Although I've been back a few weeks, I've been snowed under at work and not able to get onto TA as much as I would like so am just getting round to sorting out photos, trip reports and various reviews.
Again instead of a “lengthy” trip report I thought I would just make a trip wow slideshow with some of the many photo’s I took on holiday and just a very brief trip report, otherwise it would turn into a mini saga and bore you all to tears.
Another 2 weeks at the El-Luxor hotel where the staff treat you like an individual, not a room number, rooms are basic but clean and comfy and yet again we had a wonderful view of the Nile and the Theban Hills (although during our 2 week break they were not illuminated as like last year).
Birthday Parties in Luxor – 2 of them for Mrs KV-Explorer, the first, held on the evening of her birthday, which was an evening opening of Café Carter at the Howard Carter Museum (the first time EVER that it has been specially opened in the evening and probably the first time a Birthday party had been held there since HC celebrated his own) where a delicious 3 course meal was laid on followed by the “best tasting cake –EVER”, a specially made 'one off', which was a chocolate sponge, cream, chocolate cream and fresh strawberries all topped off with a solid chocolate Tutankhamun on top.
The second birthday party was later in the holiday and arranged by a local Egyptian friend one evening on a motorboat in the middle of the Nile. There was another birthday cake, this one just as impressive – a huge Twinkie gateaux with sparklers on top! We were also given sparklers to hold and party-poppers, fireworks were set off when the sun went down and there was a bottle of champagne to open. It would be most impolite of me to say which one of us had just one “SIP” out of the glass too many ;-) (see TripWow for a clue, LoL)
One afternoon we spent walking up the Western Valley and some of it’s seldom visited offshoots, I could do a separate trip wow which would last at least 30 minutes with all the photos I took that afternoon LOL!!! Not another tourist in site , so very very very stunningly beautiful and so quiet I firmly believe you would hear a pindrop.
We made many more trips over to the West Bank, revisiting Medinat Habu, Ramesseum, Howard Carter Museum and at least 3 afternoon visits intoThe Valley of the Kings, one of them a “special trip” to show one of the tomb guardians who regularly works in KV62 (Tutankhamun) and WV23 (Ay) the DVD of him starring inthe BBC “Egypt” TV programme, he was absolutely delighted as it was the first and only time he had seen himself in the programme and he could reel off all the other actor’s lines before they came up!!!! Some of the tomb guardians really are absolute stars. Unfortunately there is always “one” who is NOT and because it’s a family forum I can’t quite go into what one guardian suggested to me in KV11 (Ramses III) but he faced the wrath of a “wee Scottish wummin” for saying it and “no tip”.
Also spent one afternoon up at Karnak, I think there would be no more than 20 tourists in there the whole time we were there and they were mainly in the shade of the hypostyle hall. Further back by the sacred lake,botanical garden and out by Khonsu Temple there was absolutely no-one.
Generally the sites were very quiet, I would say that at some of the sites there did appear to be more Egyptians visiting than other nationalities. The same applied to our hotel with I would say the majority of guests being Egyptian and several conferences were also held there. One teaching “democracy” though I have no idea how you teach people that.
Before setting off for Luxor I had converted some of my nectar points into “expedia vouchers” and got a super deal on the Hilton Long Beach in Hurghada at £21.00 per person per night on an All Inclusive basis for myself, mum and the KV-Explorer's. The snorkelling was fantastic as there was a small reef just off the hotel and I spent a fair amount of time in the sea which left me with 3 rather large jellyfish stings on my body….. the marks are only just away 3 weeks later. Although I did enjoy the snorkelling 2 nights there was more than enough and I was very happy to get back to Luxor again.
At the rest stop mid way between Luxor and Hurghada we were advised that the President of Scotland, William Wallace aka “Braveheart” was “a good man” and were asked “how long the Scots have had freedom for” and “if freedom was good” Bless them!!!!
As much as I enjoyed my meal at the Carter Café, (we also went back during the day and had lunch there - the vegetable tagine and fried chicken are very good and beautifully presented) we also enjoyed more local dishes from local cafes & stands like Koshari, Hawawshi (as recommended to me by ourluxorflat) and falafel sandwiches with aubergine, chilli and salad all followed by a few glasses of sugarcane juice. I’ve actually been attempting to make the Hawawshi at home, can’t get the same ingredients here but I’ve been adapting it and had pretty good results so far and it’s a smidgin’ healthier version than that dished up in Luxor.
One of our caleche driver’s horses had just had a new foal so he took us out to the stables to meet her, the new foal – only one week old and absolutely adorable. I know much has been said about the state of some of the horses in recent weeks, but I would not entertain using a caleche horse in poor condition. Ahmed has several horses and now the foal. All are rotated, have soft shiny coats and no marks, I can walk faster than the pace he drives the caleche at. I usually take some special horse treats out for the horses and this year because things had been tough we bought some food for them all. As ever items for the horse are always more appreciated than any form of monetary tip. So contrary to what some may say there are some caleche men who do care for their horses, it’s just a shame that a few give them all a bad name at times.
Other than that a fair bit of time was spent relaxing, I had managed to catch swine flu earlier in the year so really needed some time chilling in the sun. I'm now counting down the weeks till my next trip over to Luxor in the autumn.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the trip wow slideshow -