Monday, November 30, 2009

[Egypt Day 4] Valley of the Kings - Hatchebsut Temple - Memnon Colossi - City tour

We woke up in Luxor this morning. As we opted not to join the hot air balloon ride, we had the luxury of waking up at 7.30am instead of 4.30am. Had breakfast aboard the ship before going out for our day tour.

Today's destinations were Valley of Kings, Hatchebsut Temple and Memnon Colossi.

We took a chartered bus for 25 minutes to reach the Valley of Kings. This place was chosen to be burial ground for kings as the top most mountain was naturally shaped like a pyramid. There were a total of 62 tombs in this valley. Here, we were entitled to visit 3 tombs - whichever they felt like opening up on that day. For Tutankhamun's tomb, additional ticket of LE100 was needed. We visited tombs of Ramses IV, Ramses III and Ramses I. Ramses III's was closed last week so we were lucky to be able to go in, to see all the 3000 year old drawings and carvings on the walls. Ramses I's was very steep, going in deep into the ground, and there's not much to see inside. Weather was hot with glaring sun and limited shades. The rock mountains and the clear blue sky were amazing, too bad cameras were not allowed in the complex.

Queen Hatchebsut Temple was the only 3-storey temple in Egypt. During her reign the Queen disguised herself as a man and told story that she was the son of God Amon so that the people accepted her. The third terrace was found destroyed and restored back later on.

Memnon Colossi was just two 20m high statues depicting Amenhotep III with cracks on them, now happily used by the pigeons for their sanctuary. Before reconstruction, it was reported that there was whistling sound coming out from the statues.

Then we're back to the ship for lunch, another international buffet spread. Although it was said to be a 3-day cruise, in actual fact the ship only sailed for one day, from Aswan to Luxor. We went out to see a few nearby local stalls but didn't feel like going in as the vendors were quite aggressive in selling their stuff. Had a cozy tea break at the ship's lounge.

In the evening we went out again for city tour by horse carriage. It's meant for us to catch a glimpse of locals' way of life, as we went pass houses, local wet market that sold vegetables, spices, clothes, meat, etc. Spices were really colorful, and veggie was really huge especially the cabbage. We made a stop at a roadside coffee shop for drink and shisha. I tried a few sips of the shisha, could taste the apple flavor but I didn't really inhale that much.

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