Thursday, August 09, 2007

Luxor, Mt. Sinai, and Dahab

From Cairo I took the overnight train down to Luxor, which was freezing cold b/c the air con was too high...was wearing a fleece and shivering all night. Get to Luxor and it's 110 degrees in the shade! Find a hotel and check out Luxor Temple, which was very nice, cool hieroglyphics and pillars. Then make the decision to walk to Karnak Temple...guidebook said it was 500 meters, but it was really about a 4km walk in the blazing heat. Made it there and had a nice time walking around the temple...some nice obelisks and pillars. Took a cab back b/c i wasn't about to do that walk again and just chilled in the air conditioned room for the rest of the afternoon.

Booked a tour the next day to go to Valley of the Kings...about 70 tombs of ancient Pharaohs nestled in a cliff. With the ticket you can only visit three...they are like saunas inside due to the heat, but all incredible well preserved hieroglyphics...really neat to see...and the tombs go so deep into the rock, overall worth the trip down to Luxor. Then the tour took us to some alabaster factory where they "hand make" alabaster it's some kind of lost Egyptian craft...the honeymooners on our tour bought over $80 worth of the stuff, i didn't even look at it, was a little pissed they hurried us through the tombs to take us to some factory so they could get commissions. Went to another temple, can't remember the name, then the statues you can see in the last picture below.

That night we took the bus up to Dahab, a pleasant 20hr bus wasn't too loud and the driver only smoked about once an hour, air con too. Other people were complaining about how miserable it was, but compared to Ethiopia and other bus rides I've been on recently it was nothing.

Got to Dahab and ended up chilling there for 7 days. Really tranquil, a lot of beach side bars you can just lay on pillows and read books all day. Great snorkeling and the one time i was able to dive (caught a sinus infection...couldn't dive) it was great too. One of the nights I took their Mt. Sinai tour, where Moses supposedly received the 10 commandments. We hiked up in the middle of the night and watched the sunrise from the top...can see some pics below. Absolutely beautiful. Not a difficult hike, worst part is dealing with all the camel droppings from all the tourists riding camels up. At the bottom there is a monastery that houses the supposed descendant of the burning was hanging up on a wall, and so many tourists were grabbing at the branches and ripping leaves off for good luck.

After 7 days in Dahab and not being able to dive I had to go...couldn't justify lounging around there another week, even though I wanted to. Cheap food & room, great scenery, good people, had a really relaxing time...definitely a place I'll go back to & would recommend.

St Catherine Monastery
Mt Sinai surrounds
Polish group praying as the sun rises
sunrise from the summit
Statues at Luxor west


Anonymous said...

Easy to find places to stay? Cheap is always good.

August 14, 2007 8:31 AM  

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