Across the Nile to visit king Tut
Luxor Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
March 26th, 2008 – by: Jeroenadmiraal
You can board a ferry, but we chose a more adventurous way. Yesterday, a local ferryman (named Mahmoud) approached us with an offer to ferry us across, and his sons would drive us to all the tourists sights at the west bank in his airconditioned car. His offer was rather high, much higher than the ferry, but he spoke in perfect English and sounded very reasonably. We promised to be back the next day, which he didn't believe, so he was rather surprised we turned up!
Mahmoud made it clear that he was not an Egyptian, but a Nubian, and was proud of it. During the ferrying, his son made us some vintage, Nubian, mint tea.
Onwards to the Valley of the Kings! Situated stunningly in a desolate mountainous area, the Valley is the place to be to visit the ancient tombs of the Egyptian Pharaos. This was the place where they had found Tutankhamon! From the outside, nothing much is to be seen, except the entrances to the tombs.
The most stunning tomb is the one located the farthest away. It's the tomb of Tutmosis IV (or another Tutmosis. I can never tell them apart.). It's the deepest and the most decorated one, and the hottest! It was almost 40 degrees centrigrade outside, but inside it must have been 50! When we were about to enter the tomb, another tourist exited and said aloud: 'Ahh, they must have turned on the airco' while we were sweating like madmen!
Off course, there is also the tomb of Tutankhamon, but it is a bit of a let down.
There is much more to be seen at the west bank. Take a peek for instance at the Colossi of Memnon. These enormous statues (18 meters high!), watching kingly in the direction of the glistering Nile, marked the entrance to a temple complex that used to be even larger than Karnak. Some decades ago, one of the statues used to make a howling sound in the wind, but they cemented the statue at the inside to keep it from falling apart, and so the sound died...
Mahmoud's sons drove us to an excellent place to have lunch. I have to dig in my memory, but I believe it was named Alexandria...something. Anyway the cook was extremely fond to recieve us and prepared an amazing meal! Afterwards he was extremely surprised (he was an energetic guy) to hear that we had no foreknowledge of his restaurant, and buried us under a book of folders of the place he had collected.
And I would almost forgot the Temple of Hatshepsut! She was one of the few female pharaos, but on the walls she was depicted as a male, since that was how things were done back in the days. The temple feels a bit too cleanly reconstructed, but the entrance is very impressive, expecially with the big cliffs behind it.
Oh! I forgot another sight! Jeez. Medinet Habu, the Tomb of Ramesses III. Poor guy. Its a huge, impressive temple and I had never heard of it. Such a weird thing that such a big sight was completely unknown to us. That illustrates the number of impressive sights to see in Egypt!
That night, I would spend the night in the train, back to Cairo! Pyramids were waiting...
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