(Day 44) Aswan to Luxor – 14 May 2011
We left this morning for Luxor. It was a scenic ride all along the banks of the Nile with a lot of contrast in colours. The massive River Nile with its beautiful clear water runs through the rugged dry landscape of Egypt. There is a green narrow strip, where farmers cultivate the land on either side of the river, with Palm trees everywhere to see. We assume that these trees together form some kind of canopy / green house effect to protect the crops from the scorching sun. Flood irrigation is used to irrigate the small patches of land under various crops.
We reached Luxor midday and decided to see some historical sites. Luxor was built around the 4000-year-old site of Thebes, the ancient capital of the New Kingdom; contemporary Luxor is an eccentric combination of provincial town and staggering ancient splendour. The concentration of monuments is extraordinary: they tower incongruously above the buzz of everyday life and make this a most compelling destination. Some of the most famous places to visit is Karnak, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut and the Mummification Museum.
We only had time to go to the Luxor Temple, which was amazing. The scale of the Temple and the craftsmanship was astonishing. We also visited the local bazaar and later went for a ride on one of a white-sailed feluccas, on the Nile. This was very relaxing and a good way to see many of the historic places. Luxor is also currently like a ghost town with vacancies in most hotels and after speaking to some locals we were told that business is down 90%. This is a result of the political unrest that has been going on, especially in the north, the last few months. Everybody is however positive that things will change for the better soon.
We hope to have an early start tomorrow to head on our last long stretch of 531km’s, east to the Red Sea and then turn north along the coast to a Holiday Resort, Hotel Mar Rojo, some 200 km’s before Cairo. This should give us a short day to Cairo on Sunday. We had a very pleasant surprise with an offer by Paul Shenck, the Executive Assistant Manager of Intercontinental Hotels to put us up in Cairo, thanks to the initiative of Anton v Zyl.