Luxor to Hurghada

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January 15th 2011
Published: January 16th 2011
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(12th Jan)Day 103 – Luxor (Karnak & Luxor Temples) to Hurghada
Not too early a start this morning, our guide was there at 7:30am to pick us up. Breakfast was just leftovers, stew/soup or cereal and some really yummy bananas. We all had to check out of our rooms though and pack the truck with our gear as we wouldn’t be coming back here, the truck would meet us in town for lunch. Packed and good to go, most were on the mend, still a few not feeling well. It was only a 5 minute drive to the Karnak Temples complex, just around the corner, some of the group had walked there last night for the light and sound show, it was a little too expensive for us… Karnak Temples is the biggest site in Egypt (247 acres), but it is not just one temple. It is a complex of six temples all dedicated to different gods and built by as many as thirty different kings and queens. The entrance to the temple, leading down to the Nile, is bordered by ram sphinxs. The original path lead right into what is now the second pylon, one of the pharaohs decided he wanted to contribute the first (now) pylon and to do so moved some of the sphinxs to the side in order to build his part of the temple complex. Hypostyle Hall is filled with these massive columns, 134 in total. This is where we could see an example of ancient windows, created by a two level roof and slots in the concrete between the two levels. Queen Hatshepsut created the tallest standing obelisk in the complex and was working on a bigger one but it got a crack in it so was never finished. Our guide explained to us how an obelisk is created in the quarry in Aswan, then transported here to Luxor by the Nile and then stood upright in a building full of sand, and all done in just 7 months, amazing! The Sacred Lake is also part of the complex, used by the priests and kings to purify them before taking part in their religious rituals. To this day it is unknown how the lake was filled; it is believed that there are secret canals that lead from the Nile. At the moment there are modern day pipes and pumps keeping it fresh. There is also a statue of the scarab beetle just next to the lake, legend has it that it is good fortune to walk anti-clockwise around the statue, 3 times for good luck/health, 5 times to get married, 7 times to get pregnant. We spent around an hour and a half here then moved onto Luxor Temple. Building commenced in 1400 BC, but the temple has been used for many purposes other than what it was built for. It is the only temple that has been allowed to have a mosque built inside of it (they actually built the original mosque without knowing the temple was there as it was covered by sand!). The sanctuary was also used by the Christians when they were hiding from the Romans. There are many statues of Ramses II here as well as the Avenue of the Sphinxs which links this temple to the Karnak complex, 3km away. We spent another hour and a bit here. Both of these temples were badly damaged by the Nile floods and the archaeologists have done well to restore them to what they are today. Excavation continues in Luxor and will for a long time, they still believe there is a lot buried in the area. After the temples we had 1 hour to find some lunch (everyone opting for McDonalds), collect our silver and jump on the truck. We had a 5 hour journey ahead of us, back through the desert, heading towards Hurghada, our final destination for today. We arrived within the city limits around 5:30pm just after dark but we then spent another hour trying to find the hotel. Nick and Stu hadn’t stayed here before and the directions that they were given weren’t correct!! We finally made it and the hotel was really great. We had an apartment style room and with half board again, dinner and breakfasts were included. It was a buffet dinner and then a hot shower (nope that was dreaming)…. it took too long for the water to heat up we ended up falling asleep before getting any…

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