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Kristen & Joe in Egypt: Luxor

Our time in Luxor was my favorite  in Egypt so far.

This is partly due to the hotel we were staying at.  It is a cute little budget hotel called Oasis Hotel.  There is a wonderful rooftop terrace with low tables and lots of cushions for lounging around.  At sunset, they offer tea and cake (included in the price) and we took full advantage of that a couple evenings and watched to sunset over the city.  They also offered food at a really good price.  We especially liked the rice pudding.  It was nice to get away from the hustle of the city without having to confine ourselves to our room.

The first day we were there, we booked an excursion through the hotel to see the Valley of the Kings, where many pharaohs have their burial sites.  The pyramids at Giza were grand and impressive, but since much of the king´s treasures were buried with him, the pyramids screamed “Rob Me!!” and many people did just that.  The later kings were smarter and hid their tombs in the mountains.   Though the tombs themselves were interesting, the guide was not and made what should´ve been an exciting tour very mediocre.  However, we did get to see the Temple of Hatshepsut, which was cut into the surrounding rock and was very fascinating.   Hatshepsut was actually a woman the ruled Egypt as a pharaoh and was one of the more successful rulers of Egypt.

The two other tours we booked through the hotel were wonderful!  One was a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings.  This gave us an unusual vantage point and we could clearly see the Temple from above, as well as many other sites that are now being excavated.  The other tour was a felucca sail along the Nile.  A felucca is a traditional wooden sailboat.  The ride was very peaceful.  We went to a small island where many fruits such as; banana, papaya, and mangoes were grown.  On the way back, we watched the sun set behind the sails of the feluccas.  It was a wonderful trip.

In Luxor, we also visited the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.  Both were surprisingly huge with many beautiful colonnades and statues.  We saw a Sound and Light show at Karnak  that told the history of the temple through the eyes of the pharaohs.  It was cheesy but fun and the way the temple was lit up at night was beautiful.

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