Luxor - a must for any traveller

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
Trip End Jul 24, 2006

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Where I stayed
Luxor Hotel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Friday, April 14, 2006

You can't blame the Hollywood studios, but through watching their epic blockbusters like 'Cleopatra', I found Alexandria a real disappointment. My illusion was centred on finding a cluster of well preserved, magnificent buildings and temples along a Mediterranean beach front - the reality was desparately disappointing.

In total contrast and maybe because my illusion had been shattered in Alexandria and therefore my expectations were so much lower, my day in Luxor has been; incredible. The sites are in fact 100 times more dramatic than I had ever imagined. For example in the Valley of the Kings I had expected to find just a couple of tombs, instead.... an incredible 63, and each one having it's own particular individuality, be it depth, length, number of chambers and so on. I went in three, and each one was fascinating. Some of colours used to decorate the tombs are still amazingly vivid and after 1,000's of years. The technical know how for construction and decor is awe in-inspiring and nothing on this scale and quality could ever be replicated today - if something lasted a few of hundred years we would be happy.

One of my biggest concerns about this entire trip was ending up your stereotypical tourist - I hate them, and to think of becoming one is a frightening thought. Yes I did the tourists bits today but I didn't feel like a tourist (there too ugly and old). This is very much down to having the most fantastic Tour Guide and having him exclusively - outside of taking me to the various sites, we managed to skip all the crowds and queues, and after I'd had the spiel about the history of a place and had my questions answered, I was left to wander at leisure - rather than being herded onto a bus to be driven to the next identical site as the last ten and given the same spiel with a different yarn (I used to deliver this rubbish to tourists when punting them down the River Cam in Cambridge - it's amazing what they will believe).

My guide for the day was Alaa Abd Elkawi (Aladin) - (002 012 494 7676) if you are coming to Egypt and want the best, give him a call, he'll arrange everything for you, from pick up to transport to guiding you. He is official, has a degree in Archaeology and to boot is a real nice guy.

My day continued with visits to the Hatchepsut Temple, Luxor and Karnak temples and Colossi of Menmon. The magnitude of the structures and cleverness of construction and sheer sophistication of the ancient Egyptians is staggering and whilst you can see pictures (even here on this log) and read all about them, you really have to see them in person to appreciate them fully.

...and better still a lot of work is being done to restore and preserve these ancient monuments which has rekindled my faith in Egypt's ability to look after some of the World's greatest human achievements for generations to follow.

As I sit on the veranda of the Meridian Luxor Hotel sipping my G&T and watching the sun set over the Nile, I wonder whether anything else on this trip will match today. Luxor is a must for any traveller!
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