Guard tower at bridge approach - notice the gun barrel!
This time we were up at for departure to the west bank.Our first stop was at the huge Colossi of Memnon, At one time they guarded the magnificent mortuary temple of Amenophis II.Unfortunately, little but rubble and these restored statues remain.
At Deir El-Bahari is the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshupsut, dedicated to the sun god, Amun-Ra.
Colossi of Memnon
According to legend, Queen Hatshupsut was the daughter of Amun-Ra himself.Unfortunately, as we were passing through security, Linda noticed that we were without our hats, having left them on the bus.After the terrible experience last year as a result of spending time in Italy without a hat, both of us were quite nervous and, after Ossama’s lecture, we trimmed our free time a bit short.As it was, Linda was getting impatient at my holding out for “one more picture”.
The only disappointment at the Valley of the Kings is that cameras were totally prohibited, not only in the tombs but in the valley itself.My overpowering memory of the visit, though, is that it was HOT!Though it was still short of , the sun was blazing and the confines of the valley precluded any cooling breeze.
Colossi of Memnon
A shuttle carried us from the parking lot to the entrance gate.Our admission ticket included the right to visit 3 tombs and we paid an additional 100 Egyptian pounds (~$20) each to add a visit to the tomb of King Tutankhamen.Since guides are not allowed to accompany their “charges” into the tombs, we walked a considerable way through this totally barren valley as Ossama pointed out to us the tombs he recommended we visit on our way back down.Foolishly, I neglected to note the names of two of the pharaohs whose tombs we visited but each was interesting in its own way.In the tomb of Ramses IX, the extensive hieroglyphics were brightly colored and highly detailed.I’d kill to have been able to take photos of them.In addition to the hieroglyphics were countless scenes depicting the pharaoh’s lives and predicting events in their life after death.WOW!
As we’d been told, King Tut’s tomb itself is relatively small and unremarkable.What IS remarkable, though, is that he is still there!!!His mummy, with face, hands and feet exposed, lies in a glass box a few feet from visitors.
Colossus of Memnon
To gaze at that boyish face was a moving experience that I will always cherish.
It’s worth touching here on the ongoing saga of the ill-fated ship Tosca.On the Miriam with us were several high-level managers from Uniworld in Austria.Sharing a common native language, Karl had struck up a relationship with several of them and learned that the Tosca had gone aground and been missing for several weeks!!At this point, though, it had been found and was due to pass us as we were at the dock at Luxor.Crew and passengers alike were on deck to witness the passage of the Tosca and as it proceeded upriver past us, horns were blown, instruments were played and crewmembers and managers alike sang to celebrate the event.We were told that Uniworld’s hope was that she would be ready for a group set to arrive on Monday.Given the Tosca’s appearance and the fact that it was enroute to dry-dock for repair of a hole in the hull, moist of us were betting heavily against it.
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