“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Our lifelong travel bug has given us our most prized ‘possessions’ - the many memories from business and especially family trips.  “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” Message
  • Day32

    Luxor departure

    November 3 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    My last post in real time but will catch up on missed posts from the last couple of days. Will also add progress notes to this.

    Taxi pickup at 5:30 AM and here I am at Luxor International Airport heading home. Just a little matter of 26:45 of flying and 91:30 of total travel time and this trip is history.

    Exactly a month ago I landed in Istanbul and have seen and done so much. What a great trip.

    Now it's to work planning our Iberian Peninsula trip in April.

    Update 1: Connection in Cairo. Little over an hour to get to Cairo. Airport is nice and new but a s**tshow to change terminal security etc. (See my update to the Cairo Summary post). I hoped to move to an early flight and save a 9 hour layover but Qatar couldn't change me so stuck with more time in Cairo. About 4 more hours.

    Update 2: Got out of Cairo, connected in Doha, but was a close connection -- 1:25 is not much in this big airport. Midnight when I went through and place was busy. Now on the flight to Dallas - 4 hours into the 17 hours

    Update 3: Waiting in Dallas for my flight to Seattle. Arrived, scanned my face at a kiosk and walked in without showing my passport, back in the terminal in 20 minutes.

    Update 4: In Seattle waiting for my last flight to Kelowna. Tired.
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  • Day31

    Luxor Museum

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    It was a very short interlude to rest up at the hotel before I headed back across the river for the evening opening of the Luxor Museum.

    This is a smaller museum than some I have been to on this trip and found the hour and a half I spent there was enough to fully appreciate it. The pieces on display are mainly from ancient Thebes (Luxor). The are some very stunning sculptures.Read more

  • Day31

    Luxor Temple

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    After Karnak, I planned on visiting the air conditioned Museum, but we discovered it was closed and would reopen only at 5. Decided I would have a short break and get a drink and tackle the Luxor Temple. Mahmoud drove around a bit and stopped in an alley and asked if I wanted a Stella. He popped into a hoke in the wall and we stopped in a shady spot where the nice cold beer soon revived me.
    Luxor Temple is a smaller version of Karnak with a series of courts opening up one after another.
    I especially liked the front facade and the Sun Court.
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  • Day31

    Karnak

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    On the other side I was met as we docked by Mahmoud who took me to his car and we headed up to Karnak.

    Karnak is a huge complex of huge structures and like every other site over here, it is just amazing to see the scale the Egyptians built at. They were building this a couple thousand years before Rome. The Great Hypostyle Hall has to be seen to be believed.Read more

  • Day31

    Crossing the Nile

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    After lunch. Ashraf had arranged a boat for me which took me across the Nile to the east bank. The Nile is an impressively large river with a buzz of those little power boats that seat 20 or so, felucca sailing boats and large river cruise boats.

    Had four trips across the Nile at various times and enjoyed the water scenery
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  • Day31

    Colossi of Memnon

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Last quick stop on the way back to the hotel for a break.

    The Colossi of Memnon are two massive sandstone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, which are just standing by the side of the road in a field. They were constructed as guardians for Amenhotep III's mortuary complex and have stood since 1350 BC but the statues are all that is left. They are 60 ft (18 meters) high and weigh 720 tons each; both carved from single blocks of sandstone.Read more

  • Day31

    Medinet Habu

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    We were ding well for time, so decided on the fly to add on this stop, and spent an hour and a bit there, which was just enough for a quick walk to the rear of the complex and back out. This is the second largest and second most important site of the New Kingdom after Karnak.

    It was started in the early days of the New Kingdom by Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. as a temple for the god Amun who was believed to Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. have first appeared at this site. Ramses III massively enlarged the site as his memorial and built a wall around the temples which actually served as defenses and at one point during wars with the Libyans, the entire population of Thebes was able live in this massive site.

    Entrance is through the huge 'Syrian Gate'. Throughout the temple are very well preserved hieroglyphics carvings and paintings which still have incredible relief and rich colours considering the age of these outdoor buildings. It also has the only still-standing royal palaces with the throne rooms and living quarters.
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  • Day31

    Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    My driver was waiting as I came out of the Valley of Kings. Doesn't that sound so decadent,: "my driver "?

    A short drive took us to this lovely building. It was built for a female Pharaoh. She was a very interesting figure in Egyptian history. Her descendent Thutmose III tried to erase her memory, possibly because any history of a female as ruler wa deemed ideologically wrong.

    The temple's design and architecture is the most impressive aspect of this site. It is partly carved out of the rock face with a facade of limestone, sandstone and granite. Classic and elegant proportions as the three levels of terraces rise up the face of the mountain

    The inside decorations are faded or destroyed and it is a bit hard to make out some of the features that are said to be there. The paintings tell the story of her life including a famous expedition to the land of Punt and the legend of her divine birth.

    At the top level are the various shrines to the gods. This is one of the 'top sights' and I would agree.
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  • Day31

    Valley of the Kings

    November 2 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    As agreed with Ashraf last night, my driver picked me up at 530 after a nice and quick breakfast and I was the first customer to arrive a minute or so after 6. Paid the entry fee which includes 3 tombs. plus the extra for Seti I.

    So, the Pharaohs and other notables of the 18th to 30th dynasties of the New Kingdom were buried in tombs cut into the rock in the years from 1600 to 1100 BC. Most of the tombs had been robbed centuries ago, with the notable exception of Tut's tomb which was found intact.

    Around 60 tomb ssre known and the access to visits rotates among them and an admissionticket allows you to pick three from the current list of openings plus you can buy additionaltickets to done of the more specialor populartombs. , I visited 2, 14, 11 and 17
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  • Day30

    Arrival Luxor

    November 1 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Flight delayed a half hour but had sent hotel my local number so we were in contact. Driver met me outside the airport. Hotel seems perfectly lovely and these are the nicest family you can imagine. My faith in people is restored. Welcomed by Momid the son of the owner and I requested a glass of tea with fresh mint. and then the manager Ashraf who is the owner's nephew and runs the place came along.

    I sat down with Ashraf at 9pm and discussed the sights I really wanted to see. He got on his phone and within a few minutes he arranged a custom private tour. He hired a taxi driver to take me around all the West Bank sights and bring me home. Then a rest and a wonderful buffet lunch at the Crocodile Restaurant next door (also owned by the family) before a ride across the Nile with a private boat which was for my exclusive use for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, as mentioned later, another driver was mine for the afternoon on the East Bank. Dinner was a la carte at the Spring Hotel's own restaurant for an extra charge.

    The hotel was in very good repair in the public areas and only a few defects in the room, but it was all in good working order. The best thing was the genuine care they took of their guests without ever getting the sense you were nothing buts a source o money to be extorted. At one point he said The East Bank is full of homeless peoples in the streets and scammers at the sights and he wants to protect his West Bank guests and allow them to enjoy the more peaceful life on his side of the river. He was especially caustic about Cairo, considering it a blemish on his whole country's reputation.
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