Convoys and Klutzes
Luxor Travel Blog› entry 11 of 22 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.