Friday, 13 July 2012

Visite de la Vallée des Rois (pour toi, Maman)


Inside Karnak Temple
We breakfasted on the best buffet spread we'd seen since arriving in Egypt before boarding the bus bound for the much anticipated Valley of the Kings (unfortunately no cameras allowed).  Our ticket allowed us to enter three tombs of our choice so we visited Ramses II, Ramses IV and a third one whose pharaoh's name we forgot but whose tomb was the most colourful of the three.

The Valley was huge, with excavations still ongoing with the hope to uncover further graves, and the tombs were very interesting especially to see how colourful the heiroglyphics were and to try to interprete some of the more random ones....

Just next door to the Valley is the massive Temple of Hatshepsut, which was constructed by a female pharoah which was cleverly constructed to blend in with the mountain.  Since female pharoahs weren't really culturally exceptable all the statues of her were given fake beards.

Obelisk Advertising
After being taken to another tout shop, this time for papyrus scrolls, we waited with the majority of the group who weren't interested in buying for the few that were to finally finish.  Everyone was getting a little bit annoyed at the forced stop as it was almost 2pm and most of us would've prefered to be having lunch.

It took until 3pm for us to get to this 'great restaurant' our tour guide had been boasting about.  Turns out the food was great because it was about 10 times the price of the places we had been eating and since the cost of lunch was not included in the tour there was a unanimous decision not to eat there.  There were no other places around to eat at, and since we were right in front of the Karnak Temple (the next stop on the tour) and even though eveyone was starved we decided to tour the temple while we were there and eat later.

Unfortunately, this did mean that about half the group wanted to rush the tour so they could eat and the temple was very interesting, being one of the largest in Egypt.  There is a famous obelisk inside built by the Queen who built the Temple of Hatshepsut and the heiroglyphics engraved on it are essentially an advertisement stating that her parents were gods and therefore she had the right to be Pharoah, so stop questioning her rule!

Circling the Scarab Beetle
Near the sacred lake there is also a giamt scarab beetle carved out of a single piece of stone and the belief is that if you circle around it 7 times in an anti-clockwise direction while  making a wish it will come true.  Somehow Dave motivated the whole group to do it and we made quite the spectacle circling the beetle as 7 times actually took a little while! Still waiting on our wishes though....

Now really hungry we clambered into the bus and went to a back alley shwarma shop where after a couple of minutes the mood of the group was significantly improved thanks to full bellies.  It was a good thing that everyone was happier as we then had to sit on our uncomfortable minibus for the next 5 hours as we crossed the desert bound for the seaside town of Hurgada.  We arrived at Rama Hotel around 10pm ready for some sleep since the bus ride had been too uncomfy for that and we had another early start the next morning as we'd decided to do an added side trip and go snorkeling for the day.

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