Falafel sandwich and ice cream in hand, I join the group back on the bus for a 2-hour drive into Luxor. We pull up at the Lotus Hotel, where we will stay for 1 night.
My room is pretty basic as usual, but the view of the Nile and hotel below from my balcony is pretty cool.
Since we didn’t get to have one this morning, a shower is absolutely necessary and there’s time to freshen up before heading out for the night.
As the sun is going down, we head over to Luxor Temple.
Of course, it can be visited during the daytime, but it actually is more spectacular at night. The temple is located on the east bank of the Nile River and is unique because it’s not dedicated to any gods. Instead, it is for the rejuvenation of kingship, where pharaohs were crowned. It is constructed out of Nubian sandstone and dates back to 1400 BCE
The façade of the first pylon (the entrance) is very stunning – 6 statues of Rameses II and the entryway is between 2 large obelisks.
But sadly, only one of them remains here in Luxor – the other is on display in Paris. The first area is the courtyard of Ramses II, with more statues of him. Some intact, some missing body parts as usual.
Then through the colonnade where the columns loom so tall above all that walk below them.
This leads to another courtyard, this one of Amenhotep III.
And finally, at the back, more halls and sanctuary. It’s thought that the oldest parts of the temple are back here; the temple was built forward to add more kings.
Ramez takes us around for a bit and then we have time to explore on our own. I wander around to take pics, and I get Ryan to take this one of me.
And then when I check my pics later, I also have this one! Of course I need a selfie of Ryan in my collection. Haha
Like many other temples in Egypt, this one was converted to a Christian church and a mosque was built – it is still in the temple grounds to this day.
When exiting the main temple, I walk over to an old avenue that has now been blocked off. It leads to Karnak Temple (which we will visit tomorrow), and is lined with human headed sphinxes.
There were shrines set up along the way for feasts and processions back in the day. Before we go to dinner, we make a stop at a papyrus shop where you can purchase authentic papyrus art. They show us how it’s made, and then I have to make a difficult decision of which ones to buy! They are all so beautiful.
Apparently if you buy these from the markets, you may be buying fake papyrus so at least I know this is legit and it’s not that expensive anyway so that’s perfect. By this time, we are all getting very hungry and thirsty so the last stop of the evening is Murphy’s Irish Bar. Another night of authentic Egyptian cuisine – pizza! Haha. And a big old Sakara Gold beer.
It’s fun to hang out with the group, and Ramez brings his cartouche buddy to the restaurant. A cartouche is a silver trinket that displays your name or whatever word you wish in hieroglyphics.
I feel like it’s one of those must have souvenirs, so I get one of course! And again, another pretty early night because there is another early start tomorrow morning….