It’s extremely hot and stuffy down here. I’m standing next to an oversize stone tomb 500 meters below the earth surface and I am starting to feel small and insecure about myself and what I will leave behind when I pass on into the next world. These kings didn’t mess around. They pre-thought everything tiny detail before they died.
Valley of the Kings is not a visual delight from the outside, but as soon as you pass through the main doors, you know why so many tourists flock here on a daily basis. The rabbit warren like tunnels, all lead to chambers containing a stone tomb which would have once housed a great king. Now, we are lucky, with years of looting and museums getting a hold of bits and pieces, to stand here and take in what they attempted to leave behind.
As you descend down to the main tomb, you see countless vertical rows of colourful hieroglyphs carved then painted directly onto the stone wall. Being a layman when it comes to different languages, I cannot read the stories, but I try to absorb it all and become mystified. Every tomb is decorated differently and some are incomplete. This is where the King might have died young and was not able to finish his tomb in time!
You’re not able to take photographs inside the tombs, in fact Wim gave it a go but the locals heard the unmistakable clicking sound of a DSLR and they came running demanding ridiculous amounts of money per picture or the option to delete. Of course, to our dissatisfaction Wim deleted the pictures, and we were told to move on. Back on the surface, the temperature dropped back to normal and we walked back down the dusty path back to our waiting taxi.
To contradict the decent down into the tombs, we got offered a deal of a life time, to hit the skies in a hot air balloon! I had never been hot air ballooning before, but some of my family members are mad enthusiast and join several balloon festivals around New Zealand each year. What better place to check out what all the fuss is about, here in Luxor.
Still wiping the sand from my eyes, we hover as close as we are allowed to our balloon to try and keep warm as it fills with hot air and rises from the dust. Given the all clear, we leap over the large wicker sides and stand on a soft foam floor. Then we rise up into the sky, and float with the sun rising over Luxor city and the Nile River on one side and the Valley of the Kings on the other. It was just beautiful and magical all at the same time.
When I didn’t receive the infamous banter in Cairo to buy things, to take a camel ride, to go on a boat ride and to buy something in their shop in , I was shocked to get hounded in Luxor.When Wim, Annelise, Herbert and I stood on the esplanade just talking we were consistently interrupted by someone trying to sell us something. When we told them no, they then would offer it for free! However, we not as stupid as we might look, we know people in these countries never give out anything for free! We just had to learn to ignore them no matter how hard it was. But I was glad to pack my things and head further south to Aswan, a city which sits on the lake border with Sudan.
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