Egypt: The Pharaonic Experience II

Posted by Analyse at 3:00 PM

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Visiting Egypt had been in Frenchguy's wish list eversince. He wanted to experience hiking and camping with the camels in the middle of the Sahara desert, let alone the excruciating heat. I was reluctant. I can't support 40°C. I would literally melt down.

Then the idea of Egypt came back again this year. We wanted something different. I thought, why not. I checked Egypt climate and it said 25°C average on the month of February during daytime. That's end of winter in Egypt. Perfect for me.

So I packed light clothes. Finally, I could show more skin. But why the heck were we on winter jackets?

The Travel

Luxor, the world's greatest open air museum, is just a 5-hour plane ride from Paris. The travel with our active toddler was a breeze. She had her own seat, knew how to buckle up her seat belt, and was relatively calm for the whole duration of the flight. She was always looking out the window and was raising her hand to tell us, we're still là haut, up there.

We were welcomed by French-speaking guides who worked on the visas and informed us which bus to take. There were 3 flights from Paris to Luxor that morning, equaled by a long line of buses in Luxor. That was a clear picture of mass tourism.

The bus took us to our cruise ship which became our itinerant residence for a week.

Life on a Cruise Ship

We arrived at a port where cruise liners were parked one after another. Each of them displayed a banner of travel organizers, as if I just googled for Egypt travel and there popped up the list - live. We crossed 2 ships before arriving on our resident. Our cruise ship catered exclusively to French tourists so crews mostly spoke French and menus were close to French cuisine.

We had a suite with two bathrooms, one with a tub, another with a shower. Though the ship was visibly old, we nevertheless had all the comfort we needed - rooms made up twice a day, friendly crews, bar, swimming pool to chill out. They even have this way of transforming the towels into crocodiles or ducks which added to the fun.

We even had animated soirées, with crews who transformed themselves into singers and dancers, and Louna who actively participated all throughout the evening. That was a lot of pure fun.

The first navigation was done during daytime which was cool as we had the opportunity to marvel at the landscape along the Nile River and at the same time observe its people. Otherwise, the rest of the navigations were done mostly in the evening.

Left to right, top to bottom: A man praying after a day's work, fishing, the dromedary camels, typical houses.

The Temples

We had our first stop at the Edfu Temple of Horus - the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BCE to 57 BCE, into the reign of Cleopatra VII.

Next was the Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world and to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder.

Then we visited the grandiose Abu Simbel (picture above), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors.

Back to Luxor, we visited the Temple of Karnak, a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world.

Then the Luxor Temple, made particularly popular because of its appearance at the movie Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie.

One of my favorite stop was at the Valley of the Kings (pictures not allowed) where 63 tombs had already been discovered (and some still hiding!). In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs), and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

Other stops were at Deir el-Madinah, an ancient Egyptian village which was home to the artisans who built the temples and tombs ordered by the Pharaohs and other dignitaries in the Valley of the Kings during the New Kingdom period (18th to 20th dynasties) and Medinet Habu or the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III.

Are you still with me? I know, that's much of an adventure already but the best is yet to come.

Egypt Profonde

A day with the Nubian population of Egypt was the cherry on the cake. We started the day with an hour ride on the dromedary camel which took us to the Nubian village. There, we were served with local delicacies and allowed to visit local houses and schools.
Louna with the kids at the pre-school, local products on sale in the middle of the desert, Louna taking a bite of the local delicacies (honey made from sugar cane), Frenchguy and Louna on the camel.

Le Souk

The commercial quarter in an Arab city, the Aladdin's cave where local produce could be bought - from different spices, to Hibiscus tea, to papyrus artworks, to belly dancing costumes to different souvenirs. Though I'm quite used to local markets from the different countries I've visited, I find vendors here a little too aggresive. The approach makes tourists run away from them. To the point that I refused to look at their products because a glance could fire up a long negotiation.

The systematic asking for 1 euro started to fed me up too. Even the teacher who played with Louna at the pre-school we've visited even ask us for euros! But well, that's part of tourism, right?

Frenchguy and Louna, pretending to listen to the tourist guide. Even listening started to be tiring at the end of the week, lol.

More pictures here. I added more pictures. Be sure to click on Diaporama for better view.

*Citations about Egyptian temples from Wikipedia.


G. said...

thanks for sharing your egypt trip. it's on my list of places to see - hopefully soon!

Mitch said...

Ayy bongga! I've always wanted to see the pyramid naman...

Mukhang enjoy si Louna? Malamig pa din ba dun?

ScroochChronicles said...

Beautiful pictures!! Napa-check tuloy ako sa expedia for flights to Egypt...hahaha :)

Analyse said...

Hi G, you're welcome. It's a must-see. thanks for visiting my blog ;).

Mitch, the pyramid will be for next time hehe, layo e.. it was the end of winter na pero lamig pa din, sobrang lakas ng hangin palagi e.

Cookie, haha, consider that place, it's really really nice and it's worth your money.

Maya said...

Wow, you could be a great tour guide Ana. I was showing to Papa your photos then he told me, "Now, You've seen Egypt through Ana's eyes. So, we could erase it to your list."
"Bastos no!!!"
You actually make me want more to see it.

maya said...

