Thursday, April 3, 2008

Egypt. Day 6: Thebes (II)

The third day in Luxor came and we decided to take it easier. So we woke up a bit later (7.30) and had a proper breakfast in our hostel. After that, we checked out and moved to the West Bank again. On the way from the ferry harbour to the ticket office, we passed by the Colossi of Memnon, two huge statues of Ramses II. One was under restauration, so we did not stop to take a picture with us next to them.

Once in the ticket office, we decided that day we would visit some tombs of nobles, the valley of the Queens and the temple of Medina Habu. Besides, we planned to pass by Der-Al Medina on our way between the tombs of the nobles and the valley of the queens. Like that, we would have visited all the sites in the West Bank!!

After buying the tickets, we headed back to Qurna, where the tombs of nobles are. Of course, once there, many kids and adults tried to become our guide. Normally, these people can't speak much English, make you rush and ask for a baksheesh (a tip) before you leave. So, as we were pretty tired of that, we decided to scape from them every time they came near us ;-)

The first nice tomb was that of Ramose, a scribe of a pharaoh. It looked like this:

The tombs of the nobles were pretty interesting, because they were really different from the tombs we had seen in the Valley of the Kings the day before. There, the drawings in the walls were carved in the stone and talked about pharaohs and gods, the afterlife, etc. Here, the shapes of the tombs were quite heterogeneous and the drawings were simply painted on the wall. Besides, those drawings described the normal life of normal people, the work in the fields, the construction of buildings, trading...

Another example of a cool tomb was that of Sennefer. It was discovered quite recently and therefore, it was very colourful and well-preserved. A nice visit!

After visiting 5 tombs, we headed for the Valley of the Queens, the place where the family of the Pharaohs were buried. Its main attraction, Queen Nefertari's tomb, was closed, but still I wanted to visit the valley. On our way there, as I told you before, we passed by Der-Al Medina, the town were normal people lived. This is what it looks like:

Finally, we arrived at the Valley of the Queens. The ticket was valid for 3 tombs, but actually, only three tombs were open at that time! This is the view of the valley:

And this is the interior of one of the tombs we visited.

It was really really hot there and all the staff were sleeping or in the shade. The number of tourists was also limited, as it was lunch time when we went there ---> That made the visit even nicer! ;-)

Finally, we went to Medina Habu, the last place missing in the West Bank. Medina Habu was the mortuary temple of Ramses III and was really big. Actually, it was the second biggest temple in Ancient Egypt, just behind Karnak Temple. The temple was quite damaged but many columns and pictures maintained their original colour, which makes the visit quite nice! These are some pictures we took there:

Finally, we came back to Luxor at around 6.30. In one hour, we were taking a bus to Hurghada! So we came back to the ticket office, got our tickets, came back to the hotel to pick up our backpacks and went for dinner in a fast food place: some lokanta. At 7.30, we took the bus and arrived at Hurghada at 00.30. During the trip, we met an Austrian lady who helped us get a hostel at that time at night. Thanks to her, we got a better fare. Of course, before sleeping, we booked two tickets in a cruise to go snorkelling in the Red Sea the next day. However, we did not have any swimming wear!! It was 1.30 when we slept, and decided to wake up at 7.30 to buy some! Do you think we managed to get what we needed in only one hour next morning?

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