Karnak and Luxor Temples,

Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
Trip End Dec 03, 2007

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, December 17, 2007

Magnificent, no other way to describe Karnak Temple, arriving there before sunrise, standing in the pre dawn gloom, then just as the sun starts to rise, seeing the pillars of the great Hypostle hall being revealed as the sun rose through them was a wondorous sight.
Venturing into the temple itself, it is hard to comprehend just how massive this structure is. how grand it must have been in its heyday, the builders of these temples, were giants of their time.
Just to wander around the temple, looking at the heiroglyphs, amazed by the patience that it must have taken to make all of this, when I think of the crude tools that they had to work with, then it brings it a little into perspective, just how easy my own profession as a builder is these days.
After spending a couple of hours in the temple, it was time for our group to board the bus once again, oh horror of horrors, not the ubiquitous papyrus institute, overpriced kitch for tourists, albeit quite decorative enough, but frequent travellers patience must be wearing thin, over these visits on every trip. To be fair though, we are planning to buy some papyrus calenders to give as presents on our return.
Fortunately, our tour rep, decided to take the tour to a pharmacy, (located behind Luxor Temple) where she encouraged everyone to buy Antinal, just in case of stomach upsets, seemingly this is the wonder cure for Pharohs Revenge. heavens knows what the poor girl behind the counter thought, when a whole bus load of tourists turn up and buys her entire stock. I think the place was called Pharm De Campenie, certainly a French name, so if you need any Antinal, then tell your taxi driver to take you there. If that is too difficult, contact me, we have 2 packets of it, we didn't need it at all.
We were off to Luxor temple later in the morning, it lacks a little in grandeur, compared to Karnak, it is still a majestic eddifice, what is apparent is the difference in styles, between Amenhotep 3 and Ramses 2, one did raised relief, the other bass relief, even so, it is almost surrealistic, just to be amidst so much evidence of history. Unbelievable.
Back onto the bus, the boat has made the trip from Luxor to Esna, thats where the locks are, should arrive around lunchtime, then we can take on some rays.
Not much for us as tourists to do in Esna, just take on some rays, wait your turn to pass through the locks. Watching the workers on the quayside, sends shivers up your spine. Handling the ropes, with sometimes their children on tow, not much in the way of health and safety equipment here, jumping over obstacles with only flip flops or sandals on their feet. Still eveything went according to plan, no one fell in the river, we pass through the locks and we head down, or should I say upriver to Edfu and the temple of Horus. The captain revs up and we are on our way again, I think we arrived in Edfu about 11pm, can't be too sure about the timeline.
 In Edfu, early in the morning, we once again embark onto the buses, after a 15 minute bus ride, we reach the temple, disembarking from the buses in the carpark, as you walk around the corner, you are confronted with a massive mud brick wall, walking a little further the pylon reveals itself.
To say it is breathtakingly beautiful, is an understatement, the heiroglyphs are in an excellent state of preservation. We were awestruck by the sheer immensity of the whole structure.
Two main drawbacks, the sheer amount of visitors arriving at the same time, there can be up to 100 cruise boats disgorging their passengers, it really makes it difficult to focus, as you must keep with your group, you are able to grasp a little of the sheer magnitude of the site, but due to the number of others crammed in at the same time, detracts from the experience.
The other drawback. That is having to run the gauntlet of vendors and bazzaris upon exiting the temple. Some of them just don't seem to understand the word NO, or in Arabic La Shukran, or they choose to ignore it, when will they learn, if they gave people a little time to browse, without jumping in as soon as someone blinks, they would do a far better trade, as was to be proven much later. Still it is important to keep a calm exterior, even though deep down inside you are seething.

PHOTOS MARKED** are by Reijo Sirpoma, many thanks

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