As i've told you on the phone, you photos are spectacular!!!

Analyse said...

Maya, lol, naisahan ka na naman ni papa.

Rhada said...

hi ana! may katanungan ako sa iyo, (katanungan daw oh!)...gaano kayo katagal sa karagatan during the cruise? how was it? Balak kasi ng pamilyang mag-Bahamas cruise this summer....gusto kong sumama, kaso eh medyo reluctant ako dahil natatakot ako sa karagatan....your input will surely help.

btw, nice pictures!!! ;-)

feng said...

whoa, what a grand vaca it was! Egypt pa talaga, of all places! :) you and Louna must have felt like Cleopatras in the Cruise ship!

Analyse said...

Rhada, isang linggo po kami sa cruise, pero hindi po sa karagatan kundi sa river.. so mas tahimik at kalmado.. pero malalaki naman po ang mga ship na gamit nila, hanggang 3rd floor karamihan so kahit medyo mahangin nung mga panahon na yun, as in di ko po talaga naramdaman na we were cruising pala... yung mga cruise sa karagatan naman, ang pagkakaalam ko e hindi sila masyadong lumalayo sa lupa so hindi masyadong peligroso.. whew, hirap nyan ha, clear ba sagot ko? if you need more info, email me ma-dear.

Feng, ano fa nga va hahaha... nag-miracle pa nga si cleopatra kay louna e, aba e she totally said goodbye to diapers, kahit sa gabi! so we went home with the same number of diapers!

Anonymous said...

See Here

+ Liz + said...

All i can say is... "WOW!!!"

lovelyn said...

Me too, "WOW"! Nice place and well done shots!

Louna wants to end her diapers at Egypt so it would be more memorable hahaha....

mitsuru said...

Very nice photos, I thought I saw Cleopatra in one of the pics. :)

Did you visit the Cairo museum? Nakita n'yo yung mga mummies ng pharaohs?

Here’s some trivia-

The mummy of Ramesses I, the founder of Egypt’s most famous bloodline was stolen and lost for years. In the 1980s a German Egyptologist visited the Niagara Falls Museum and saw a mummy (which was there since the 1860s) in the so-called freaks of nature section that he thought was a member of royalty-- the mummy’s arms were crossed over his chest. But it was only in 1999 when the museum closed and the Egyptian artifacts were sold and bought by another museum that the riddle was finally solved.

The mummy underwent under the eyes of Egyptologists and test were conducted and they eventually ruled that it was the missing mummy of Ramesses I after comparing them to X-rays of his son Seti I & his grandson Ramesses II.

The Carlos Museum in Atlanta who bought the mummy for $2M eventually returned the mummy to Egypt in 2004 for free because they say, the pharaoh deserve to be in the land where he once ruled and belonged. Hence, after 130 years, Ramesses I was finally home.

Analyse said...

Liz, ;).

Lovelyn, to be memorable, it was memorable!

Mitsuru, opppps, that was me nyehehehe.

Nope, we didn't visit Cairo nor the pyramids, the geographical location is quite the opposite so we reserve that on the next travel.. I think it's good to match that with a dive at the Red Sea.

There's a lot of tales, trivias and what-have-yous that the guide told us during the visit.. even the hair of Rameses II sold in ebay.. and all the tales about the curse of the pharaohs..

Egyptian mummies and obelisks are quite everywhere in the world.. there's even an obelisk in place de la concorde in paris.. and a lot of sphinx and mummies in the musee du louvre..

you have to visit Egypt, I'm sure, you will love the place, egyptology and all that goes with it.

Linnor said...

Lovely photos! You all look like you had a grand time.

Louna weaned herself from her diapers? Yay!

Analyse said...

hehe, yes! galing tumayming ng anak ko no hahaha

geri said...

I adore the father and daughter shot. So precious.

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Ana. Thank you for sharing all these beautiful photos. You've captured the beauty of Egypt so well.

It's great that you all enjoyed the cruise.

Buti pa si Louna, jetsetter na at her age. :)

Amor said...

Ang ganda ng mga pics nyo sa Egypt Ana!hay,sana makapunta din kami dyan,hindi ba masyado delikado?

Ang laki na ni Louna,buti pa sya nakakapagsalita na,si Alex hindi pa masyado.

Have a nice day!

haze said...

Hi Ana now I found the time to read and enjoy this post! I would love to visit Egypt too but of course we need to plan everything especially the budget! Hoping that it's not that expensive if it is it's worth a try anyway!

Thanks for sharing Ana and I like the pictures of Laurent and Louna getting bored LOL !!!

Josh of Arabia said...

an, i envy u for being there..tho, got lot of the mall i worked w/..egyptians...they are that lucky in this country :)

auee said...

I want to see Egypt, too :-) Kelan kaya??
The closest I got to Egypt is with the Tutankhamun exhibit which opened last year. I took Kelvin and he still remembers the Boy King. Every time he sees a poster, he shouts "tutanhamun!"
At first though he was disappointed he didn't see any mummies. hehe