May 30, 2010
Had a nice morning chatting and farewelling the three people from the felucca gecko tour who had decided that feluccas weren't for them. Robert left me a business card with instructions to contact him when I get to Munich, so I now officially know someone who lives in Europe! Guess I need to start booking stuff past London soon...
Karnak Temple is massive. It isn't as intact as the one we visited yesterday, however the sheer scale and size of the thing more than makes up for it. Our tour leader (Hassan got someone else to show us around) was a little too talkative to start with, but after being given a 'hurry up' he improved and we got sometime to wander ourselves. Madeline, Carson, Rachael and myself ended up trying to find the façade facing Luxor itself, and ended up with someone who could have been a guard escorting us past the barriers to the front in exchange for a few pounds to snap some shots of the second to front one. Unfortunately the front façade itself is under restoration and had cranes and stuff all around it. In a sense I guess we bribed an official, however he was gesturing us along rather than us asking :P
I'll add captions to the photos of interesting stuff rather than talking about it all here.
Afterwards we took a horse and cart to the jewellery store endorsed by Gecko / Imaginative traveller - cheaper prices and quality guaranteed etc. I've been told by Bridget 'no Egyptian souvenirs' as a colleague of hers is Egyptian and she already has enough so after a bit of a browse, ended up watching a bad action movie and translating a few cartouches using the hieroglyphic alphabet while we waited for the purchases to finish. We then had a quick wander through the local market street,and I attempted to bargain for a Liverpool shirt. Started at 145, got him down to 50, but I was asking 20, so left it for the moment. In our free time tomorrow I'm hoping to head back to see if I can get one, as I have been wanting one for a while, and while i won't be authentic, it's close enough.
On the way back we passed the Luxor Temple. Just recently they discovered a row of sphinxes heading north, similar to the row heading south from Karnac. They are in a direct line and as excavations have begun it has become clear that the line likely is actually the same and runs between the two, well over a kilometre. Already over 400 houses have needed to be relocated to make way for excavations which are about 10 meters below current ground level, and many more will need to be moved to finish it. Just looking at it now is impressive and when the excavations are complete the dual complex of Karnac and Luxor will be even more massive. Given Luxor was the capital of Egypt for nearly 1000 years during pharonic times, the existence of such a large temple complex should not really be surprising. We are going to be heading to Luxor temple tomorrow to see the other end in more detail.
Back on the ship (after walking through, a grand total of 8 cruise ships lined up side by side to get to the Melodie - further than the length of our cruise ship out into the Nile!) for our final dinner, and the chef had prepared a special Melodie cake for us, and the dancing began again, together with some rather unnerving knife twirling. Now relaxing on top again writing up this entry before a hopefully early night, as tomorrow it's up at 5.30 to take some donkeys to valley of the kings!