Footsteps in…Egypt…from Luxor to Cairo

We said goodbye to the Tamr in Luxor on day 4 of the cruise. The Tamr had become our floating home and it was kind of sad to be back on dry land again. I quite enjoyed our navigation of the Nile, as short as it was, both from the upper deck, the comfort of our suite and yes, from the Jacuzzi too! There was something fascinating about sitting in a hot tub on the balcony watching river life go by!!!

Luxor is home to the Valley of the Kings, and the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. We had a pit stop at the Colossi of Memnon, the only remains of what was once the largest temple ever built in Egypt.

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After a photostop at the Colossi, we trudged through the valley in the heat, thankful for the ice cold coke’s and water being sold by local vendors in the valley. We chose to visit the tombs of Tuthmosis III, Ramses IX and Ramses IV, as the tomb of our now favourite Pharaoh Ramses II being closed for renovation. Boy was it stuffy and claustrophobic in the tombs! The pathway leading to the sarcophagi themselves are beautifully painted with various scenes, and the colours are surprisingly vivid for chambers that have been around since ancient times. In hindsight, I wish we had visited the Tomb of King Tut as well, but there was a huge line to go in and the heat being what it was, we just couldn’t bear the thought of standing in line for hours.

Next to the Valley of the Kings is the Temple of Hatshepshut (or as our guide told us “hat-cheap-suit”!!) which was built to honour the goddess Hathor, and is cut into the limestone cliffs, giving it a very modern look!

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M and I had a few hours to while away before our flight, so we decided to venture out on our own to the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. Not having a guide on this leg of the tour we had to figure out the temples on our own, but thanks to the Lonely Planet Guide to Egypt we did just fine! The temple of Karnak is flanked by a giant Obelisk and two statues of Ramses II (surprise, surprise!) and there is an avenue of sphinx’s that leads all the way to the temple of Luxor. The Temple was flanked by two obelisks but one is currently in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, having been gifted to the French by an Egyptian viceroy.

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Situated parallel to the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Luxor is one of the largest temples we visited on the tour, with its large hypostyle halls with hundreds of columns resembling papyrus flowers. Interestingly, by the time you get to this temple the heads of the Sphinxes have noticeably been chopped off!

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All templed out, we went to the market in Luxor (I was wearing rather short shorts and found myself being ogled and whistled at which was a tad bit uncomfortable, so do bear this in mind – with the heat it is easy to forget that the country is conservative) We soon found ourselves in Al Sahaby Lane and its smell of freshly made falafel and shwarma was overwhelming, so we sat down and enjoyed a late lunch before heading to the airport to fly back to Cairo.

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