The Valley of the Kings
So why were we getting out of bed early this morning? To visit the Valley of the Kings of course! After a quick (and very average) breakfast we were bundled into the minivan and whisked across to the West Bank and the Valley of the Kings. Set high in a valley, high in the mountains this is the site of the tombs of more than 60 egyptian kings. Their tombs were located here in an effort to prevent grave robbing, a sacrilege which the pharaohs believed would cost them their passage to the afterlife. The entrance fee to the valley permitted us access to any three of the tombs. Mahmoud gave us a long history of the valley and some of its incumbents and then we were left to explore three tombs that he recommended. 1, 2, 3.
By the time we had finished exploring the three tombs the temperature was soaring and we had each almost exhausted the water supplies we’d packed for the trip.
(1.5 litres each!!)
Walking Like an Egyptian in the Valley of the Queens
We weren’t finished though, next stop was the Valley of the Queens, or in particular the Temple of Hatshepsut. It was quite an impressive temple or at least it would have been had it not been pilfered and many of the statues destroyed during a terrorist incident in 1997. Again, it was largely up to our imaginations to appreciate just how grand this temple might have been in its hey day as it has suffered a great deal of damage and the painting have suffered a great deal of bleaching due to the efforts of the scorching sun. We were only able to endure about a half our walking around the site before we’d had enough and chose to retreat to the exit and the shaded coffee shop where Mahmoud was waiting for us. He often gave us a long spiel before we entered a site and then left us to wander the site or tomb alone. Sometimes because photography and guides were not allowed, on other occasions because I just don’t think he could handle the extreme heat. I think this was one of the latter occasions!
On the way back to the East Bank and our hotel we passed the Colossi of Memnon where were stopped very briefly to take a couple of quick happy snaps.
There wasn’t a great deal to see and by now the temperature was so hot and everyones enthusiasm levels so low, that we just couldn’t bare any more temples or ruins. Mahmoud was obliged to take us past a bazaar though and there we shopped for an hour or so, picking up a few more gifts before grabbing a huge lunch at a restaurant near our hotel.
The Temple dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut.
The remainder of the day was our own. Useful for swimming, sun bathing, surfing the net and then sharing a few drinks at the hotel bar. We’d eaten so much for lunch that we actually skipped dinner. Tomorrow we were headed to Hurghada. That meant a few things for us:
- No more temples and ruins;
- Lower temperatures;
- The beach; and