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Convoys and Klutzes

Luxor Travel Blog

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Edfu

To travel, by road, from Aswan to Luxor one must join the convoy.  Supossedly it's for your safety, but just how safe is it to have all the tourists in only one place (twice daily)?

Anywho, the convoy stopped at two temples along the way- Kom Ombo and Edfu.  They are both really beautıful.  Kom Ombo is for two gods (Thoth and Horus) and Edfu was the center of the Horus cult.   Kom Ombo is really cool because it's semetrical- being a temple for two gods it is designed so that both sides are matching.  One of the reasons why both these temples look so good is that, relatively speaking, they're not that old.

Karnak
  Okay, they are old, just not as old as say...the Pyramids.  These two temples (and the Isis Temple at Philae) are from Ptoelmic Egypt- after Alexander that Great's generals assumed the pharoh's throne.  Regardless of their ages they are spectacular.  

We arrived in Luxor around 1330.  Grabbing a shwarma at the place next to our hotel, we ate while walking to the train station.  My brother warned me to get a ticket as soon as we could because they would be all sold out (on the normal train, not the $60 sleeper cars).  He wasn't lying- they were all sold out.  Damn!  How are we getting back to Cairo?  Well, it is Jordan & Ryan and there is a bus company.

the famous papyrus columns
..we bought overnight bus tickets for the 1900 departure the next day.  (shame because my brother said that the train is really nice)

Then began the haggling...Luxor is the home of many temples and tombs, but two are uber-famous: Karnak and Luxor Temple.  Karnak is more lıke a compound of temples- too big to really comprehend even at our freshest.  It's about 3kms to the north of town and it is still ridiculously hot.  We bargained a taxi driver into taking us there, waiting, then taking us back...only to be told he would only wait for 30 minutes!  No way is that possible, so we sent him on his way for half his money.

Even having been there before Karnak is a wonder.  It's just so big.  We wandered for a couple of hours, taking a break to drink some water, and wandered some more.

ancient paint samples
  The day wore on, the heat got stronger and I got very tired.  Too tired to walk properly.  Being a temple complex that was altered/expanded/redone for thousands of years the floor tiles are not the smoothest and my dragging feet tripped quite often- but I always caught myself.  Which makes it all the better that I totally bit it in the modern parking lot, in front of a huge tour group of elderly French women.  I think I tripped over my own feet- how typical.  Thankfully I really was okay (one of the only things I can say in French) and walked it off.  Dusty and bleeding we  decided to take a break, got into a cab and headed back to the hotel to rest.

Following Lonley Planet's advice we saw Luxor by night.  SO COOL!  The temperature finally cooled down and the temple is lit up like a dream.

courtyard of Luxor
  Walking through it was kinda like being part of some sacred ceremony.  There are many guides offering their services but we are on a budget and can't really afford one.  If we did it again I would get one though, only because the ambiance is so lovely and I think learning more about the temple in that environment would be really neat.

May 5

The Nefertiti Hotel offers guided tours of the sites on Luxor's west bank (where all the tombs are).  The only problem with being an independent traveler is that you miss out on the explanations that come part-n-parcel with a big tour.  So for the major tombs in the Valley of the Kings we booked a day tour.  3 paid sites and 1 free one: Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Hatshepsut's Temple, and the Colossi of Mnemmnon.

My desert outfit

The tour was definitly budget but it was enough.  Any explanation is better than no explanation at all and the tour was the same as hiring a taxi would've been for the whole day.  Plus we met some nice people and learned how alabaster is made (you know- one of those "stop at a factory and see the local art while not being pressured to buy anything" deals).  Unfortunantly the best tomb in the Valley of the Queens, Nefertari's,  is closed for renovation.

The tour dropped us back at the hotel about 1300.  We had already checked out but the manager was nice enough to let us use an empty room for showers.  Spent the rest of the afternoon on the rooftop terrace and walked over to our bus at 6pm.

If you need to travel from Upper Egypt back to Cairo I suggest taking the train!  The bus did get us back to Cairo but we didn't sleep, it was loud and smelly, it stopped a million times...be organized and take the train.  At least we had scheduled our trip so that we had a day at my brother's apartment to relax and sleep before heading to Alexandria.

karulm says:
PS. This is if you're taking the sleeper cars as many people like to do. Regular first class is cheaper than a flight, but IMHO the difference is negligible.
Posted on: May 24, 2007
karulm says:
Another great blog. Just want to say that with EgyptAir's launch of online ticketing in January of '07, it's now far cheaper to FLY, believe it or not. Prices have dropped dramatically and you can pretty much fly roundtrip from Luxor to Cairo for less than the price of a one way train ticket. 50mins and you're there. Just a heads up. :)
Posted on: May 24, 2007
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Edfu
Edfu
Karnak
Karnak
the famous papyrus columns
the famous papyrus columns
ancient paint samples
ancient paint samples
courtyard of Luxor
courtyard of Luxor
My desert outfit
My desert outfit
carving inside Edfu Temple
carving inside Edfu Temple
my favorite hiroglyph
my favorite hiroglyph
bottom of a statue
bottom of a statue
Entrance of Luxor
Entrance of Luxor
Colossi of Mnemmnon
Colossi of Mnemmnon
Diorama of the Valley of the Kings
Diorama of the Valley of the Kings
Inside a tomb
Inside a tomb
Luxor Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
The Nefertiti Hotel needs no reviews- it's great value for the price. Only 2 minute walk from Luxor Temple. The eatery next to the hotel though ne… read entire review
Luxor
photo by: LadyMaja