Saturday, April 16, 2011

Touring Egypt

While the boat was left in a marina on the Red Sea coast, in early April, we traveled from Hurghada, to Luxor, Egypt, by local bus for 5 grueling hours but only costing us $6 each. We plan to travel cheaply stay in very basic hotels so we can enjoy our future travels longer, especially in the Med and Europe where it's so expensive. We really began to enjoy the middle eastern food that was so cheap and well flavored with interesting spices.

The main attractions to see in Luxor are: Luxor Temple. The Temple at Karnac and the Valley of the Kings, Queens and Nobles which is a series of tombs that are highly decorated to pay tribute to dozens or more Egyptian rulers. Here we found a vast amount of art and architecture to check out. These 2 "gigantically huge temples" are each about the size of athletic stadiums and meant for a fair amount of walking. I know that sounds redundant but I want to emphasize their size!

Luxor Temple entrance gatres

Approach to the Temple at Karna collimate where 134 columns held up a rock ceiling

Karnac columns and carvings

Decorated details that completely cover all columns and walls showing customs and traditions between gods and mortals and royals. Some of the original colored paint that was applied 3000+ years ago can often be seen. All the temples were almost completely covered by sand, inside and out when they were discovered at various times in the 1800's and early 1900's.

Ramses 11 at Luxor Temple. He just couldn't promote himself enough so he made himself a god!

Structure at the Valley of the Kings where mummies were prepared. Took 18 years to build and was used once!

Chuck inspects a statue of Horus at this god's Temple, south of Luxor on the Nile. He has the head of a hawk and often the body.

On the Nile, a traditional fuluka sailing vessel passes an ancient village carved into a hillside.

We hold a door key to Nefertiri's temple at Abu Simbel, which is in the shape of an ankh. The ankh is very often portrayed in mural artwork and stands for good life, long life, eternity, whatever.

Abu Simbel:

From Luxor we traveled 4 more hours further south to Aswan. The photos above are from Abu Simbel which is a complex of structures south of Aswan and almost to Sudan on the Nile. We stopped at 2 other temple locations on our way down by hired car...a real luxury compared to the bus!
Aswan and the Abu Simbil visit was the highlight of our trip and it was challenging to go there. We got up at 3 am to take the additional 4 hour bus ride to the location and arrive at 8am before the impressive heat begins. You gotta really want to go to this place! These 2 hollowed out mountains are fronted with sculpted facades and they have elaborately decorated temples inside.

What is really amazing is that, in the 1960's, UNESCO completely disassembled them and rebuilt them 20 stories higher on a cliff because a giant dam was being built to control the Nile flooding. These temples were originally built to commemorate Ramses11 and his favorite wife, Nefertiri, as they were becoming gods, according to the decree of Ramses11 himself. The mountain structures were cut into refrigerator sized, or larger, blocks, then reassembled and patched so well that they show almost no sign of damage. We were really impressed by their original splendor and the amazing feat of moving them.

Later, while still in Aswan, we visited the Botanical Gardens and the Nubian Museum before returning to the boat and to prepare to go through the Suez Canal.


The crew of Lucidity said...

Awesome. That green glow on the horizon is the rest of us, green with envy. Enjoy and keep posting, we love them.


Chuck and Lynn/Lexxy said...

Glad to know you are still reading the blog...hope all is well with you