Sunday 10 December 2023

West bank of the Nile

We joined a tour from the ship today that took us to the west bank of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians lived on the east bank of the Nile because that was where the sun rose each day, and the west bank was mostly reserved as a burial area. That was where the sun went down, indicating the end of day and also life on earth.

Our day started with excitement as a balloon almost landed on the road that we were driving along.

We all stood and watched it land, and it took me back to December 2002 when we did the same balloon ride, but without the road based drama.

In fact the whole outing was a trip down memory lane as the tour today is identical to the one that we made in 2002, then again in 2009 and 2017!

We should be experts in the history by now, and it is a lot more familiar, but still has surprises.

First stop was the Valley of the Kings and visits to three of the Pharaoh's tombs. 

It seemed a lot busier today, but the brightly coloured paintings are still as clear as when they were painted 3,500 years ago.

Then on to Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple that has a grand modern shaped front fascade.

To the left of the temple is the remains of another temple that was built over 600 years before this one. Apparently Queen Hatshepsut asked her architect to build something magnificent and in the words of our guide, he just 'copied and pasted' the design from next door.

I love this bird that stands at the bottom of the steps, with a disapproving look on his face.

After that came a visit to an alabaster factory, and then the Colossi of Memnon.

These are absolutely massive statues that were built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III in 1,350 BC. They have been world famous ever since and visited by ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as Alexander the Great.

It's disappointing that after four visits, the last one being today, that I had to look those facts up on Wikipedia.

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