Thursday, December 31, 2009

Egypt Day 1 Temple of Mut

Just got news that it’s snowing in England, but it’s heading towards 25 degrees here in the Jolie Ville in Luxor. After breakfast on the Nile terrace in the warm sunshine, we played two sets of tennis then lounged by the pool for lunch. The boys pulled me into the pool (as they do).

Temple of Mut

Then some of us (Jackie and Jaqui) take the boat up river, while the rest took a taxi into town. The two Jackies decided to explore the Temple of Luxor while we headed off by foot to the Temple of Mut, which lies between the Luxor Temple and Karnac. We had tried to get access last time we were here but the archaeologists insisted that there was no public access allowed. This time we thought we’d try a visit after they had gone home for the evening. We walked past the three churches (Catholic, Evangelical and Coptic) alongside the newly excavated avenue of the sphinxes to the right had turn and to the gate at dusk. We timed this, as it’s being excavated and is therefore closed to the public. Our guess was right, the policeman and two watchmen let us in through the huge locked gates for some backsheesh.

It was a superb sight; first a courtyard lined with black basalt statues of Sekmet. There must have been over sixty all looking inwards into the rectangular courtyard. Then through a gate with two relief carvings of Bes and to the real prize, the large10 foot statue of Sekmet holding an Ank in her left hand. This was in the Temple itself, then off to the right to see the sacred lake, which surrounds the site on three sides. It was a magical sight, being completely alone in the semi-dark with bats and birds feeding off insects on the surface of the lake. We were hurried out, as the boss was coming.

Eating out on West Bank

We walked back, through the backstreets to meet our companions at the local ferry gate and headed off on one of the three new ferries, to the West Bank and Tutankamun’s Restaurant. Once again we feasted on real Egyptian food – spicy Courgette soup with Egyptian bread, spiced spinach, spicy green beans, meatballs, chicken and banana curry, cauliflour, rice, mint tea and fruit, all for £5 per head. Our table was on a balcony overlooking the Nile and while we were waiting a red lantern flew over our heads towards the East bank.

Crazy Taxi

We bought some water (25p per litre) and took the ferry back, hailed an old Peugot taxi that takes seven, and headed back with a lively driver who had a MP3 palyer stuck into the cigar lighter, with a remote control! The fumes were unbearable but he honked his horn all the way back, where we sat on the edge of the Nile in the darkness for a final chat.