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Luxor, Egypt
(15/4/95 - 29/4/95)

We decided on Luxor as our honeymoon destination after discussing China (rainy season), Sri Lanka (also rainy season), Thailand (guess what, rainy season) we decided upon Egypt (damn, very hot season). We spent three nights in the Winter Palace hotel in Luxor, seven nights cruising the Nile from Luxor to Aswan and back again, and the final four nights back in the Winter Palace.

Our first morning in Luxor. We decided to cross the road in front of the hotel, the Corniche, and look across the famous Nile. Not an easy task when there are taxi drivers, felucca owners and pony & trap owners all trying to get you to travel in their vehicles. We gave up after a massive 2-3 minutes - the pressure you get from these guys is huge and unyielding. corniche_sahara.jpg (89997 bytes)
luxor_museum.jpg (88806 bytes) This is the outside of the Luxor museum, it obviously focuses on artifacts that have been found in the Valley of the Kings. It was very interesting, although we were not allowed to take any pictures. We attempted to walk the mile to here from our hotel, but after numerous offers of taxi/ felucca, horse & cart rides we decided to accept one - purely for peace & quiet. Before you know it, they are taking you to a jewelers, an alabaster masons, a papyrus gallery, etc.

A nice of the bit of the hotel bar you have to go to if your not properly dressed - really slumming it, eh! This is one huge room full of all kinds of Egyptian artifacts.

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Another view of the bar - still drinking beer. Never trust a country that brews beer and wine - but due to religion they can't taste it, and you can tell.

The Winter Palace hotel is so called because it was built by King Farouk as some where he could spend the winter months while away from Cairo. This is his staterooms.

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This is the bit of the hotel bar you can go into when dressed properly. It is probably the best looking bar I have ever been into, and the service wasn't so bad either.

When we went onto the cruise ship, we went on a tour every morning. The first morning we went to the temple of Karnak. You've read the guide books and seen the TV programmes, but nothing will prepare you for just how impressed you will be.

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This is the Hypostyle Hall in Karnak. The wee guy over my right shoulder shows exactly what happened when you tried to take photos - people would appear and stand behind you or next to you whenever the camera came out

A nice view through, what is left of, the roof of the Hypostyle hall. Our guide, Usammah, had a little gift of pointing out every perfect photo opportunity - just like this one.

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One of the obelisks that can be found within the temple of Karnak. The tops of these used to be coated in electrum, an amalgam of silver and gold, so that the sunrise would strike this and announce the arrival of another day to the workers.

Another recommended photo. You can see on the columns in the background the symbols of lower and upper Egypt, the papyrus (left) and the lotus blossom (not left, er,... right)

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This is one of the only sets of hieroglyphics that have their original colours still intact. The sun destroys all the colours - and I'm sure that the billions of tourists make some kind of difference.

