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Location - Middle East/North Africa; Capital - Cairo; Population - 99 million; Currency - Egypt Pound MORE EGYPT

I booked a great value for money package to Egypt, covering a week of all-inclusive winter sun in Hurghada sandwiched around a 7 day Nile cruise. An easyjet flight to Hurghada was followed 36hrs later by a transfer to the boat at Luxor - January 2020.


egyptnote110 Egyptian pounds













egypt204Our boat was 10km south of the centre, a disadvantage for wandering through town but the plus was a calmer, more rural feel - Luxor


egypt200Several locals were out fishing on the Nile - Luxor





egypt196Boat is also the quickest way to cross the river, as the nearest connecting bridge is a 25km return trip to Luxor
















egypt208A gorgeous sunset over the Nile, next to our MS Emilio cruise ship - Luxor

















egypt210Wonderful colours on the Nile - Luxor


egypt221Disembarking the MS Emilio for a tour of Luxor. Most cruise ships consist of four floors: the lower is the communal restaurant, ground is reception and bar, first and second are living quarters, with an upper sun-deck and pool - Luxor




egypt235The entrance to Karnak, originally built around 2,000-1,700BC but destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries. The main structure of Karnak is the Temple of Amun-Ra - Luxor

















egypt238aFirst up is a walk past the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes - Luxor

















egypt238bNot sure what the statues standing beneath the sphinxes signify - Luxor


egypt249Heading into the Great Hypostyle Hall from the Great Court - Luxor




egypt256From the Great Court turn right to the Temple of Ramses III - Luxor


















egypt267Hieroglyphics adorn pillars of the Great Hypostyle Hall - Luxor


















egypt268Cartouches are inscriptions within an oval, indicating the text contained in it is a royal name. Do I know what these two say? No! I've forgotten.. - Luxor


egypt284The hieroglyphic in the centre is called ankh, or the key of life, representing the symbol of life - Luxor





egypt275The pillar on the left is the 30m tall Obelisk of Hatshepsut - Luxor





















egypt278The Sacred Lake lies within the grounds of the Temple of Amun-Ra, Karnak - Luxor


















egypt330Luxor Temple looks very atmospheric when lit up at night. By the way there used to be 2 obelisks at the entrance but the other is in the Place de la Concorde in Paris - Luxor


egypt294Luxor Temple dates back to the reigns of Amenhotep III, Ramses II as well as Tutankhamun between the 13th-14th centuries BC - Luxor




egypt305After the Great Court of Ramses II is the entrance to the Colonnade of Amenhotep III - Luxor


















egypt310One of the few statues of boy-king Tutankhamun, left, with his wife Ankhesenamun - Luxor


















egypt321egypt317During the Roman era, Romans recreated hieroglyphics to garner local support, though sometimes with varying results - on the left see the man (Alexander the Great?) with an extra hand, thought to be a result of running out of space. On the right are Roman frescos painted over the original hieroglyphs - Luxor


egypt308These hieroglyphics detail prisoners or slaves linked at the neck - Luxor





egypt313The 14th century Abu al-Haggag Mosque. The original mosque entrance was where the orange/brown rectangle is, showing how far ground level had risen since Luxor Temple was built - Luxor

















egypt324Next to the temple is an avenue of human-headed sphinxes stretching all the way to Karnak 3km away - Luxor

















egypt340Away from the temple is the hustle and bustle of the town with plenty of cars, taxis, tuk-tuks and horse carriages - Luxor


egypt337A recreation area popular with families lies next to Luxor Temple - Luxor




egypt348The Winter Palace Hotel is steeped in history and to this day is still quite grand - Luxor




















egypt349The Winter Palace Hotel grounds - Luxor


















egypt351The main entrance to the souk, or bazaar/market - Luxor


egypt350There's souvenirs aplenty in the fairly compact souk - Luxor




egypt354Walking along the Nile Corniche which is, of course, riverside - Luxor

















egypt356Head a short walk south along the Nile Corniche and there's a couple of cafe-restaurants overlooking the river - Luxor

















egypt362A felucca, a traditional sailing boat, heads upriver - Luxor


egypt481Back on the boat there's various entertainment, though none finish late, as most days are early starts. At least they are if you're taking one of the many tours, otherwise kick back and relax on board - Luxor




egypt227In the bar a belly dancer put on a (terrible!) show, followed by a whirling dervish spinning in his illuminated dress (pictured). There was a far better dervish display in the first Hurghada hotel I stayed at, who was top quality - Luxor

















egypt480My cabin with a view - excellent! All come with en suite bathroom, TV reception when docked. The MS Emilio was great value-for-money, though there's better boats - the Acamar looked real classy - Luxor

















egypt219aA phantom visitor's in my cabin. Cleaners get very inventive with towels and anything else at their disposal! - Luxor

