As I walk through the Valley...
Trip Start Dec 22, 2009
76Trip End Jun 22, 2010
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It had to come eventually… Luxor. Though this marked the end of our wonderful cruise down the Nile, it was also the site of many of the great treasures of Egypt. As you can imagine we were really sad to see the boat go behind us, but were really excited to experience the amazing valley of the kings. Unfortunately there were no pictures or video allowed in the valley, so we are left with our memories of this immense and amazing valley. In the early morning Ahmed came by the boat to scoop us up and take us out for the day. Ahmed had been the chief point person for Naglaa and had been the person who had coordinated all of the guides and sights since we were in Aswan. Ahmed was 33, dark and pretty well dressed. You could tell from his cadence and command of the English language that he was educated and had been involved with Egyptology for quite some time.
The ride to the valley was a fairly quick one and we were face to face with a high rocky ridge of mountains that jettisoned high up in the sky. The tombs differed from the recent temples that we had seen because they lacked the ornate entry ways and were more like a single small doorway that led down a long hall to a burial chamber. This made sense because this valley was intended to be a mausoleum for the Egyptian royalty and was not intended to be entered after sealed. The first tomb we entered was that of Ramses I. The narrow hallway was long and descended a couple hundred yards down into the earth. There were a series of adjacent rooms that had previously held furniture, treasure and other things that the person was to carry to the afterlife with them. Remember this was the site where King Tut's great treasure was discovered. The most striking thing about the tombs was the preservation of the paintings! They had so many colors and were so vivid. It was amazing to think that these paintings were made before the time of Christ. The next most striking thing was that in contrast to many of the temples, the hieroglyphics where carved into the wall vs carved out (the latter giving dimension). It was explained that the inner carvings were pre greek/roman and were typical of ancient Egyptians. After we toured Ramses I we made it to Ramses II and were happy to find even more impressive paintings.
Once we headed out of the valley we made our way over to the Temple of Hatshepsut. This temple looked like some Italian villa on a mountain side with beautifully symmetrical columns and multiple levels.
After Hatshepsut we headed to the largest temple complex in Egypt: Karnak
This thing was massive! It was the site where many temples had been built on top of and in front of one another. This was because that many Pharaohs had chosen this location to praise the sun god (a very important god in a desert!). Unfortunately dehydration had taken its toll and Laura was feeling like crap so we headed out after about an hour and made our way back to the boat to grab our luggage.