Traveling to Egypt: Luxor – Day 7 (2021-01-27)

I woke up in time to exit my cabin and go on deck to watch the sunrise over the Luxor Temple and the Nile in front of that.  I watched several birds (ibis, egret, moorhen, sand plovers, and even a king fisher) playing on the West bank as well.  It was a great way to start the day.

For breakfast, we had salad, clay pot scrambled egg, fries, and several other Egyptian foods I am familiar with but can’t name.  We also declined all our host’s tour options, informing her that we were too free-spirited and we couldn’t imagine someone waiting for us while we walked around a temple, etc. Instead, we rented bikes and set out to cover both the East and West banks in one day rather than the two days everyone seems to recommend.  After renting the bikes we rode to the Valley of the Kings. All went smoothly until my pedals started slipping rather than cranking the wheel.  Ughh!!! (I have experienced this on other bikes and it is going to be a problem that we can’t fix with duct tape and dental floss.)  Fortunately, we were able to make it up (yes, the Valley of the Kings is slightly uphill from Luxor) without the bike failing entirely. At the Valley of the Kings, we were allowed to choose 3 tombs to visit (out of a ~40 that were open and a total of 62). This didn’t include King Tutt’s tomb which would double the $18 price. We chose to skip King Tut and, based on the person that stored my camera while we walked around (we could also pay to take the camera if we so chose), selected tombs 11 – Ramesses III, 14 – Tausert-Setnakht, and 16 – Ramesses I.  Ramesses III was very small but it had the most brilliant colors in the wall paintings.  The second and third were significantly larger and, while the colors weren’t as bright, they were still worth seeing.  After 3 we were satisfied and didn’t feel the need to visit the remaining 59 even if they all were open and included in our ticket price. 😊

One of the guards during our visit was particularly pesty and a woman visiting from Serbia escaped past me after being bothered and whispered, “he’s all yours” as she walked by. Unfortunately for her, the guard quickly realized we were even less susceptible to his naggings and returned to her side. A little later we heard her exclaim to him, “If you don’t mind, I would really like to be left alone to explore the tomb on my own.” At which point, he left her alone from that point on. We had a friendly conversation with her and learned that she was a translator/teacher from Serbia that basically spent her time traveling the world and teaching languages to people remotely Monday – Thursday.

Our next visit was in the Valley of the Queens area at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut where we again ran into our Serbian friend.  She asked to accompany us and we agreed but warned her that our lack of deep fascination for all the Egyptian antiquities was probably sacrilegious, but she should be warned. She was undeterred and together we ambled around the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.  It was amazing how disserted it was.  Perhaps 30 people total throughout the entire site.  Wow!  If there is anything positive to be said about COVID-19, it is that the Egyptian tourist places that remain open are disserted. We also visited Madinat Habu.

Once we were back in town, we swapped my bike out.  It was good to have a bike that moved when you peddled. Before crossing to the West side of the river we came across a turf soccer game.  We parked our bikes, removed our sandals, and we were invited to play.  It was fun and all, but no significant connections. By the time we were done, however, Mike was hobbling due to a small coaster size  blister on the bottom of his foot.  We called it quits after about 45 minutes of playing and caught the Ferry to the East side of the Nile.

The bikes were no additional cost to take on the ferry so when we got to the Eastside we could easily ride our bikes to Karnak (the biggest of all the Temples in Egypt).  We then biked past Luxor Temple to the train station and purchase tickets back to Cairo.  The plan was to travel to Cairo again by night and, when we arrived, to purchase tickets to Alexandria.  After purchasing tickets for Cairo, we rode back to the Ferry, returned our bikes in the Westside, and then went back to “our boat” to quickly washup a little and pick up our bags before going back across to catch the train back to Cairo.

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