pleaser with the group and often the place where we all sit around at the end of the day chatting, drinking the odd beer and writing in our journals.  The group are really good bunch of people ranging in age from early 20’s up to mid 50’s.  All really well travelled and adventurous types.

sunrise over Luxor from our balloon

We had a fantastic meal out in Luxor where we had Egyptian pizza (what we would call more of a pie than a pizza).  They are baked in a pan with like a puff pastry.  Yummy!!  Also, the fresh juices here are amazing – everything from banana to guava to lemon (or all three together!).  Pita bread is everywhere also.  The group is starting to revolt about our breakie though – stale white bread, 1 hard boiled egg, cream cheese and a mystery meat.  It is the standard everywhere we go so it’s not surprising to see the breakfast numbers dropping – choosing sleep over this breakie.

Deb and I joined Buddy from Hawaii and Marg from Canada at 3am yesterday for our hot air balloon adventure over Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

After our landing. WOW
  It was breathtaking.  We jumped in the basket – there were about 10 of us in all.  The funny thing for Deb and me was there was a guy from Melbourne who was on his way back from backpacking in the UK for a year.  We asked where he was from and he told us Caulfield.  We said we were from the Mornington Peninsula and then he says his folks had a house he used to always go to when he was growing up in Somers.  Ha!!  We travel ½ way around the world to chat to a guy and share a hot air balloon ride with him only to discover that he used to holiday where Deb and I spent about 12 yrs of our life growing up.  Small world!!  Anyway, back to the balloon.  The take off was a little scary.  Very smooth but it was freaky to just rise above the earth with nothing under you.  A weird feeling.
Some of our transportation throughout Egypt
  So scenic though.  There were farms everywhere of corn and sugar cane alongside these mud farmhouses, complete with donkeys, chickens and just about every other animal that Noah would’ve had.  It was about 5am when we took off so we got to see the sunrise (a rare occurance for me) from the balloon.  The sky was dotted with about 12 or more balloons.  Below was the farm area and to the side were the mountains that protected the Valley of the Kings.  The trip took about 40 mins and was one of the highlights for me so far.

After this, we jumped onto some donkeys and headed up to the Valley of the Kings to see the tombs of the ancient pharaohs.  This is in the middle of a desert area so it was as hot as hell.  To top it off, it was pushing 40 this day.  Not sure who had the most offensive smell, us or the donkeys.

Edfu temple near Luxor
  It was a close tie anyway.  My donkey was named number 1 (for reasons I will go on to explain) and Deb’s was called Simpson which we thought was kinda good – going to an Australian rider.  We spent the first hour on them (sore asses all round) then explored the tombs.  Back on the donkey’s to take us to a stone carving factory.  My first purchase – a beautiful Nefertiti head carved out of sandstone.  A little on the heavy side to cart around for the rest of the trip but so worth it.  After the factory, we came out to find my donkey trying to get it on with another.  I’m talking the full mount – a perfect photo opportunity which we all missed because of the laughter.  Needless to say, I was a little reluctant to jump on ‘Number 1’ again incase he tried it again – but with me still sitting in the saddle.  Everytime he went sniffing another donkey I yelled ‘hush’ (something the Egyptian guide advised).  There’s one in every crowd, I guess – and I got the frisky donkey!

After this hot and smelly day it was a quick shower then off to board the train from Luxor back to Cairo.  We are here for the one day, then head off to Mt Sinai tomorrow.  It is a seven hour bus ride away and then a 2-3 hour walk up to the top.  There is a great significance of this site to Moses but I haven’t had time to read my LP book and find out exactly what – guess that’s gonna be how I spend my 7 hrs on the bus tomorrow.  Of course the betting has already started amongst the group as to who can make it in the quickest time to the top but I am leaving that to the guys.  I’ve got money on Wally from Canada – he’s very psyched J

Tonight we have a belly dancing meal which will either be a great authentic Egyptian experience or a cheesy tourist trap.  Am looking forward to it either way.  But for now, we must go and tackle the bazaar here in Cairo – in search of presents for all.  Wish us luck!!  If I hear about our beautiful eyes or Aussie, Aussie, Aussie chants again I will have to walk away (that always gets the price down anyway). 

Maas salaama.  Shukran.


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bullshet card game on the felucc…
"bullshet" card game on the feluc…
sunrise over Luxor from our balloon
sunrise over Luxor from our balloon
After our landing.  WOW
After our landing. WOW
Some of our transportation through…
Some of our transportation throug…
Edfu temple near Luxor
Edfu temple near Luxor
photo by: LadyMaja