Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The West Bank at Luxor

So anyway our first full day took in the Pyramids and a visit to see how papyrus is made. The second full day was a quiet one for me, although if one has to be left behind in a hotel whilst one’s family and friends go out and enjoy themselves this one wasn't a bad one to be stuck in.

The following day started with a phone ringing in my ear and when I answered it I received the following totally unwelcome message: “Good morning, this is your 2.00am wake up call.”

OH

MY

GOD.

We had to catch a flight down to Luxor. Some four hours later and we were at the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut



feeling some what disorientated but nevertheless still massively impressed. This was where we found out that guides at the various sites will grab you, tell you lots of interesting facts about the temple, and then demand money – never mind that you have not understood a single thing they have told you. This was the site of
the Luxor Massacre in 1997. Security at the various tourist traps is now pretty tight as a result of that horrendous event.

We moved on to The Valley of the Kings.



The pharaohs sussed that the Pyramids were not providing safe keeping for all that treasure they were going to be in urgent need of over in that Afterlife of theirs, on account of they were all raided about five minutes after the front exits had been sealed. So what better idea for ones passage to the Here-After than to go many miles down the Nile to ancient Thebes, and there get the hired help to dig out elaborate tombs deep inside the sandstone rocks? They thought of everything to prevent further thefts – false entrances, false tunnels, traps – but they abjectly failed. It was clearly very well known that there was ‘Gold in them there hills’, and everything that wasn’t nailed down was duly nicked. Well, not quite everything as Howard Carter found on the 27th November 1922 when he finally entered Tutankhamun’s tomb. This comes from his dairy that day:

“It was a sight surpassing all precedent, and one we never dreamed of seeing. We were astonished by the beauty and refinement of the art displayed by the objects surpassing all we could have imagined - the impression was overwhelming”.

It had been thought that that was definitely the last tomb in the Valley until very recently when
this story broke.
In fact when we were there was a team of archaeologists working at the site who were confident they were on the verge of unearthing yet another tomb – all very exciting.

You are not allowed to take photos inside the tombs but the illustrated stories of the journey into the Afterlife are, in the tombs we visited, remarkably well preserved.

We followed this with trips to the Valley of the Queens and an alabaster factory too before we were finally allowed to check in on our cruise ship. It is bloody hard work being on holiday. I then had to fit in some very important worship of the Sun God on my own behalf.

I have to confess that after our nightmarishly early start, I did not make the late night disco on board our ship that evening.

3 comments:

Jennyta said...

I'm jealous!! Enjoy! :)

Fire Byrd said...

wow what a holiday to get given.

J.J said...

It was wonderful Jenny.

I know I am very very lucky Pixie.