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To the westbank of Luxor: Ramesseum and the temple of Hatshepsut

Home -> Africa -> Egypt -> Travelogue Egypt -> 13 January 2004

Tuesday 13 January, to the westbank of Luxor: Ramesseum and the temple of Hatshepsut

In the sun, LuxorToday we start as slow as the other days. Fortunately, there is less wind than yesterday so it feels much warmer. After walking around through Luxor for some time we start drinking coffee at the Metropolitan restaurant, along the Nile.
Westbank, Luxor ExcavationsThen we take the ferryboat to the westbank and rent a cycle at the same shop as a few days before. At the ruins behind the Memnoncolossi a huge group of Egyptians is busy digging in the soil. It is the season for excavations.
RamesseumOur first visit is to the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II. We first pass a lot of other mortuary temples when we go there but most of them are not more than ruins of which almost nothing has been preserved. In the Ramesseum excavators are busy fittinf pieces of stone and reconstructing statues.
Westbank, Luxor Westbank, LuxorOn our ramshackle bicycles, which are much worse than the ones we have had before, we cycle through very poor looking villages. But most of the begging children have golden earrings, so they probably have money enough for food and clothes. In this hot and dry climate there is no need for well-kept and roofed houses so the poor look will probably always stay.
Deir el BahariaOur next stop is at the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut. It is an impressive terrace temple which is almost unique to Egypt. Only the temple next to it, almost 600 years older, resembles it and probably was an example for Senenmut, the architect of this temple.
Temple of Hatshepsut Temple of HatshepsutHatshepsut was one of the few female rulers of Egypt, but she showed she was strong enough to be king. Her reign was a period of prosperity and she shows in her temple she was very proud of that. Unfortunately, her successor, Tuthmosis III, destroyed a lot of her statues and let chisel away images of her.
Temple of Hatshepsut Temple of HatshepsutOne of her deeds was organising trade expeditions to Punt, a country that probably was situated somewhere in nowadays Ethiopia. The expeditions took exotic animals back, like lions, and lots of trees or seeds of trees. Many of them decorated the mortuary temple which must have looked like a more lively temple than most others.
Deir el Baharia Deir el BahariaThe location against the mountains (behind them lies the Valley of the Kings) is very well chosen and gives the temple something mahestic. One can walk over the mountains from here to the Valley of the Kings, but that is too much for us, today... From here we have enough splendid views over the Nile valley and the inhabitable area.
Teije in the sunAfter spending hours in temples it is time we have a break. We cycle back to the bicycle shop and drink a cup of tea with the owner. Then we go to the roof of the the Nile Valley hotel where we spend another hour watching the traffic below.
Boys and donkeys Donkeys and womenTwo boys tie up their donkeys to the fence and start to play. A few minutes later there are already four donkeys, braying against each other and passing donkeys.
CamelsThe camels are also let out of their stables. We haven't seen many tourists riding on one, but at 4 o'clock they are brought to the Nile. When we take this picture one man immediately demands money. 'Why', we ask him, but we don't get an answer. He doesn't get his money. We can also pay him after we have made a ride on the camels, but we aren't in the mood for a camelride.
Ok, the travelogue is a bit shorter than on other days, but it has been a long day as always: dozens of Egyptians with offers we had to decline. No we don't want a cab, no, we don't want a coach, nor a felouka, nor a motorboat, and no, we don't want to visit Banana Island etcetra. No, we don't want a guide; nice of you to explain everything, but we didn't ask for it, please leave us alone and you won't get any money... Sometimes I get very tired of it and then I say lalalala... La is Arabic for 'no'. A very important word in this country for a tourist!


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