PHOTOS OF THE WEEK – WAITING FOR TOURISTS

 

……….AND WHEN WILL THEY BE BACK? THESE PEOPLE AND ANCIENT SITES  FEEL LONELY AND NEED THE TOURISTS!

IMG_0819-3

GUARDING KARNAK TEMPLE

 

 

IMG_1856-2

GREAT HALL AT KARNAK TEMPLE

IMG_1874-2

OBELISK OF QUEEN HAPSHETSUT AT KARNAK TEMPLE

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3               Brigitte

Posted in Egypt, HABIBTI YA MASR, Luxor, Pharaohs, Temple of Karnak, Tourism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VISITING EGYPT – DO YOU WANT TO FEEL LIKE A NATIVE?

When you travel and you want to feel like a native you need a native to show you the hidden corners. The corners off the beaten pass.

My friend Ahmed introduced me to his friend Sayed – everybody has lots of friends in Egypt and everybody is a friend —— and this friend owns the NEW MEMMON HOTEL on the West Bank, near Luxor, half way between the Nile and the Valley of the Kings.

.

It was love at first sight when I visited it. The hotel is pretty, with modern conveniences, and it has something we miss so often today, a comforting simplicity. So six months later I was on my way, planning to stay 2 weeks.

The service of the hotel included being picked up at the airport. Sayed was there and once my suitcases had been found we drove to the Hotel, along unpaved streets, through little villages where in front of badly lit Cafes a few men sat and drank coffee. It was already dark and for a moment I was wondering if my enthusiasm should have had a reality check?

Arriving at the hotel Sayed asked me which room I wanted. I choose the corner one where from the little balcony I could see  the Valley of the Kings.

VALLEY OF THE KINGS AT NIGHT SEEN FROM MY ROOM

VALLEY OF THE KINGS AT NIGHT SEEN FROM MY ROOM

It was after the 2011 revolution, there were not many other guests at the hotel and I felt a little lonely. The friendly help in the hotel and Sayed tried to make up for it.

Breakfast was served in the garden, with three people making sure I that I had enough  coffee ………. — IMG_1675-3

……and later that day,  we drove through  the country side, on back roads, passing  green  fields where sheep and cattle were grazing

IMG_7588-2

Then we  stopped in a little village where people’s  life is never affected by tourists.

IMG_1555-2

IMG_1682-2

We spent about 2 hours there, and often Sayed stopped greeting friends. Of course I didn’t understand what he said, but I knew that when the other man looked my way, he was explaining who I was. Not understanding is not always bad, it gave me a chance to look around and take pictures.

IMG_1576-2IMG_1558

IMG_1685-2

OUTDOOR SLEEPING OPTIONS

OUTDOOR SLEEPING OPTIONS

IMG_1571-2

It was the graveyards, close to the market place, which were interesting. They showed even in death how rich or important somebody was!

A SIMPLE GRAVE

A SIMPLE GRAVE

 

TOMB OF A RICHER MAN

TOMB OF A RICHER MAN

 

.... AND A STILL RICHER MAN HAD HIS TOMB ENCLOSED

…. AND A STILL RICHER MAN HAD HIS TOMB ENCLOSED

 

Did I feel like a native? NO! But being with a native made me feel comfortable and  more acceptable to the people in the  village. But most importantly without Sayed I would never have come here, because it takes a native to take you off the beaten path.

More from Egypt soon

GEESE                                   Brigitte

 

 

P.S. If you ever want to come this way and would like to check out the hotel  – look at their website

http://www.NewMemnon.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Ancient Stones, Islam, Luxor. Valley of the Kings, Religion, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

AY WHO? PHARAOH WHO?

I knew nothing about Ancient Egypt before I visited the country — and when I did I was one of countless tourists who are shown the most impressive temples, and told about the most important pharaohs. Understandably,  because during a 12 days tour that is all there is time for – not allowing to go off the beaten path. But on another trip to Egypt I got lucky – because I was not with a tour?

