Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Luxor - Balloon ride, Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut's temple, Colossi of Memnons, local family visit

March 14 - We got up very early to go for a balloon ride over Luxor.  Rode across the Nile on a small boat before dawn.  It was a little chilly so we are dressed in layers.  Below on the boat at 5 AM:  Ellen, Bobbi, me, and Lynn.

The name of our balloon company:

At the launching are there were probably 10 balloons in the process of inflating and each basket held 32.

We are waving at the camera man as we go up.

We flew over the West Bank where all the tombs and some temples are located.  This is Queen Hatshepsut's temple which we toured in the afternoon.

There were farmers burning their sugarcane fields  in the distance so we went away from the fires.  The air has a lot of smoke.

Sunrise over the Nile.

Lynn's silhouette with the sunrise.

Farmers cutting their sugarcane.

We were up an hour and when the captain decided to put down we went into a sugarcane field.

Our path -

With 32 people on board it took a lot of workers to pull us out of the field.

We survived!  Lynn, Ellen, Bobbi, and me.

After the ride they had a drummer and we all danced.  No champagne here!

They gave us certificates of the ride.

These are the boats that transport people across the Nile from the East bank to the West or vice verse. 

We went to the Valley of the Kings but could not take our cameras into the area, only in the parking lot.  There is a natural pyramid over the Valley of the Kings (the mountain you see in the distance).  Of the 63 tombs that have been discovered, only 10 are open for a visit.  We visited two:  Ramses IV and Ramses IX.  We paid extra to see King Tutankhamuns tomb.  His mummy was still in the tomb.  The tombs were very colorful with long passageways leading to the final room where the mummy would have been put.  King Tut's tomb was the smallest tomb.  There were over 5000 pieces found in the tomb when Howard Carter discovered it in 1922.  These pieces are now in the National museum in Cairo.  Most of the treasure in the other tombs were taken by the workers of the tombs.

This is Queen Hatshepsut's temple.  It was restored by archeological team from Poland.

The hieroglyphics were amazing and very colorful.

The Queen dressed like a man, including a beard, and ruled for 22 years.

Outside her temple.

These two huge statues are the Colossi of Memnon.  These lead to the temple of Amon-Ofis III which was destroyed but excavation is going on in the area.  These two gigantic statues, 20 meters high, were cut out of a solid piece of sandstone.

 We had a delightful lunch at a restaurant called Marsam, which is the oldest guest house on the West Bank.  This time we got a choice of fish!

On the way back we were treated to some local sugarcane and how to eat it off the cane.

A highlight of any trip is meeting the locals and their families.  This was a bread making demonstration by the wife of a local farmer.

Our server was the daughter.

We all took our turn making bread.  She made it look easy but for us it was difficult.

After a visit to the barn to see the water buffaloes and the geese and a walk in the farmers alfalfa fields, about 2 acres, we sat down to a very nice meal:  cucumber and tomato salad, boiled eggs, cheese, fries, hummus and the bread we cooked which was delicious!

Happy and content:  Lynn, Ellen, Bobbi, and me at the local's home.

No comments: