Land of the pharoahs part 2

Trip Start Apr 20, 2008
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On Saturday morning at about 7am it was time to get off the Felucca. Our crewmen had woken at about 5am and sailed us across the river. We were woken up at about 6.30 for our last breakfast on the boat before we transerred to a bus. We drove north to Luxor (the site of the ancient capital Thebes) which took a couple of hours. We stopped at a temple along the way called Kom Ombo. Again the temple was covered in amazing carvings. There was one part on the celining which had some remnants of colour which is pretty amazing! The temple is dedicated to crocodiles?? I'm pretty sure that's what we were told but now that I'm writing it it sounds kind of crazy. I think there was some kind or wierd reasoning that seeing as crocodiles were so dangerous and such a threat that they thought that if they worshipped them then they would be safe from them... Anyway the priests actually kept some crocodiles at the temple in an enclosure and fed them and looked after them. When the crocodiles died they were mummified and kept at the temple.

That evening we went to an Irish pub for dinner.. some people made a night of it and were up until all hours. Seeing as we had to be up at 6am the next day I opted for a reasonably early night. I still managed to miss my bus in the morning though. I was sure we were leaving at 7 and seeing as that's what Deanna, my room mate said also I was very surprised in the morning when my whole group had already left. Apparently my bus left at 6.30am... so I had to go with group B on this day which was fine, at least I didn't miss out. Today we visited Valley of the Kings which was pretty amazing. The site was chosen because of it's natural pyramid shape. It was built in the new kingdom where it had been realised that building pyramids etc. was to much of a target for tomb raiders. These new tombs were bulit deep undergound and the door sealed up. There are 62 tombs in valley of the kings and having all the tombs in the one place menat that they could be guarded and that there was always workers around. The tombs were all eveentually raided (I think some by of the workers themselves)  the only one left relatively undistured was Thutankamun's which was not found by archaeologists until the 1920's. There are still excavators at the site digging for a missing tomb that according to some ancient scroll should exist there. Out of the 62 there are about 18 open to the public and out tickets enabled us to see three of them. There was one tomb that was said to be especially deep and small and windy and not recommended for claustrophobic people... I didn't go into that one. I visited there different Rameses tombs (there are 13 Rameses!) They were all quite similar, steep steps down to a tall long corridor covered in paintings leading down to the burial chamber which contains a stone sarchophagus and some empty rooms to the sides which would have contained treasures. It is amazing to think how long thepaintings have been there and how well preserved they are, they look like they could have been done yesterday.
Unfortunately, but understandably no photos are  allowed in the tombs. Taking a photo, as a girl from my tour found out resulted ina very disgruntled security guard confiscating one's camera, deleting the photos and asking for a very heafty fine to get the camera back!

After Valley of the kings we went to the funery temple of Queen Hatshepsut. All the kings that were buried in the valley had tehir own funery temple where the deceased was kept for 40 days during the embalming and mummification process.
Thsi day was especially hot and these sights offer very little in the way of shade. We were all pretty exhausted after lunch when we began the second half of the day, infact our group had diminished in numbers by about half. We visited Karnak temple which is one of if not the biggest religious temple in the world. We were then supposed to visit Luxor Temple but we chose to stay on the air conditioned bus and look at it and hear it's story from there. Weak I know but you would have done the same!

In the afternoon we had a few hours of free time which I think everyone spent in the pool. We went out for dinner before getting on an overninght train back to Cairo. Last day in Cairo we went to a mosque in the Citadel of Al Salladin, a Roman Church, the bazaar and the Egyptian Museum. The museum is where all the treasures etc. that were found at the grave sites are kept inclding all the contents of Thutankamun's tomb. That is to say all the treasures and arifacts that remain in Egypt, if you want to see the Sphinx's beard, or the Rosetta stone, or some of the other great treasures you have to go to the British Museum in London and as Yuki always liked to say 'and please tell them that we need our monuments back'.!
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