“Today I will take you somewhere most tourists don’t go,” Ahmed said when we met on a sunny morning in October.  He wouldn’t elaborate and answered my questions by saying, “Just come, you will see.”

We headed into the Valley of the Kings and when we got there we did not park our car as one usually does, but instead we turned right. The road was rough, sandy, and covered with stones.IMG_1712 The rising rocks on either side of the road made it look like outer space. The path narrowed and the rocks became mountains.IMG_1706-2

“We are going to visit the tomb of the PHARAOH AY.” Ahmed said after we had driven for a while, emphasizing again that not many tourists come here – and seeing our SUV bumping and skipping along, I could imagine that this would be a challenge for a big tourist bus with 40-50 people.IMG_1707-2

When we stopped at a small hut a man called Sayed joined us.  “He is in charge of opening and closing the tomb, he has the key to the iron gate,” Ahmed said

When we stood in front of the iron gate, well hidden in the rocks, Sayed took a large key out of his pocket, unlocked the gate, and switched on the lights.  ayt2[1]

 

I started down a very steep, wooden staircase, still wondering who PHARAOH AY was. At the end of the stairs I stepped into a small, intimate room with amazing wall paintings, and a marble sarcophagi in the middle.Tomb of Aye[1]

“This tomb has only one chamber because it was never finished.  AY died before it was completed.” Ahmed  explained. The scenes on the walls, and Ahmed’s history lesson  helped me to find out who PHARAOH AY was.

IMG_1705

AY became pharaoh of Egypt when he was 70 years old. 200px-PortraitStudyOfAy[1]

He only reigned for four years (1327 – 1323 BC). But before becoming pharaoh he held the very important and influential position as Vizier of  PHARAOH AKHENATEN (father of Tutankhamun), the highest official to the serve a king. When  TUTANKHAMUN became pharaoh he was a close advisor to him and was said to be the power behind  the throne.

After TUTANKHAMUN’S mysterious death at the age of 19, AY married his widow ANKHENSENAMUN which allowed him to claim the throne. Since a commoner could not become a pharaoh unless he married a member of the royal family,  it is believed that it was not ANKHESENAMUN’S will to marry AY — and nothing is known about her after this event.

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3Brigitte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Ancient Stones, Egypt, Pharaohs, Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PYRAMID STONES — IT IS A MATTER OF SIZE

 

While we are at the Pyramids, let me show you how big – how overwhelming – and dwarfing one single stone can be…

IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT MORE THAN TWO MILLION LIMESTONES WERE USED TO BUILD EACH PYRAMID —– AND EACH STONE WEIGHS ABOUT TWO AND HALF TONS

IMG_7660-2

THAT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF STONES, AND TWO AND A HALF TONS IS VERY BIG. BUT CAN WE REALLY SEE HOW BIG IT IS UNLESS WE HAVE A POINT OF REFERENCE?

More from Egypt soon

IMG_7646-2

Brigitte

Posted in Ancient Stones, Egypt, Pharaohs | Tagged , ,

INSIDE KHUFU’S PYRAMID

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khufu, is the only one of the three Pyramids  on the Giza Plateau that can be visited inside.

Egypt_1702-2
During my first and second trip to Egypt, while visiting the pyramids I wanted to go inside, but each time my guide discouraged me.

“There is nothing in there but an empty sarcophagus, don’t bother. There is nothing to see.”

And each time I believed him, regretting it when I came home.

During my third trip I was without a guide, and I had decided that this time I will go inside the Great Pyramid. After missing it twice I was  afraid that if I would never again come to Egypt I had missed seeing a pyramid on the inside. And not just any pyramid, but the Great Pyramid of Giza, Khufu’s Pyramid that was built for him in 2584 BC, over  four thousands years ago —- and I would regret it for the rest of my life.

