Jan 23 Luxor: Karnak and the Valley of the Kings

We were up at 5am for breakfast before lining up for the buses to take us to Luxor (temples at Karnak) and the Valley of the Kings. There were 800+ persons from QM2 doing the excursion. Our local tour guide was terrific, always helps. It was a 3.5 hour drive to Luxor and the time went by surprisingly quickly. The terrain for the first hour and a bit was desert & sand stone mountains, very bleak. Once we reached the Nile River valley there were several irrigation canals with lush vegetation and farming. Our guide told us they grow a lot of vegetables, and bananas. It is SO different from what we’re mostly used to in North America and Europe. Houses mostly are not finished, as in painted/decorated, as that is expensive, people spend their money on making the inside nice. There is a lot of poverty; schooling is not compulsory and class sizes are 60+ students.

Our first stop was the temples at Karnak near Luxor. It was amazing to see. Tarja (who studied archeology at uni) had thought she might be disappointed but the opposite was the case. This was built up over 100s of years as each king/queen added to it and it eventually covered 200 acres and was a place of worship for 2,000 years.

The Ancient Egyptians worshiped the Sun. They saw the sunrise and the east with the green of the lands around the Nile as life’s beginning while the sunset, the west, and the bleakness of the desert represented death. It is why they chose the desert of the Valley of the Kings in which to be buried as a start to their journey in the afterlife.

The Valley of the Kings was awesome in the true sense. We visited three tombs: Ramses I, III, and IV. Ramses II, the most famous, due to damage from flooding because of its poor location, is sealed. King Tut’s, with his body still there, is an extra charge and our guide did not recommend it due to its small size. This leaves us a mere 63 tombs to go!

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