Thursday, March 22, 2007

Luxor.. Egypt

So .. we got to Luxor.. and thru the airport with out much of a hitch.. this one was fairly easy since it was a domestic flight.. we gathered our bags.. and they were taken to th ebus for us to be dropped off at the boat while we took our tour for the day .. this was to be a jam packed day .. a VERY jam packed day ..

we were starting with the west bank of the nile and going to end on the east bank and back at the boat.. we had the valley of the queens .. the valley of the kings.. the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut...a stop at the alabaster factory .. a crazy ferry ride over to the boat and finally the temple at Luxor.. it was a tiring but informational day ..

the west bank of the nile is all about the dead.. there are tombs and temples to the dead there.. the east side was for the living with the temples for the gods there and places to worship.. its is also where most of the people at Luxor live.. another quick fact.. Luxor was Thebes many many hundreds of years ago.. and was renamed Luxor..

so here we start at the valley of the Queens.. this is where the Queens of egypt were buried .. in tombs .. AFTER the use of pyramids became obsolete.. this was about 3000 years ago.. these tombs .. which we were not allowed any pictures .. still had fairly vivid colour on the walls.. they were naturally devoid of anything of value because that was all either taken out and taken to the Egyptian museum .. or had been robbed out of the graves at the point they were rediscovered under the sands of the desert ..

these pictures were views in the valley .. there were also smaller miscellaneous graves scattered along the sides of the valley ..

we had made friends quickly with a nice woman named victoria .. we would take pictures of Me and Jessica and we would take pictures of her .. it was a nice exchange and a good way to get a few pictures together

on the way back down from these tombs .. jessica needed to use the rest room and on the way up we had noticed a small white trailer type thing sitting in an area to itself.. to me it looked like a small semi trailer .. when in fact.. it was the restroom.. so Jessica got the pleasure of paying the attendant an egyptian pound for some toilet paper and using it ..

we headed back down from the valley of the queens and on to the bus again to make our way to the valley of the kings.. of course the tombs here were bigger and more elaborate than the ones we had just seen .. and as usual .. no pictures could be taken inside the tombs.. our guide had actually worked on a couple of these tombs when they were rediscovered.. she was very interesting and very informative.. this is where king tuts tomb was.. but we werent paying the extra 100 pounds to go in.. hanan had informed us all the good stuff was in the Egyptian museum and we would get to see all of that when we got back to Cairo .. on our last day .. we did however stand beside the tomb entrance for a photo op...

we had ridden a tram up .. and there was also a great view from up there.. so here are pictures from the bottom and the top.. i cannot tell you how amazing it was to walk down in these tombs and see the vividness of the colours still there after 3000 years..

also a new discovery in the valley .. they had recently found where the tomb of Ramses connected to the tombs of his sons creating a maze of tombs.. more than 100 connected tombs.. it was amazing..

i am trying to make this not so lengthy but there is so much to say .. we departed the valley of the kings.. back on the bus to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut..this queen diguised herself as a man to be pharoh.. this queen was brazen .. this temple was carved out of the side of the mountain.. it had reliefs showing how she brought many plants and trees and flowers to the deserts of egypt from Punta land (somalia of today) .. this place was incredible..

here are pictures of the face of the temple and some detail

we had walked up with Victoria and she snapped a shot of Jessica Horus and me..

we walked back down .. and i have to say outside every temple or tourist place there were shops.. and some of the shop keepers were more agressive than others trying to sell their goods.. always up for a good barter etc.. some days it was overwhelming.. the first place we stopped at the valley of the queens i think was the most surprising to all of us because it was the first stop and first place we encountered this behaviour..

so we departed the temple.. after i had held up the bus.. because one of the shop keepers just didnt want me to leave his booth .. i think it was the blue eyes and fair skin .. but Jessica and i got fawned over most of the trip.. and we were given many things for being different.. we were often called the Queen and the Princess.. i am sure this is common practice and we really werent that special.. it just seemed so while we were in the moment..

we headed to the alabaster factory .. here is where they showed us the difference between hand carved alabaster and machine tooled alabaster

the take a "blank" and make a general shape. .. then its drilled.. and then handed to the last guy to smooth out and make the object it was meant to be ..

and every where we went there was tea.. we didnt buy any alabaster but it sure was interesting watching the things being made and seeing the process.. we sat and had tea while our other tour companions shopped..

after the alabaster factory .. we headed back toward the river to our ferry to get us to our boat.. are you out of breath yet ? .. i know we were tired.. we got on this boat.. that was fairly large but had a smallish out board motor and i had doubts we were going to get across the river in that boat .. we did make it but it was slowly ..

once we got on the boat .. it took us about ten minutes to cross the river.. once on the other side we got to our boat.. where our bags awaited us outside of our room .. and we got to have some lunch/dinner.. man i was hungry at this point .. we had been going since 2 am .. and had a breakfast box leaving the hotel.. and finally something on the boat.. after the meal and a little rest we were to head out to the Luxor temple..

i will leave that installment for later.. this one seems to have run long enough .. and this temple probably should have its own entry .. there are alot of pictures and MUCH more to say ..

posted by ThreeOliveMartini @ Thursday, March 22, 2007  


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