Four hours by train down the Nile (north towards the Mediterranean Sea and Cairo), we stopped in Luxor to soak in the sights. We spent a day in the scorching sun walking sight-to-sight because we didn't want to get stuck in the tourist buses (herds of people going from A/C bus to sight then back to A/C bus).
Luxor is where the Valley of the Kings is ...also Valley of the Queens and Tombs of the Nobles. For the 14th-ish century Egyptians, life after death was as or even more important than life itself -- especially for the pharoahs who were close enough to the gods. The Valleys of the Kings and Queens are places of life after death with tombs for the pharoahs and their wives. We couldn't take photos inside and so there are no photos, but the tombs are quite amazing! King Tut's tomb is here, but it was too expensive to see an empty chamber since all the gold and things are on display at various museums around the world.
On the way to the Valley of the Kings are these two giants -- Colossi of Memmon -- who stand guard of the area.
Pretty amazing structures when you realize that these stones are stacked on top of each other! No Caterpillar back then.
After the ticket office to the Valley of the Kings, MOST tourists take these carts ...to go a distance of ...say 1/8 mile! Talk about lazy! We walked.
Here's Tauru in front of one of the some 20 tombs that have been excavated. People to the right are lining up to go inside for a view of the tombs. Story is that when a pharoah takes the throne, he starts building his tomb. The ceiling is painted in blue with yellow five-point stars while the walls are painted with scenes of the pharoah and lots of heiroglyphics. Each tomb has a sarcophagus, but the mummies of the pharoahs have been removed and are now in the Egypt Museum in Cairo.
Christi gets ready to descend into a tomb.
We weren't supposed to take photos, ...but we snuck this one. Pretty amazing to think that this was painted over 3000 years ago!
After the Valley of the Kings, we hiked over a ridge to the Temple of Hatshepsut. Here's Tauru in the shape of a 4-and-half-point star.
Here's looking back at the Valley of the Kings. Not much -- just a bunch of tombs hidden in the hills. Blue circle is parking lot; Red circle is where King Tut's tomb is; and Red arrow is a tomb.
We arrived at the Temple of Hatshepsut -- a temple in honor of a female goddess. Yes, back when there were gods, women were highly praised; but now with just one God, ...well, it's all about men.
Another view of the Temple of Hatshepsut. The rest of the time, we couldn't take photos... sorry!
The following day we awoke early again (I know it's a miracle!) to see some really old stuff. We went to the Temple of Karnak which was built 4000 years ago. Well, that's when they started it - they added to it over the course of 1500 years! If you want some perspective on how long that is, Islam hasn't even been a religion for 1500 years yet!
A row of ram-headed sphynxes lines the walk to the temple. Supposedly, these once lead all the way to the Luxor Temple back in the day, about 3km away. Those ruins are still under the ground, under the road!
More sphynx-y things inside the temple.
Tauru's checking out the stone gaurd's belly button.
Christi's hanging out with the larger-than-life stone guys - really old guys, so old that some of their heads have fallen off!
The colonade - so many huuuuuge columns, all covered in pictures and hieroglyphics, that must have once supported a ceiling. How on earth did they erect these things?
Video: Columns at the Temple of Karnak.
Hieroglyphics on the columns... really cool stuff.
Another view of the temple - the two obelisks are gravity-defyingly tall, and covered in hieroglyphics. Why don't they fall over? Will the Washington Monument stand that test of time, too?
Hieroglyphics line the door frame - such a beautiful language.
Some hieroglypic close-ups.
A whole wall that must tell a story.
Another section of the temple. The whole temple is about 800m wide and 1.5km long!
Now this is how we remember Tauru - not getting up at 6am and acting like a tourist - nah. Eating!!! Dinner was half a chicken, rice, salad, potatoes, bread, and tahini for just under $3 each!