Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trip to Egypt Segment Three

We were up early again (Tuesday) at five thirty to leave for a tour of the West bank of the Nile. You might say to yourself, 'I thought they were on vacation so why are they getting up so early everyday'. I will tell you now, it was everyday. This gave us a chance to have a nice buffet breakfast on the boat before we left every morning. It also gave us a jump on the crowds that were coming from further distances. And it gave us enough time to see the sights before the sun was too hot and be back on the boat for a great buffet lunch and time to relax on the boat. On our way to the Valley of the Kings which is on the west bank of the Nile we saw some hot air balloons.

Today we visited the Valley of the Kings and were able to go into three of the tombs. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures. The tombs we entered were Ramses IV KV2, Ramses IX KV6,  and Ramses III KV11. SPECTACULAR is the one word that describes it the best. The surprising things to me : the passage ways were not narrow and low; the paintings, drawings, colors and size of the tombs were spectacular, The yellows, blues, and reds the guide informed us that only one man was responsible for one color. And that is why there is a consistency in the colors. Inside the tomb of Ramses IV, as we entered on the right hand wall  there is evidence of Christian occupancy by the crosses and Coptic language engraved in the wall. At the Valley of the Kings there is still a lot of excavation going on to find more tombs We also saw some pieces of pottery that had recently been discovered.

We than boarded our touring coach to visit the Temple of Hatshepsut. First we arrived at the welcoming building and took an open vehicle ride to the area of the Temple. Once at the Temple we walked up the ramps to experience all the levels. Here I saw  the Pillars of Hathor and Statues of Ramses. Along with engravings and paintings. It is amazing how this Temple is built at the base of a high  limestone cliff ( As a side it reminded of the Basilica at Monserrat in Spain with the high cliffs surrounding it.)

Leaving the Temple to catch the open ride back to the welcoming building we had to go through one of the many markets we saw during our time in Egypt. The vendors were very aggressive, so it helped to be able to say no thank you in Arabic. It gave us a good time to practice our bartering to get some great bargains.

Once again we boarded the tour bus one more time for a stop at the Colossi of Memnon for a photo shoot on our way back to the boat for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing on the boat.

Our scenic ride back to the boat took us past some of the housing and Nile river farmers with their donkey and cart.

During the morning the sun was shining brightly, the air was very dry and the temperature that started out rather cool at 6am had warmed up to approximately 80F by 11:30am.

That evening the dinner was buffet style with very delicious all Egyptian foods. And the passengers and crew were dressed in Galabeya attire. We were entertained during dinner by the crew singing Egyptian and Nubian songs. Later we were entertained by a Swirling Dervish and Nubian dancers. They even got us up to dance with them and to form a conga like line. It was a whole lot of fun.

Egypt Trip Segment One

Egypt Trip Segment Two