Our tour around Cairo was interrupted by a three-day trip to Luxor. We flew down to Luxor, and then took an overnight train back to Cairo. Both were quite the experience. But Luxor was definitely the highlight of the trip. Where do I even begin? Um, how about that we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel. On the Nile. And ironically enough, staying at the Luxor was cheaper than Eryn and I staying at the Motel 6 in Iowa for one night…. I LOVE AFRICA! ☺ So yes, our accommodations were quite lovely. And I’ll probably never step foot in a fancy hotel like that ever again, but it was wonderful while it lasted!
Since we were staying on the Nile, we took lots of opportunities to explore it. We took three different boat rides down The Nile. It quickly became clear to us as we passed the countryside just how crucial this river is. It is the center and source of life for everything here in Egypt. And it was also much prettier than the Nile we saw up in Cairo. It was really just absolutely delightful! We also took a camel ride along the Nile through a village and their farmland. It is more beautiful than I ever imagined. And seeing the sunset over the Nile… I know I’m a sucker for sunsets and sunrises, but it truly took my breath away. My camel guide was named Ramses Tu, and the camel’s name was Bob Marley. Haha My guide was 22, and he is studying English at the University of Cairo. When I told him how old I was he made a note that I was an old woman… and he then proceeded to make what I think was an offer of marriage. He said if I was ever looking for work, he had a job for me. **Wink.** haha As tempting as it was, I did return with my group to Jerusalem. Adieu my dear Ramses Tu.
We visited the Karnak and Luxor Temples which again… WOW. SO BIG. Haha And to be honest, after awhile things really start blending in because they all kinda look the same. But what impressed me most about these temple complexes were the purposes behind them. And actually, the Israelite temples reflect some similar ideas from the Egyptians. For instance, in an Egyptian temple, there is an open courtyard that then steps up into a holy place, which then steps up again into the Holy of Holies where the altar was located. In Egyptian theology, there is also a sense of a trinity of gods, but it is made up of the God, his wife, and his firstborn son. There is definitely a sense of eternal life being a family affair. I wish I knew more… but maybe I’ll decide to pursue studies in it further so I can understand the symbols, paintings, and even the texts of the Ancient Egyptians better.
I know you are all especially curious about my visit to the Valley of the Kings. Well I can say this much… the tombs are covered in the most beautiful and exquisite paintings I have ever seen in my life. I went into a few different ones—King Tut, Horemheb, Ramses IV, and Ramses VII. As cool as it was to see the mummy of King Tut, my favorite tomb I went in was that of Horemheb. The paintings, carvings, and drawings of this tomb were the best preserved out of any of them I saw. And the tomb itself was left unfinished, so you can perfectly see the process of tomb construction and decoration. Unfortunately, you couldn’t even take your camera into the park let alone the tombs… Well, I guess that is what Google Images is for nowadays. Haha Now Erika, I dedicated my visit to Queen Hatshepsut’s Funerary Temple just to you. It is HUGE. After learning even more about her, I can see why you became so fascinated with her in school. She did some weird things, but she was definitely a remarkable woman in history. And thank you for teaching me all about her. You are the one who sparked my interest in Egypt in the first place!