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  • Day3

    Temples, Tombs and Trinkets

    January 7 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    As I’m writing this it is 8.15pm on 7th Jan and we are cruising down the river Nile. It’s dark, but there are locals outside my window yelling out “holá” every 30 seconds. They are in small motor boats, powering along - or actually attached to our cruise ship by a rope - and are selling things! The idea is that they throw it to you, and if you like it then you throw the money down. Hectic!

    This morning was chilly and brisk as we crossed the Nile in colourful motor boats. Before we knew it, we were in the Valley of the Queens.

    Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple was amazing. Three levels of this queen proclaiming that she was actually the daughter of Amun, and thereby proving she should be Pharaoh. There is even a scene of Hatshepsut drinking milk from the udder of Hathor to further prove that point. Medhat explained exactly how it all went down, and boy were there some crazy family dramas!

    Just to add to her deity relationship claim, this temple is directly in alignment with Karnak (we visited yesterday). This just adds to her father claim, basically saying - see that’s my Dad’s temple just over there, we are so connected.

    We zoomed onto the Valley of the Kings! It’s easy to see why they chose to bury their pharaohs (and all their gold) in these mountains. You would never know a tomb was waiting behind all of those rocks. And what’s amazing is that there would be possibly hundreds more tombs waiting to be found in the mountain!

    Tutankhamen’s tomb. The most famous in the world - but not the most beautiful one we saw today. It’s quite small actually. It’s still hard to believe that I saw Tutankhamen’s ACTUAL mummified head today. So so so so many videos, textbooks, YouTube videos, BBC specials and National Geographic articles about the boy king - and I saw it today. To tell you the truth, I still expected it to be glimmering and gold, even though I knew it was all taken to the Cairo museum.

    We saw three other tombs in the Valley. Each was different and kind of the same. Merenptah’s has 2x sarcophagi because he thought the first one was ugly! When they built tombs, it was a big secret to everyone where they were located. So this meant that when they were building Rameses’ IX tomb they actually bumped into another tombs wall! They made a quick turn (very unusual in tombs!) and continued on!

    The day continued....

    We visited an Alabaster workshop and were entertained by a show and tell that had a strangely similar vibe to a seal show at Sea World; each worker was applauded after showing us their certain skill. The owner promised us a good special price as we are family. We are suckers. Medhat said our bargaining was “almost good”. I think a drop from 5000 to 2000 is still pretty good though.

    Our last big adventure for the day (and this is all before our 3pm lunch) was the temple at Luxor. Amazing. Incredible. These Egyptians knew a thing about building. But this has a super bizarre element! Right at the back, a Coptic Church had decided to repurpose the building. In doing so, they just plastered saintly painting straight over the hieroglyphs - and the remnants are still there! It’s strange how much they just didn’t care about the ancient buildings!

    Back to the boat. We set sail. Saw a sunset over the Nile and are heading to Edfu tomorrow.
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