Walk Like An Egyptian: My Journey (Part 2)

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After visiting the great Karnak and Luxor Temples, we made our way back to the river cruise in time to eat. Dinner was served promptly at 7 pm – buffet style. As everyone flowed into the dining room, the space quickly became packed. Lines formed as people made their way to the buffet, and all around me conversations transpired – groups of people excitedly discussed their experience on the first tour, certain that tomorrow would be just as fun. After all, we were going to see the Valley of the Kings.

Before leaving for our trip to Egypt, I researched the sights we would get to see and I have to be honest; the Valley of the Kings seemed creepy to me. Numerous tombs dedicated to past pharaohs? Not my cup of tea. Scenes from the movie, The Mummy, came to mind and I wasn’t thrilled.

Regardless, bright and early the next morning, we woke up and saw that the cruise had already docked on the opposite side of the river at West Bank. Tour guides were ready and waiting for everyone to meet them in the common room. Once everyone was present, we all got into buses and drove to the Valley of the Kings. We were told that we could see King Tut’s tomb as well as other well-known pharaohs. The area was very remote and after creating some distance between the river, and us, there was a point where there were no longer trees. We were in the desert.

Once we arrived, we stepped off the bus and looked around. We were standing at the bottom of the valley. What a sight to see – 63 tombs built in the canyon’s walls. The entrances were very small and narrow, and they led into long winding corridors into the burial chamber. The walls had been reinforced with plastic lining, so that no oils from our hands would ruin the ancient paintings. They were all so well kept, even after all these years. Due to no sun exposure at all, these paintings remain pristine – as if they were just painted yesterday. The colors were a hundred times more vivid than those we saw at the temples the first day.

Every tomb was unique. The paintings told the history of each of the King’s reigns, ultimately ending with their deaths. Their burial chambers housed not only their sarcophaguses, or coffins, but also the items that their families believed they would want on their journey to the afterlife.

After spending the day out in the scorching sun, we drove to a nearby marketplace. Vendors lined the streets and sold almost anything you could hope to bring back from your travels. After some retail therapy, Egyptian-style, we returned to the boat for lunch. While we ate, the boat left the dock and sailed to our next destination – Edfu.

Even after dinner, we continued to cruise down the Nile, and took in all the beautiful views of the water and coastal greenery. It surprised me to think that just passed the green, the dry, barren desert existed…far past the limit the eye can see.

Finally, by morning, we arrived in Edfu, and planned to visit the Temple of Horus, the sun god. This temple is far better preserved than the last two we had seen in Luxor. The gates are almost completely intact, showing the scale in which the Egyptians built their monuments.

Upon walking into the temple, we immediately saw a statue of Horus. Like the other temples, the paintings that used to grace the walls are now just a memory. The carvings that remain, however, allow us to imagine what it must’ve been like to stand there thousands of years ago. For a moment, I stand there and take in all the history around me. Exploring Egypt was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience – so much so that I had to mentally prepare myself to fly back to New York.