I woke up feeling rested today and was overjoyed that today would only be a half day of activities. Everything we have been doing has of course been wonderful and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it, but the pace has been difficult. It was nice to have a day with some real time to relax. We left the boat at 8:00 and headed for queen Hatshepsut’s temple. The temple was not fully intact and missing many pieces. Even so, its triple-tiered columned edifice is easily the most impressive on Luxor’s west bank. It is said that anything having to do with Hatshepsut was defaced during the time of Ramses II. He believed himself to be a god on earth and he didn’t like that she claimed to be the daughter of a god. Just like every other ancient structure in Egypt the walls of the temple were covered in hieroglyphs and carvings depicting the story of Hatshepsut. I loved the idea that a woman had seized power and ruled ancient Egypt for a generation and was one of the most successful and revered pharaohs in the country’s storied history.
Our second stop of the day was the Valley of the Kings. If I thought the queens’ tombs had been impressive I was blown away by the kings’ tombs. We were able to enter three different tombs with our ticket and each one was extraordinary. These tombs were easily three times the size of the tombs from the previous day. The carvings and drawings were beautiful. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that I was actually inside a tomb that belonged to a pharaoh of Egypt. Inside there was always an enormous coffin that would have held the mummy. Remember that none of these tombs, except for king Tut’s, were found intact. All of them had been robbed at various times. Some of the mummies were later recovered but none were found in their tombs where they were supposed to be.
Once everyone had seen their chosen three tombs we left the Valley of the Kings and returned to out boat. As we sat down to lunch the motor roared and we started to sail down the Nile. The rest of the afternoon was very relaxing. It consisted of a much needed nap, tea time on the sun deck, sitting and visiting with people, and writing my blogs. It was a nice break from the stiff pace of the past five days.
[Photography note: no photos allowed inside the tombs.]