13th May 2006
We boarded our ship “The Nile Ritz” and had to wait an hour or so for our cabin to be ready as we had gotten there so early. I walked up onto the deck and looked out at the magnificent scenery, I could see, desert hills on the opposite side of the river and yelled out to my parents as soon as I realised what I was looking at, The Valley of the Kings. It doesn’t matter where you go in Egypt there is always something truly amazing to look at. We finally got to our cabin and had a sleep; we had a very nice lunch at around 1pm. I went to the jewellery shop on board the ship and bought myself a silver cartouche with my name written in it with gold hieroglyphs. Then at 2:30pm we met our guide…….Ramez.
After meeting our guide, we got on a bus and drove to the Temple of Amun at Karnak, this was one thing I had been waiting to see all my life. When we arrived, I could barely contain myself as I stood in front of the first pylon and looked forward to see the great hypostyle hall of Seti I and Ramses II, my skin was tingling. I just wanted to charge in, I knew how big this place was and knew by now how much time tourist groups get at such places.
Ramez took us in and sat us in the hypostyle hall, which was bigger than I expected, and told us about the temple. He also started explaining the hieroglyphs, which I found very impressive. He explained the combination of the circle and the duck figure as “Sa Ra” or Son of Ra which always precedes the name of the king. He also showed us that this combination was actually pictured on the Egyptian one-pound note and that if the signs didn’t meet up this meant that the note was counter fit, as the example he had given to him by one of the group was.
We then got to wander off by ourselves, at this point Mum and Dad did not want to follow me around even though this was one of the reasons I had been allowed to come along. I managed to track down the sacred lake of Amenhotep III, which was amazing and really big, I also managed to find the Gem-pa-aten temple which was unfortunately roped off, but I peered into the excavation site anyway. I wandered into all the places where there was no one lurking but did not manage to find the white chapel of Sesostris I or the talatat blocks of the Gem-pa-aten which are in the process of being put back together.
We then reboarded the bus and were taken to Luxor temple. I saw Hatchepsuts corridor of Sphinxes that once linked the temples of Luxor and Karnak and also the Solar court of Amenhotep III. There was also a mosque built on a higher level before the temple was excavated and Ramez, managed to be the first guide to tell me something that I didn’t already know. He told us that even though the mosque was built in the 13th Century, no longer in use and in the way of ancient excavations, it could not be demolished as in Egypt it is illegal to destroy a mosque for any reason. It was the middle of the afternoon and again it was very hot, my shoe was broke, I think the glue on the sole had melted. I was already sun burnt from our trip to Saqqara the day before and was almost glad to get back to the ship.
That night we again had a lovely dinner, the staff on the boat were wonderful and indeed within an hour of boarding the ship every one of them knew my name, I was the only young girl on the boat and all the staff were all men.
We were supposed to go and watch belly dancing on deck, but I was too tired and went to bed, Mum and Dad said I didn’t miss much. The next day we were visiting the Valley of the Kings and had a very early start, so I didn’t want to be tired for that.