By the way, if you take an inclusive package with cruise, check whether your cruise is all-inclusive, not just your Red Sea coast hotel, otherwise you have to pay for all drinks on board. It might be a good deal paying in your own country, but upgrading from full-board to all-inclusive when on the boat isn't worth it. Smuggle it on board! As a guide, the boat prices were 1.5l water: LE30, glass of local (decent) wine: LE95, local Stella beer: LE50, fancy cocktail: LE135.


egypt365Hot air balloons have beaten us to an early morning tour of the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank - Luxor




egypt459First up on the West Bank tour were the Colossi of Memnon, two 18m statues of Amenhotep III - Luxor

















egypt368The very new looking Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir-al-Bahri is a memorial to the female pharaoh Hatshepsut - Luxor


















egypt381The temple was converted by Christians to a monastery, when it was given the name Deir al Bahri (Monastery of the North) - Luxor


egypt390Brightly coloured reliefs adorn the walls of the Temple of Hatshepsut - Luxor




egypt457A very bad photo of archaeologist Howard Carter's house, where he lived while searching for Tutankhamun - Luxor

















egypt376Balloon flights over the West Bank start around 05:00-06:00 so wake early! - Luxor


















egypt408The Valley of the Kings is the site of 63 royal burial chambers, this one being that of Ramses IV - Luxor


egypt404Ramses IV was the fifth son of Ramses III and died in 1,147BC - Luxor




egypt405Some of the paintings are so bright and vivid, and they usually tell a story. Don't forget to look up at the ceilings - Luxor

















egypt410Traces of Coptic and Greek graffiti can be found in the tomb of Ramses IV, which amazingly was used as a makeshift hotel centuries ago - Luxor


















egypt420Ramses IX ruled between 1,129 and 1,111BC, the eighth pharaoh of the Twentieth dynasty - Luxor


egypt425Cartouches in the tomb of Ramses IX, as indicated by the hieroglyphics inside an oval with outer line at right angles - Luxor




egypt424Queues in these tombs are long but at least it allows you to walk slowly, taking in the hieroglyphics, paintings and the odd piece of ancient graffiti - Luxor

















egypt455Ramses III's tomb is very impressive, with a pillared burial chamber - Luxor



















egypt448Ramses III (father of Ramses IV, his tomb pictured earlier) ruled from 1,186 to 1,155BC - Luxor


egypt449A three-headed serpent in Ramses III's tomb represents the devil (I think) - Luxor




egypt446Horus (right), often represented as a falcon-headed man, was god of the sky and kingship. The more I learnt about the gods the more confused I became.. - Luxor


















egypt427The entrance to the most famous of the pharaohs (unless you're a Ramses II fan), boy-king Tutankhamun (extra ticket required from main ticket office) - Luxor


egypt429Walking down to the tomb of Tutankhamun, who took the throne when 8 or 9 years old and reigned from approx 1,336 to 1,327BC at the end of the 18th dynasty - Luxor




egypt434His tomb has to be one of the smallest of all the pharaohs, and much has been said of the hastiness of his burial and paintings - Luxor


















egypt439That said, it's amazing (and voyeuristic?) to see his body in the tomb in which he was buried thousands of years before. I'd say put him back in his sarcophagus - Luxor




















egypt435After several years of digging, Howard Carter and his team discovered Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 and made headlines worldwide - Luxor


egypt437There's many dark spots on the decorative work, a possible result of a speedy painting over plaster that was yet to fully dry, causing a fungus which luckily is dead - Luxor



IMG_7962This statue, here exhibited in London during the Tutankhamun treasures tour, is of Tutankhamun himself and was one of a pair likely standing outside his tomb. However, as was often the case, his successor Ay replaced Tut's name with his own. Then the next successor comes along.. - Luxor




















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