Home -> Africa -> Egypt -> Travelogue Egypt -> 09 January 2004
Friday 09 January, Luxor, walking around, visit to the temple and the souk
We have slept quite long, but we still don't feel rested, so we have planned a quiet day. After breakfast we sit on our balcony for some time, enjoying the sun which shines brightly. It is about 22 degrees Celsius, so even in the shade it feels very pleasant.
Then we first go to the Luxor temple, not far from our hotel. It is in the center of the town and next to the Nile, a beautiful location. It is amazing how much has been preserved. We first wanted to put a lot of information about the monuments of Egypt we visit on the website, but since there are many specialised websites about ancient Egypt we won't go too much into details. It would only make our travelogue harder to read.So in short: Amenhotep III (about 1375 BC) build the original temple but Ramses II (about 1250) has enlarged it and usurped the place by encarving his own name everywhere in the temple. At the back, to the south, is a small annex which dates from a later (Greek) period. The temple is dedicated to the trinity of Waset, later called Thebes by foreigners (like Herodotus), the gods Amun, Chonsu and Mut. The local god Amun became a national god when Thebes became capital of Egypt.
There are very nice carvings with nice scenes, like the full tables to the left and impressive statues like the ones of Ramses II to the right. Around the temple are areas with fragments of statues and walls which archeologists are trying to fit together. Quite a job, as the building of this monument must have been.
From the northern entrance we can walk a short alley to the north where sphinxes stand along the way. This road used to go all the way to the temple of Karnak, 3 kilometers more to the north. Of course, we will visit also later this week.
We walk back along the Nile and have a break at a bar. Next to it floats an unfisihed boat that I would like to have as a house! We will finish it ourselves, no problem...
In the Winter Palace we have a meeting with the host of the travel agency. Teije thinks he knows quite a lot because he lived in Egypt for a few years, but that is quite some time ago and it is always useful to be informed with the latest data. To the right the entrance of the Old Winter Palace, next to our hotel.
Like in Marrakesh, McDonalds has also conquered Egypt. We have a long discussion with the manager, who sits outside, why there should be a McDonalds in Egypt. We think it doesn't fit with the culture and the mentality of the Egyptians, but he is only very proud about this monstrous building and tries to get us inside. Maybe another time, since the view from the second floor is supposedly very nice.
Walking through the only long shopping street (one can hardly call it a souk) we are continuously approached by people who want to sell something. Sometimes very friendly, sometimes they get really pushy and walks along for hundred meters trying to sell anything, or just asking for money. We entered the shop on the picture voluntarily, to settle the deal we made (we buy 3 t-shirts) with a cup of karkadé, or hibiscus-tea.
We can understand that people don't like to be photographed in the poorer places and they can make a lot of fuss about it. Therefore Teije has his camera around his neck and secretly pushes the button, hoping we get at least a few good pictures of streetlife. Egypt is not only about old monuments.
All these people who speak to us, I really have a lot of fun about it. But always they want something from us: a pencil, money, that we come with them to their shop, or to the felouka (sailboat) or to their uncle's shop who sells cheap souvenirs, etcetera. It seems as if one can see the whole town and buy everything in it just by knowing one family.
There are not many houses that look finished, on most of the roofs one can see that the people plan to build more floors. But it has mostly to do with some sort of taxes that one only has to pay when a house is ready and this way a house is never ready.
It is a pleasure to walk on the boulevard now and then, there are so many things and people to see at different times. Like the cleaning men to the right who have to be acrobatic to clean this cruise ship.
In the afternoon more and more clouds appear in the sky and it feels a bit colder than yesterday. According to the weather forecast it will be cloudy until tomorrow afternoon and after that only more sunshine. But despite the clouds the view on the Nile is still marvellous with all the sailing boats at the quays.
When dusk falls we walk along the Luxor temple back to the hotel. We have had a lot of conversations with Egyptians and only turned them down when they became really annoying. They are very persistent in their efforts to sell tourists something, but we kept being friendly, without buying anything. But after some time it gets very tiring, that is for sure!