Monday, June 22, 2009

A Couple of Days in Tombs and Temples - Egypt

Fortunately our train arrival in Luxor was an hour late - at 6:30am people were just starting to stir. We found our accommodation, showered and slept for a couple of hours. Later that morning we were having coffee and were offered 3-star accommodation for about 20 pounds more a night - not bad from zero to 3-star. Cleaner and a much better bathroom than the hostel we had been recommended. Our next tour was of Karnak Temple - we jumped on a mini-bus for 50 piastres each - where we picked up a guide - cost about 50 Egyptian pounds for 1.5 hours (that is about NZ$10.00).
This is a couple of the columns that once held a wooden roof:

Some original paintings!

and a small portion of one of Queen Hatshepsut's obelisks that remains standing:

I so wish that I had taken some metre-age of calico, tape and square crayons to do some rubbings - ooh! just think of the quilts I could make with the fabric!
We arranged with our guide, Khaled Helmy, to have a tour of the Valley of the Kings and Queens the next day. What I really liked about the man, was his knowledge (he is an Inspector of Egyptology and works on Seti I's site during the cooler months) and that he told us up front how much everything was going to cost. I guess New Zealanders are just not into tipping, or baksheesh, and this can get really annoying when travelling.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped in at El Souk and found a traditional handcraft and cotton shop - Habiba - owned and run by a lovely Australian lady, Linda. It was fantastic to be able to buy handcrafted goods, MADE IN EGYPT! She also only employs women in the shop.

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