Day 14 (October 19, 2011)   Nile cruise: Luxor


Cruise's second stage: Esna-Luxor

   I’ll use cruise’s program words one more time:

   After breakfast, it will be the moment to focus on Luxor’s West side: exploring the big valleys of Kings and Queens, where generations of pharaohs and nobles were buried on crypts dug in the crags and watched by Colossi of Memnon. Then, we will visit the temple of Queen Hatchepsut.


   While getting our breakfast besides the usual window we can confirm we already are in Luxor, since the views from our rooms are just the side of another boat. Today we start our tour a bit earlier and we’re leaving the ship at 8:00.

   For getting land we need to pass through four or five boats, the most of them are being refurbished, so it is supposed to stay here for long. That’s the way they use to tie up boats here. I must say we’re leaving a half of an hour late than scheduled, but Ayman is already accustomed to us. Just at quay we meet a German woman we reckon from yesterday’s games and she is being carried by a native man’s arms to the boat. Another German woman explains the balloon she was in has just fallen to the river and it seems she’s got one leg injured. We hope to get well soon and it makes me think about the early these people start with their activities.

   We have a van ready for our tight morning we’re going to spend on Luxor’s west riverside, which takes us directly to the Valley of the Kings, after crossing a bridge over Nile.

   Before taking off the vehicle Ayman asks to us leaving the cameras here because, if we take any with us, we will have to deliver it at the entrance. Then, we go across a big hall with a detailed scale model of the valley and, overall, with all the tombs below it. At the exit of this building there is a trolley train which saves the just 200 meters of distance between this ticket office and the burial sites. It is hot today and we appreciate any saving of efforts.

   Once we’re walking into the burial place a man from a box asks loudly something, from the distance, to our guide in arab and he nods as a sign of he has checked we have no cameras.

   As I disagree with this policy, between the pages of my guide book, I’m taking an iPod nano with video camera which has already let me avoiding these kinds of restrictions before. So, when Ayman points the three tombs we should visit and tells he is not going to come in with us, I’m already ready for taking something away from them, although it is of such a bad quality as these pictures:

Valley of the KingsRamses IX's tomb

   The entrance ticket gives access to only three tombs of your choice between lots of them. Ayman suggests the tombs of Ramses III, Ramses VI and Ramses IX. The colors of these places are untouched and, as we’ve been using imagination to make a picture of what the sites we’ve visited looked like in the past, we can get a rest for it here. Walls are completely drawn with colorful figures over a clean white bottom. Ceilings are drawn too, but with a nightly model with stars over a dark blue sky.

   Apart from the beautiful tunnels, we must talk about the obstinate vigilance against any act of images obtaining by tourists. Pictures above are absolutely stolen with difficulty, as well as the following video, which is so bad that only pretends to help getting an idea of how these tombs look like inside.

   We’ve spent one hour and a half in the visit to Valley of the Kings and, once back at our van; we’re being driven to the temple of Hatchepsut, where I know we will be able of making photos.

   We must pass through a bazaar at temple entrance (of course) before being out for watching this famous landscape. Once again, our guide explains the interesting points of this monument and the meaning of each of its parts and then leaves to the shadow while we go to this temple, clearly with a complete different style than the rest, where we cannot be able of running away from the sun until reaching the inside. The environment, very high cliffs making a rock wall where the temple is put in, makes an amazing picture of it .

Hatchepsut entrance bazaarTemple of Hatchepsut

   There are three levels: we miss the first one thanks to a long access ramp to the second level, as our guide suggested to do. This floor in the middle seems to be the most interesting and we explore it looking after the shadow and remembering Ayman explanations about its different sections: The one dedicated to Anubis, the one dedicated to Hathor and the one celebrating a commercial treat with an African country.

   We had been told too it was no interest on going up the third, and last, level, but we want to.

Temple of Hatchepsut. Anubis hallTemple of Hatchepsut. Hathor hall

Temple of Hatchepsut. 3rd level

Detail from Temple of Hatchepsut   

     We come back to the van through the same way through bazaar but, before, on a souvenir’s store sited in the tables area of the big bar along the temple, I bargain a sunglasses until 40 pounds (5€).

   Now we’re going to our last stop for today: a very quick visit to Colossi of Memnon. These are two huge and dilapidated seated figures of Ramses III, which is al remaining from his temple. This visit is included in all Luxor tours because is the only you can see for free, as they are in the middle of nowhere .

Colossi of Memnon 

   This has been the last visit with our guide. They drive us back to the ship at lunching time and, after ineludibly tipping the driver we agree with Ayman to meet for a good bye after lunch.

Nile Style's cabin   Our rooms are clean when we come back to them after eating. They’ve used my brand new sunglasses to give a tacky look to my blue swan this time.

   Then, we go downstairs to meet Ayman. We’ve got spare time for this afternoon and he is not trying to convince us for an optional tour in Luxor’s east side. He remembers first day I told him we hadn’t take any “options” and knows we’re going to visit those places tomorrow by our own. We say good bye to him with truly affection and tip him with 100 pounds per couple.

   The rest of the day is for our rest and enjoying our last hours with the facilities of this boat. Tomorrow morning starts the final sprint for this travel, with a whole day out with no place to lie until the earlier hours of next morning. So, I go for a nap while the rest of us are at swimming pool. When I wake up, the window of my room is showing it is already dark.

   But it is still soon, so we go for a walk nearby. It is the first time we leave the boat without Ayman. Just in front of the quay, across the street, we know about a sort of shopping center. It is actually a pass, like a corridor, to the other side of the block with stores at both sides. This time the stores are more like ours: a door and a big glass showing part of the stock, although, most of them are putting items outside too, taking part of the corridor.

   The vendors are not chasing us. They let us look, for a change. But they’re paying attention to our wishes for helping us to find anything we want. While one of them is explaining to me the reason of the difference of price between two Marlboro boxes looking apparently the same (cheaper is coming from China and the other it’s not clear where it comes from), Eva comments she would like to have a big camel figure with hair. This starts the engine which makes we are driven out, along the temple of Luxor looking beautiful with its lights, to a big store, full of items, which really has the camel Eva wants, at a higher price I would pay, though.

   As we come back, the guy who drove to the store is talking how bad business is these days and that’s the reason they help each other to sell. A bit later we’re back at boat for dinner.

   There is no special show tonight, but a disco dance until late. I spend this time to update this website.