Day Three: Valley of Kings, Queen Hatchepsut Temple and Colossi of Memnon
Luxor Travel Blog› entry 5 of 14 › view all entries
Our morning began rather early! Our guide Ahmed had told us he'd be picking us up at 7am and we'd want to get an early move on if we'd want to enjoy the day at our leisure without too much sunshine. And what was our day going to be about? The WEST BANK of the River Nile and the attractions around that area. The thing about Egypt is that most of the main attractions of the country are situated along the River Nile. Luxor is one city that has the fortune of containing many of these attractions.
We drove through the early morning tourist rush of Luxor, crossed the Nile and it was quite interesting to see the fields, the houses, the dramatic hilly scenery in the background. And there we are, driving driving.
But this was obviously just the start. A few miles further into the Theban Hills, and rising out of nowhere and almost blending with the background was the limestone Temple of Queen Hatchepsut (watch local guides helping travellers remember this name by calling it 'hot chicken soup'). The temple, unlike others is built on three terrace levels, with ramps connecting each level. Highlight of the temple includes the homage paid to Amunra in the top most level in the 'Sanctuary of Amun'. Other highlights include the Hathor Chapel where all 12 pillars contain the image of the Goddess, and the Punt Portico. The reliefs that stunned us were the ones present to the right of the temple by the Chapel of Anubis. The paintings still have a distinct original orange and red colour to them.
From here, we made a quick pitstop at a tourist trap - a local limestone artisan's showroom. They show how artisans cut limestone and prepare souvenirs out of it, before leading you into an airconditioned room with the souvenirs for sale. Typical of what one would expect in these places, the prices are an absolute ripoff and what's sad is that their sales pitch is so obvious that you just DO NOT want to buy anything they sell. It was an absolute waste of time, this place. The only consolation being the air conditioned room!
But from here, things were getting interesting again, as we headed into the sombre VALLEY OF THE KINGS.
The entrance to the tomb was eerie. They have this awful wooden staircase leading down. It's steep, it's slippery and the steps aren't levelled the same way. But once inside the tomb, as the pictures themselves reveal, was a delight in itself. How did the ancient Egyptians find these places? How did they build ALL that? How did they decorate it so well??? Just all too impressive.
We got done with the Valley of Kings in about an hour or so, and Ahmed briefly took us to the now in ruins Colony of workers.
We returned to our boat by about noon and had an hour at our disposal before lunch time. We used the time to visit some of the souvenir stores by the Nile where all the cruise boats stop. We bought a few souvenirs before heading back to the boat for lunch and a nap. The boat finally started moving. We were now OFFICIALLY sailing the River Nile!
I had seen pictures of the 'traffic jams' on the Nile, I just hadn't imagined it would be anything like what we were about to experience. Another new experience for me was the salesmen that sell their stuff to tourists on cruise boats.
I took a swim that evening, was quite cool! And rest of the evening was spent just relaxing on the deck before an early dinner. We were originally told that we'd be stopping off at Esna but according to the latest schedule, the boat was going directly to Edfu and would reach Edfu by sunrise. That was our next stop!
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