We woke up early today to meet our guide at 8:30. Breakfast at the hotel is everyone’s favorite. Today was a lot better since we were earlier and beat the crowds. Our guide had a full day planned for us.
He took us to the Nile, so we could save the drive over to the West Bank.
We went to Medinet Habu for our first temple. It was incredible the detail, and how there was very few other people there.
From here we went to Ramesseum. It’s known for the giant statue of Ramesses II, that is now fallen and in three pieces.
After Ramesses we went to the Valley of the Nobles. Like the name hints at this is where the tomb of the noble and rich people were buried. This place was incredible because we again had it to ourselves! You had a security guy come and unlock the tombs you paid to enter. We saw two tombs with our original tickets and decided we would come back and see more if they were worth while.
From the Valley of the Nobles we went to the Valley of the Queens and specifically Nefertari’s tomb. Her tomb is believed to be the most well preserved for the colors. It’s also $100 each person to enter! So we decided that Ty and I would appreciate it the most, and the kids enjoyed listening to some audiobook on a bench in the shade with our guide.
Then it was time for Nefertari’s tomb!
We have so many more photos from this tomb and an entire video as well, but I don’t want to overload. Needless to say Ty and I were so thankful we chose to spend the money on this tomb. We didn’t want any regrets that we missed out. It was just one of a kind!
After leaving the Valley of the Queens we went to lunch. A new place overlooking where they were drying tomato’s.
Lunch was so good. It was a spread of vegetables prepared several different ways. Stewed tomatoes and potatoes. Cream of chicken or lentil soup. Fresh pita with tahini sauce. The kids and I ordered roasted chicken which came with rice, while Ty got beef in a tomato sauce.
Beneath the restaurant was a papyrus shop. Since they were off the beaten path, their prices were much cheaper and Ty went a little crazy.
After lunch and shopping, we had an open schedule so we decided to go back to the Valley of the Nobles to see the two remaining tombs that were available.
From the Valley of the Nobles we went to see the Deir el Medina. These are the tombs of the workers. The first tomb we entered was some sort of head boss worker, so I’m not sure how typical these tombs really were. If this is representative of the average Egyptian 4,000 years ago or if this was still quite an elevated status. These descended in a steep and narrow manner. They were still quite beautiful, with lots of colors. But they were painted on instead of the designs being carved.
Outside of the workers tombs was a temple. When we asked our guide if we could see more he just offhand mentioned this temple so we walked the grounds to get to it. A guard came with us just to unlock the gate for us. It seemed again like something not worth seeing since no one had mentioned it and it was all locked up. But again, it was beautiful! I wonder since they have so many of the ancient sites if they get a bit jaded or forget how special these all are? We kept saying it was probably like us from Alaska, how glaciers, moose, and bears are no big deal.
After our experience today, we can’t recommend enough asking to see the lesser sites, things off the main tourist track. Today was the most incredible day, and it felt so special because we were either the only tourists or one of just a handful at each site. This was what we were hoping for when we were planning this trip!
After leaving Deir el Medina it was still early afternoon so we decided to check out a local bazar for some shopping. We got there about 3:45 and our driver said he would pick us up at 4:30. So we dragged the kids with us. As soon as we started down the shopping street we knew we had made a mistake. We were the only tourists and this street was lined elbow to elbow with desperate shop keepers. It was a constant bombardment from the shop keepers, and then you had to jump out of the way of the occasional motorcycle that was racing through the street. We walked to the end, and turned right around. The shop keepers at the end were extremely aggressive and were telling us we needed to buy our ‘daughter’ L winter clothes. Since of course he was wearing only a t-shirt and shorts. We just held onto the kids hands, and walked with eyes forward. We did venture into a shop or two looking for an Egyptian mask but it was all the same junk.
We were happy to get picked up right on time, and get out of there. The guide and driver didn’t seem surprised at how we described it.
Back to the hotel, we all relaxed for a bit. L found a pingpong table so he’s begging anyone to play him. More blogging for me. Then we had dinner out by the pool again, with our friend the cat, Boots. After dinner we snuggled everyone into bed by 8pm since we’re getting up super early for our hot air balloon ride!