The Last of Egypt
On our last day of sailing along the Nile we stopped at, you guessed it, another temple! To get to this temple, we had to go by horse drawn carriage and were pre-warned that even though payment and tips would be sorted by our tour guide, these guys could be quite aggressive when asking for more tips. So we were given the option of giving them an extra few pounds or running back to the boat with them yelling after us. We figured we’d see how it went then decide what option we would take.
Anyway, after a quick horse ride we were at the Temple of Edfu. As you can see from the photo, this temple is massive which makes the fact that it was buried under 12 metres of sand even more impressive. Because it was buried for so long, this meant it is still very well preserved.
In previous temples we were told that the hieroglyphics were painted with bright, vibrate colours and this was the first time we were able to see some of the paint still preserved.
As you’ve probably noticed from these Egypt posts, there weren’t very many tourists around while we were there for obvious reasons. Seeing the news in the last couple weeks has really made us realise how lucky we were to go when we did. We felt safe and taken care of and never ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was an incredible experience made even better by the fact that we were at these sites with hardly any other tourists.
From Edfu, we continued sailing to Luxor and went to the famous Valley of the Kings. We weren’t allowed to take photos at this site which was really disappointing since the site was really incredible. The Egyptians decided that the pyramids were too obvious (really?) a burial place so in order to stop tomb robbers from stealing the amazing amount of gold and treasures, they decided to bury them in a valley far in the desert. Of course this didn’t stop them except for one tomb – the tomb of Tutankhamun. It cost extra to go into King Tut’s tomb and since all the treasures are in the Cairo Museum, we decided to skip it. The 3 other tombs we went into were amazing – since they’re underground, they have been preserved almost perfectly. In some areas you could’ve sworn the tombs were created and painted only a few decades ago instead of a few thousand years. Due to the ongoing problems in Egypt electricity is sometimes a problem so while we were in one of the tombs, my worst fear came true. I wasn’t feeling too claustrophobic as the tombs were quite large that is…until the lights went out and we were standing in complete darkness. If I wasn’t able to clutch onto Matt’s arm, I probably would have totally lost it! Luckily it didn’t last very long although it did go out a couple more times before we were done.
Next stop was the Temple of Hatshepsut which was completely rebuilt when the ruins were found. Most of the pieces were still very well preserved though especially the corner of the temple which shows how the temples were painted.
Our last temple site of the trip was Karnak and Luxor temples. At one point in time, these two temples were connected and formed a massive complex in the centre of Luxor. Work is being done now to excavate the site that has been built over by the current city in order to make it a complete complex again.
In the picture below you can see that there’s an obelisk missing – turns out it’s in Paris (given as a gift) and I took a picture of it when we were there in April although I didn’t know that story at the time.
Parts of this temple were also buried under sand and as a result a mosque (which is a couple hundred years old) was built over a section of the temple.
By this time, we were pretty tired of temples and were looking forward to a change of scenery. Luckily, since we changed onto the Nile Cruise, it gave us an extra day to spend in Hurghada a seaside resort town. We were able to stay in an all inclusive resort right next to the Red Sea and it even had waterslides!
Even though we were only there for a day, it was so nice to just chill out and beat the heat with a swim in the sea. Our last day was back in Cairo where we toured the city a bit more than the first day of our tour. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos of the good items in the Cairo museum but we were able to see all the treasures and the golden headpiece from King Tut’s tomb (pictured below) and went into the Mummy Room where we saw 12 amazingly preserved mummies including Hatshepsut (whose temple we went to earlier in the trip). I didn’t last very long in that room as it totally gave me the creeps but it was pretty incredible to hear that even with modern technology, the longest a modern mummy has lasted was only a year. The ones we saw were thousands of years old.
We went to the hanging church which was built over a fortress and is suspended by rows of palm trees which you can see in 3rd picture.
Matt and I were pretty over sightseeing at this point so we decided to stay in the air conditioned bus while the others checked out the Mosque at the Citadel.
And with that, it was time to head to the airport where I found Nutella bigger than my head.
I think we all agreed it was the best trip we had all been on and one that I’d definitely recommend…but maybe in a few years time when there is a stable government in place.