So I made arrangements to go. When I had paid the driver, I went to buy my ticket. The visit to go inside I was told ” is 15 ($2) Egyptian Pounds extra.”  I didn’t mind!!!  The pyramid complex is closed off with a wire fence. Yes, it is a very long fence, enclosing the three pyramids and the sphinx. It prevents anyone from just walking around, and it is revenue for the state.

12_cheops_pyramid_entrance[1]

The entrance looks like the eye of a needle. It is hard to see, when you don’t know where it is.

1.1269478204.great-pyramid-of-khufu[1]

And to reach it I had to claim up rows of huge stone. There, while taking half of my ticket, an official dressed in a white uniform and a black cap, gave me instructions which I didn’t  understand.

‘You have to show that half when you leave” a by standing  tourist explained.

“But why” I asked

‘They want to make sure that you did not slip in without a ticket.”

Tucking the rest of my ticket away, I was wondering what would happen if I had slipped in without a ticket????

I was finally where I had wanted to go since my first visit 18 months ago. There were stairs, lots of stairs.  The first set was built into the rock and I could still stand straight while walking up, but soon the climb became more difficult, not only were the stairs much narrower,  but what was worse, the ceiling was lower and lower, and while holding both handrails tight, I was folded in two crawling up the last set of stairs.

01-11_6[1]

I don’t know if it was the lack of air, the stifling  heat, or my struggle to make it to the top, but I don’t remember ever feeling as hot and out of breath as when I finally stood in,  what is assumed to be, the burial chamber of Khufu –

th3LDSHA87

…….  and  my guide had been right,  besides the empty sarcophagus there was nothing – no decoration, or inscriptions, just plain HUGE blocks of stone, like the one holding up the ceiling(still a mystery today of how it was put up there)  – but it was a good place to catch my breath

Leaving I felt like I was sliding out of the pyramid because I had to do it backwards now —  gripping the handrails again, and hoping for more air the further I came down.

Would I go again? NO! YES! MAYBE!  I don’t know,  but standing outside afterwards and looking up at what is today the only surviving testimony of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

When I told a friend about my adventure he said, “I  did that when I was 25, and never again.” Maybe being 25 would have helped?

Egypt2014-2

More from Egypt soon

Brigitte

Posted in Ancient Stones, Egypt, Pharaohs, Pyramids, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

EGYPT – MAKING A LIVING CAN BE A CHALLANGE

Working with ancient tools to create alabaster vases

Working with ancient tools to create alabaster vases

Keeping the plateau around the Pyramids clean

Keeping the plateau around the Pyramids clean

Cleaning the street in CAiro

Cleaning the street in CAiro

On the highway to Alexandria - selling a few tomatoes

On the highway to Alexandria – selling a few tomatoes

Fishing on the Nile near Luxor

Fishing on the Nile near Luxor

Transporting Bark of Palm Trees

Transporting Bark of Palm Trees

Hoping that somebody needs some bread

Hoping that somebody needs some bread

Pushing Feluccas on the Nile

Pushing Feluccas on the Nile

Selling Gas in Luxor

Selling Gas in Luxor

Railway Station in Alexandria

Railway Station in Alexandria

More from Egypt soon

GEESE  Brigitte

Posted in Alexandria, Boats, Cairo, Egypt, Food, Luxor, Pyramids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

PYRAMIDS AND TECHNOLOGY – PHOTO OF THE WEEK

CAN YOU IMAGINE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE PYRAMIDS AND YOUR CAMERA DOES NOT WORK? THERE CAN BE NOTHING MORE FRUSTRATING!!!

IMG_2343-2

FORTUNATELY THERE ARE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO KNOW ALL ABOUT IT – AND THIS YOUNG MAN WAS KIND ENOUGH TO HELP THE OLD MAN OUT —  HE CAN NOW GO HOME AND SHOW EVERYBODY  THAT HE REALLY VISITED THE PYRAMIDS!

More from Egypt soon

scan0002-2
Brigitte

Posted in Cairo, HABIBTI YA MASR, Pharaohs, Pyramids | Tagged , , , ,