Friday, December 19, 2008

Upper Egypt

November 29 - Luxor

We flew from Cairo to Luxor where we were picked up at the airport and taken to our home for the next four days: The Royal Lotus Cruise Ship.

Our adventure in Upper Egypt began with meeting our awesome tour group our gorgeous tour guide, Awr. I’m not going to lie, the Egyptians are beautiful people.

Our first stop was Karnak (Temple of Amun). This temple is one of the worst preserved temples in the Nile Valley area, but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. The pillars and statues were breath taking. In the temple is a large statue of a scarab. Awr told us that if we walk around it 3 times we would have good luck and if we walk around it 7 times we would get married. I immediately started off to get some luck. After my 3 laps my mom told me to keep going so I could get married. I resented, but finished my laps anyways.

After Karnak we went to the Luxor Temple (Temple of Mut). Outside this temple was two huge colossi statues and an obelisk. There use to be another obelisk but it was given to France and is now in Paris. The two temples are only a few miles apart and they use to be connected by the Avenue of the Sphinx. Unfortunately, most of the sphinx were destroyed or built over but the city is in the process of uncovering them.

November 30 - Thebes
Across the Nile from Luxor is Thebes. The temples were all built on the east bank and the tombs of the pharaohs are all located on the west bank. This is symbolic of the rising and setting sun. The sun sets in the west and this represents death; hence this is where the kings were buried.After spending the night on our cruise ship we headed out early to Thebes. We crossed the Nile on a motor boat and were met on the other side by our bus. 

Our first stop was the Valley of the Kings. Sorry the pictures are limited because we were not allowed to take pictures inside the tombs. But take my word for it, they are beautiful! There are 63 tombs in the Valley of the Kings that have been discovered and they were digging for more of them while we were there. We were able to go into 5 of the tombs: Ramses IV, Ramses I, Ramses IX, Tutankhamon (we saw his mummy, may he rest in peace), and Ramses VI.

Next, we went to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. She was one of the few women to rule Egypt. She would dress like a man and claim divine right so that no one would question her as a Pharaoh and she is also the only woman to be buried in the Valley of the Kings. My tour guide told me that this Thebes is the best place to buy alabaster so I bought a beautiful vase. The seller wanted 120 Egyptian pounds for it but I got him down to 50 Egyptian pounds (about $10).

After I displayed my amazing bargaining skills we headed over to the Valley of the Queens. This is where the Queens and the children of the Kings were buried. We went into the Tomb of Amen_Knopshef and the Tomb of Queen Titi (wife of Ramses III). The tombs weren’t as impressive as the Valley of the Kings but they were still very elaborate.

On our way back to the ship we drove past The Ramseesum and the Colossi of Memnon.

We were back on the ship for lunch and launched off heading south (up the Nile). On our way to our next stop we went though a lock system. While we were waiting to go into the lock our ship got attacked! Attacked by merchants in row boats, that is! They would row up to our ship and throw things up to us that they wanted us to buy. It was funny to see people bargaining over the side of the large ship.

It was a long day and I really needed a massage… so I got one! : )

The night ended with a huge party. We danced (I won one of the dance competitions), played games (Dad won a potato game), and had a great time!


Rebekah said...

That's so amazing. I would LOVE to see the Valley of the Kings....and everything else you guys saw!! My Mom and I are reading your blog and drooling...Oh to go to Egypt... :) We love you pictures!!!

Lauren Jayne said...

Couple things....Hatchepsut rocks, girl power! Valley of the awesome. I am also impressed with your bartering skills. I was always SO nervous to do this in Europe but seriously, if you don't you will get so ripped off! Thanks for sharing all the cool pictures!