Hello 6:30am. Fancy seeing you on holiday. We have to get going as soon as possible before the temperature rises to furnace level (mid to upper 40 deg C)
Karnak hold numerous temples built by various Pharoahs and Queens. Our guide kicked off today’s teaching with a lesson on how to read hieroglyphs. Turns out you can read them left to right, right to left and top to bottom depending which way the faces of the hieroglyphs face. That must have been quite a headache for the original decoders… multi-directional writing and no punctuation. How do you know you’ve come to the end of a word, never mind a sentence?
The most prolific builder seems to have been Ramesses 2nd. Most of his works have survived invasions by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Christians and remained in good order, though not always. There were curious pock marks on some monuments. Turns out the Christians fleeing persecution, were armed with bolster chisels and blooming big hammers! All the other invaders built extensions to the existing architecture. I actually felt I had to apologise for the wanton destruction. The world should be thankful that most of the monuments were deeply buried in sand and soil and therefore escaped defacement.
On to the temple of Luxor…must remember to close mouth – everything is jaw-droppingly wonderful. This is beyond amazing. How did the builders, stonemasons and shipwrights accomplished their work, especially in this heat. I felt like I was walking in a sauna and it was only mid morning! If you get the chance to visit, go see the fertility god, his carving has seen much action throughout the ages. Needless to say I kept my hands to myself. I may be post-menopausal but I’m not taking any chances!
Our tour group tended to walk from shady spot to shady spot, and by lunchtime we were dripping and ready to head back to our ship for lunch.
Great excitement all round as we prepared to set sail for Esna. Everyone, now refreshed by lunch and cool drinks gathered on the top deck to watch the crew make ready to go. I guess the ship has come cool thrusters underneath as we seemed to move out of our berth sideways.
As we headed upstream, leaving Luxor behind, we travelled back through time. The city gave way to farms worked by tractors, which gave way to farms worked by horse, then eventually humans only.
A brief encounter with modern technology came in the form of a lock gate to raise us 6m up in record time. As we were not alone heading upstream we were berthed three deep. Buggrit! There goes the lovely view of the Nile. Oh and note to self, put clothes on before opening the curtains!
Tune in tomorrow for part 3 – Esna, Edfu and floating traders!