Inside the temple of Luxor, this is one of the Kings that built the temple. Bottom left is classic wee Egyptian guy that hangs about whenever you try to take a picture. luxor_temple.jpg (86174 bytes)
collosus_memnon.jpg (38136 bytes) The Colossus of Memnon at about 7am, badly abused by thousands of years of tourists and some religious zealots.
The entrance to the Valley of the Kings, the five people in front are people that are in the same party as us. An American who sells are for the US government, a numerologist, a composer, and two psychics!! entrance_valley.jpg (28463 bytes)
tut-ankh-amon.jpg (41135 bytes) The entry to the least impressive and most famous temple within the Valley of the Kings - King Tutankhamon. You have to pay more to go in, so we didn't - the guide said it wasn't worth it.
The entrance to the tomb of Ramses IX - probably the most impressive tomb in the entire valley. When the pharaoh grows old, the workers get plenty time to spend on his decorations, because as soon as he takes control they start building it. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside the tombs as the flash burns out the quality of the paint work. ramses_ix.jpg (32332 bytes)
rock_face.jpg (22183 bytes) A bit of stunning rock work that surrounds the valley - I just thought that it looked good...
The tomb of Tuthmosis IV, way up at the back of the valley. On the left is a weird Scots woman who was on honeymoon with a pathetic Scotsman, poor sod. tuthmosis_iv.jpg (28708 bytes)
rock_face2.jpg (31140 bytes) Another unusual bit of the surrounds of the Valley of the Kings - you could shoot some unusual science fiction film footage around here.
The entrance to the latest tomb in the valley, KV5. The problem in the valley is that when the robbers were breaking their way into one tomb, they dumped the rubbish on top of other tombs - hiding them, this is what happened with Tutankhamon. kv5.jpg (63846 bytes)
hatshepsut.jpg (45446 bytes) The temple of Queen Hatshepsut. This is where the European tourists were killed recently -  and the main reason why very few people now get to see the wonders we did.
A pleasant view from the top of the boat back down the Nile towards the Valley of the Kings & Luxor. back_to_luxor.jpg (22650 bytes)
nile_view.jpg (50802 bytes) A view of one of the many little villages along the banks of the Nile. Any time the boat past, lots of kids would appear at the rivers edge and shout and wave.
Here you can see a frieze that depicts the king defeating all of the enemies of Egypt. The faces, hands and feet of these types of friezes have always been destroyed by the Christians in the past - due to the belief that any parts of the king that existed in a picture, they would have in the nether world - this is why they are always drawn as such. fresco.jpg (33885 bytes)
temple.jpg (26335 bytes) There are so many classic temples and such along the river that impressive buildings like this go completely unmentioned - I thought it looked interesting in such a barren landscape.
Horus, the falcon headed god - god of the sky and of light and goodness horus_edfu.jpg (34210 bytes)
edfu_fresco.jpg (32305 bytes) Ellie and Horus - now you really get to see how big these things are. Ellie has her usual scarf around her head to protect her skin from the sun and the hot wind - it knocks seven buckets of .... out of you if you don't.
Sobek, the crocodile headed god. He was a god and he had the head of a crocodile - the picture says it all really. crocodile_god.jpg (27626 bytes)
aga_khan_mausoleum.jpg (26628 bytes) On the hillside you can see the final resting place of the Aga Khan. His widow gets to visit his graveside every year and look at where she is going to be buried - all this just to continue getting access to his billions. This is just outside Aswan.
In the Nubian village doing no good to my health. On the left is our guide, Usammah. nubian_village.jpg (27669 bytes)
aswan_temple.jpg (30644 bytes) Probably the best photo I have ever taken - but I think it was actually taken by Ellie, but it was my idea. Another beautiful temple taken from a Felucca.
Ellie sits down while out sightseeing - this was generally the case as I messed about trying to get that perfect shot. The discolouration on the walls is from when the water level was much higher - before the dam was built aswan_pylons.jpg (22250 bytes)
aswan_pylons2.jpg (29219 bytes) The same pylons as above, taken from a slightly different angle.
An average street market - dying for the tourist pound. The prices here are greatly inflated but still seem hugely underpriced. This situation is humbling. street_market.jpg (40527 bytes)
balloon_trip.jpg (33236 bytes) It's your honeymoon and you got to do something a bit different - how's about a balloon trip over the eastern Sahara to watch the sunrise over the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and the Nile valley. One of life's defining moments.
What can I say, apart from we had loads of film but the camera battery ran out at the silver service meal in the desert and the certificates vanished on getting home. balloon_trip2.jpg (23336 bytes)
eastern_sahara.jpg (16893 bytes) We had a huge thunderstorm the previous evening - the first rain in over a year. You can see the mist as the sun starts to dry the surrounding countryside. This is obviously not our balloon, it being a bit tricky to take a picture of the one you are in at the time.
This is the best quality domestic beer that is served in the fanciest hotel in all of Luxor - you ca tell that they really loving the whole beer making/ selling thing can't you. egyptian_beer.jpg (31821 bytes)
David, Ellie & Gordon McWilliams
Revised: January 24, 2001
email us @ davidmcw@bigfoot.com