Another early start and we disembarked our amazing felucca (albeit without a sail) and we were back on land and temple bound. This time it was the Temple of Kom Ombo. Different to other temples, it was built with duplicate courts and halls on each side as it was built for two gods. One side dedicated to the Crocodile God – Sobek and the other to the Falcon God, Haroeris.
It is also know for three important reasons. One was the worldest oldest known calendar. Normally, we were told, you would need to line up for almost an hour to spend about 30 seconds in front of it, before being ushered along. As there was no one else there except for us, we stood around it while our trusty and now 30 year old guide, Haytham could explain all the hieroglyphics. It was another bloody temple, but nonetheless it was still spectacular. The second reason was it was the only place in Egypt where you can find a representation of Cleopatra. Lets just say, there was some artistic licence used when they cast a young beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as the namesake. If the image carved into the wall of Kom Ombo was an accurate account, she was not the most beautiful of queens to have lived…
The third reason was that this temple was of importance, was the markings carved into the back outer wall. The temple was also use for medicinal purposes as well as worshipping and the pictures depict surgical instruments that are still use today.
Back in the van and we were off to the Temple of Edfu. The size of this place was incredible. It took 180 years to build. Normally, the temples would display the name of the relevant pharaohs in the cartouche but as the construction period involved almost two centuries and so many Pharaohs, the cartouches were blank. When a particular Pharoah would rule, the name would be carved into a plate of gold and placed in the blank cartouche on the wall.
Walking through the colossal entrance guarded by two large granite hawks, we were once again, speechless. Dwarfed by the incredible columns, we wandered through the temple, from room to room. One of which was the perfumery and with what seemed to be the most detailed hieroglyphics we had/would see. When left to our own time, we separated and ended up all alone walking through the different rooms, once again feeling like Indiana Jones.
We were slightly late back to the van, as we were caught up in the moment. There was still a while to go before arriving in Luxor, and we all were hungry. Luckily, the driver had gone to get us some falafel in pita. After a slight miscommunication, we were gifted with 12 sandwiches each, rather than the normal of 6. For some reason after our feast, we slept, waking as we arrived in our hotel in Luxor. Free time before we visited Luxor Temple called for one thing, swimming in the pool equipped with a swim up bar.
Seeing Luxor Temple at night was a completely different experience. Unlike the rest of the Light & Sound shows offered at the Pyramids or other temples, this was simply a Temple, lit up. But, it is pretty amazing. Rather than explain it, here are some photos.
The next day was our last day with the group before we went back to Cairo and the others went on to the Red Sea and/or Jordan. We filled this last day in nicely. First up was a visit to the Valley of the Kings. Upon entering Ramses IX tomb. we were blown away with the colours on the walls that have lasted so many years. It was incredibly bright with so many images, including something with an umbrella and a duck…. Well at least, that’s what we are certain we saw, much to our guide Haytham’s dismay. These then led to a debate about how King Tut died – Malaria, an infection to his leg, hit by a car…this all went on for about 15 minutes too long in the heat of the day before we went entered another tomb where another image spotted was of a cow in a party hat… we didn’t bother bringing it up with Haytham.
Some of the paintings in these tombs were absolutely incredible, and even the section where it was incomplete, still looked amazing. Unfortunately, we were unable to take photos, but you will have to take our word for it. Next stop was the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Another bloody spectacular temple. This time we could take some photos.
There was enough time for a swim before jumping into the bus where had a slight detour to the Sugar-Cane-Juice man, on our way to another Temple.
Karnak Temple would be our last temple in Egypt. Actually, it is Temples, as it was built over thousands of years and so, all ruling Pharaoh wanted to add their mark to it which meant it became the largest ancient religious site in the world. Within all these temples was the Precent of Amun-Re. This was spectacular. Que more photos.
We said goodbye to most of the group and headed to Cairo. We visited the Egyption Museum in Tahir Square where the remnants of the recent revolutions were still visible, mainly by the 22 tanks guarding the front of the Museum. Inside, the Museum is lined wall to wall with so much history. The first piece that was explained to us was the Rosetta’s Stone, which eventually held the key to deciphering Hieroglyphics. This was a copy as the original is in the British Museum – probably should have gone and looked at that while living in London. Whoops.
Along with all the pieces and the kind-of-creepy Royal Mummy Exhibit, another true highlight was the Treasure of King Tutankhamen. The only Pharoah whose treasure was not stolen by the Tomb Robbers. And his treasure is incredible. Spending a few minutes in the separate room dedicated to the gold and jewels found on and in his coffins was unbelievable. We had enough time to enjoy some lunch with our guide for the day who gave us a bit more insight into the revolutions and what he felt would be the future for the country. Hopefully, it will stabilise so everyone will return and inject some much needed income to their tourist economy. Although, as we said before, don’t wait to visit Egypt, go right now.
We liked it so much we stayed, not for the temples this time, but to slip on our fins and snorkels in the Red Sea.