Day 8 – Colossi of Memnon, Valley of the Kings and Temple of Hatshepsut

We got up early in Luxor, just in time to see the day’s balloons hovering over the Nile. It was an awesome sight. None of them landed on the east side of the river as ours did. That occurrence is not typical and we were happy to have experienced it.

We started our touring today at the Colossi of Memnon, which consists of two huge statues that have the strange ability to emit whistling sounds every sunrise. Ancient people were amazed by this, causing the site to be visited by the ancient peoples in an effort to hear this unique sound.

Our next stop was The Valley of the Kings, a huge area of sun-blasted red rock that houses the tombs of 63 of the most important pharaohs in the history of ancient Egypt. Used as a burial chamber for nearly 500 years, from the 16th to the 11th century BC, it houses the kings, their families, and their possessions. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site.

The paintings inside range from almost gone to vivid in color. The most well known is Ramses II, although there are many Ramses pharaohs. When they are born, they are given a birth name. when they become the pharaoh, they adopt another name, often the same name with a new number.

Our final stop was the Temple of Hatshepsut, a mortuary temple dating from 1478 to 1458 BC. This area has been sacred to the goddess Hathor. It is nestled at the foot of a natural bay on the west bank of Luxor. After the introduction of Christianity, this temple was used as a monestary.

Time for lunch at a typical Egyptian restaurant. We had a choice of mixed grill, which typically consists of chicken and kofta kabobs, rice, French fries, chopped salad, babaganoush, and eggplant. The meal ended with a little honey cake. Time to go to our hotel in Luxor.

Luxor is a beautiful city, quite different from many others we visited. It is amazingly clean, welcoming, unlike many other areas of Egypt we visited. For example, Edfu was extremely dirty and chaotic. Aswan is stark and very desert-like. Even away from the tourist areas and hotels in Luxor, the neighborhoods for the every-day people looked well-kept.

We had a light dinner at the hotel and fell into bed.

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