Published: April 12th 2009April 12th 2009
We were really exited about our return visit to Egypt and didn’t mind the crack of dawn early start to our day. We docked at a small container port called Safaga and to get back to the Nile we had to have a 3½ hour coach ride through the desert. We were expecting the desert to be flat, sandy and boring, however to our delight it was mountainous, sandy in parts and a feast for the eyes. Birds that looked like eagles were abundant, little settlements of the Bedouin people were sporadically placed along the roadside and the shapes and the colours of the mountains were constantly changing. There were 700 off the ship going on this trip and all the coaches were supposed to stay together for protection from bandits, we were led by our armed guards escort and soldiers hopped on some of the coaches. The drivers must have had a bet on who could get there the fastest as they kept overtaking each other and kind of flung us about in their efforts to win!! It was quite a sight to see this convoy snaking through the wilderness.
As we approached the Nile valley
we were reminded of Egypt’s beauty as suddenly an abundance of greenery appeared in neat scares edged by colourful spring flowers and palm trees. People busy working the land decorated the landscape and the numerous irrigation channels glistened in the sunshine. Fantastic..we love this country. We were grinning to each other like Cheshire cats as we recalled our previous wonderful summer visit and all it had to offer. We knew today would only be a flying visit, but we were happy just to be back.
Our first stop was to Karnack temple- a huge place. It was very hot but at least not humid and no where near as hot as our last visit of 45º!! We were herded off the coaches and into the temple in the usual manner…but we were soon to abscond from the crowd to those areas of the temple that we wanted to see more of that we had missed the last time. We knew a lot about its history so excused ourselves from the party and scooted off. We found the manmade reservoir and the scarab beetle where I hastely started running around it continuing my wishes..as you do there… but found out
on my near completion of the ritual, that I was going around in the wrong direction..aargh this would bring bad luck. I screeched on my brakes and promptly turned around and recited my wishes again!!! Hopefully not tooo late..time will tell..he-he!
We ambled through its ruins oooohing and ahaaaing at its marvels as if we had never seen them before and clicked away furiously with our cameras. We tried to take the time to soak up its ambiance, something that was lacking the last time and then all too soon it was time to leave it. All the memories and feelings of our last trip came flooding back. As we made our way out and saw the water front of Luxor our fingers were pointing to all those memorable places with the chorus of “look..can you see…do you remember..and mmmmm!”
We were driven to a hotel in Luxor for lunch, passing by the Luxor temple for literally a 2 min photo shoot there. We were hungry and looking forward to our traditional lunch and Egyptian flat bread. My hat goes off to the people who had to organise feeding 700 tourists in one place at the same time,
they did it in an impressive manner. However, we had European food and soft rolls..bit of a disappointment and lacked a cosy atmosphere, but the food was nice and plenty. We sneaked away early to take 5 mins walking along the street before getting back on the coaches to snatch a little more of atmosphere, smells and photos!
The journey continued with the 45 min drive to the Valley of the Kings. Really excited about going back there. It is an amazing place, well protected and the tourists well managed. We had hoped to go into Tut Ankh Amon’s (King Tut to us) tomb this time. They only open 3-4 tombs at a time to help with the preservation of them and rotate their access. We were looking for different tombs this time. Unfortunately we did not have enough Egyptian pounds with us to buy the tickets and they would not take Euros or American dollars..bah!! Murdo tried to cross the palms of the entrance guards to persuade them with generous financial inducements to let us in. But they were good boys and did not want to loose their jobs and declined his offer. Oh well, it will give
us something to look forward to the next time we visited here.
We found the tomb of Tutmosis tucked away up the mountain and thought that looks good for a visit! Ooh deary me, my legs are still suffering the after effects 5 days later! Lots of steep steps up and down, and then up and down again phew. The air was stifled and rare inside, but it was worth the effort. The walls adorned with the familiar Egyptian artwork and colours, amazing to soak up.
Our time there went by too quickly, one day we will spend longer there..we must…too many good things to see. We weren’t taken to the Valley of the Queens or Hatchetsoups (wrong spelling I know!!) temple this time, which disappointed those who had not been here before, as it was just around the corner! At least we weren’t taken on the usual shopping trips to local handicraft factories.
Time for home, got on the coach and enjoyed about 1 hour of light to soak up the final images of leaving the Egypt we knew and watched the sunset go down on their green fields. Once darkness came, we fell asleep. Couldn’t
really see the desert in the dark anyway.
A strange sight awaited us back at the ship, a large pack of dogs which all looked related and like big soft Labradors. They were lying all over the dock next to the ship. They had been there all day and hadn’t caused any bother. It was quite a sad sight and had everybody ooohing and wanting to pat them and even take some home.
We weren’t leaving port that night so we sat outside on the deck talking the night away with Terry, a friend off our dining table, and watching the dogs. Midnight our beds beckoned. What a day!!
Next morning we sailed away with an escort today of a gentler persuasion-a couple of frolicking dolphins gliding in and out of the water in the ships wake.
There are more photos below