Convince the police to be able to cycle alone this distance up to Luxor, it was so tiring as the cycling itself. And although I could make it, the resolution adopted from 1997 complicated partly my journey around Egypt.
Aswan was left after several days, but at once I had to return. After 15 km biked in north address, the police stopped me and they took me to the city, although anything bad had been made.
Then they explained to me that from the massacre of Luxor in 1997, tourists are forbidden to travel by their own means or without police custody for certain areas of the country. The massacre happened in November of that year when six Islamic guerillas fighters disguised of policemen contained to almost a hundred tourists that got off their coaches to visit the temple of Luxor, and they riddled them to shots.
For this reason, to convince to the police to be able to cycle alone this distance up to Luxor, it was so tiring as the cycling itself. And although I could make it, the resolution adopted from 1997 complicated partly my journey around Egypt.
In my first route night, I arrived to Kom Ombo, a town, not so small, where an important temple exists. I was very tired and I tried to stay quickly in some of their hotels. But I was not able to, and I finished sleeping in the street, exactly on a bench beside a hut of the police. Real, although incredible for us, but the hotels of Kom Ombo, as those of many other places not so outstanding of the country, tourists cannot be put up. The law prohibits them to do this.
Everything was very strange, every time that I went to a hotel inland, gave me the sensation that everything had to do with the differences of race and of religion. We are full, we are full!!, they shouted me making gestures with their hands to make me leave the place. But after several repeated experiences I knew by a receptionist that for a hotel inland, to put up a tourist would be reason of a great problem.
But, the question is that the step for Kom Ombo is thought for the international tourism as a visit of some few hours to stop, then to continue heading for the next points to make night (Luxor to the north or Aswan to the south).
And what about main things that exists from behind of these temples?
I still remembered that man that assisted me in his bar not so near the temple and cooked me what their menu didn’t offer, or that other one that for humbler than he was, he insisted me until I accepted him a tea with a local candy.
Egypt is in this way from 1997, people inland is isolated and they don’t almost have any contact with foreigners. Now I understand that boy who was not more than 10 years old when to the exit of Aswan hit me with a stone in the back.
My road toward Luxor was always skirting the river Nile, between a deep green vegetation and the great desert. I found their people very kind , It was picturesque to see them riding their mules, loaded and to a very slow step.
I crossed dozens of towns, many of them aren’t in the map, and in spite of their simplicity I found them the most beautiful. I also visited Idfu and Isna, two cities with important temples that are also part of the tourist circuit, although, one can spend the night either. At night I arrives to Isna I requested to the police to accompany to one of their hotels and request a room for me.
And it was good idea. Those of the hotel treated me very well and finally I could sleep in a bed.
Luxor – Km 28,940
Luxor the same as Aswan, is one of the compulsory stops for the cruises that travel the river Nile and also for those that go by land. The city lies in the east riverbank of the Nile and it is to 600 south km of the Cairo.
Tebas, was its original name and for the priests of the place it was the place of creation. In the New Kingdom (1539 – 1075 a.D) it was the capital of Egypt; much later it was renamed as Al-Oqsor, or Luxor that means the city of the palaces. Downtown it is The Temple of Luxor, built mainly for Amenofis III and Ramses II; and dedicated to the unique God: Amon Ra.
The God Amon was a secondary God, a deity of Tebas and was associated to the air, but starting from the New Kingdom, he associates with the solar divinity Ra, and it passed to be called himself Amon-Ra, being the main God of the Egyptian world. According to the idea of the Teogamia, this God was reincarnated in each one of the Pharaohs, in the moment of being engendered, legitimating in this way, succession.
Three kilometers from the Temple of Luxor, it is the Temple of Karnak, well-known as Iput-Isut, the most imposing place. Its construction was carried out by Pharaohs of several dynasties along more than 13 centuries and it was also dedicated to the God Amon Ra.
Continuing with my tourist journey went in a felucca to the other side of the Nile, but before I had to fight with their salespersons, the great majority of invasive nature commercially. This is Luxor way and its people; it doesn’t care what kind of visitors walk for their avenues or in their back streets, stopping to snoop causes the insatiable pursuit of who looks for selling a papyrus, a craft or go in a carriage.
Necropolis of Tebas
In the side west of the Nile, in the steep Deir The Bahri, it is found the Queen’s Temple Hatchepsut, the only woman that ruled Egypt like Pharaohs, after the King’s death Tutmosis II. This side of the river, was reserved for the deads, here they buried the high leaders, priests and official military in remote places, while the Queens were located in a valley, “Biban The Harim” that means the Valley of the Queens. There, the most famous tomb is Nefertari, wife of Ramsés II, but they have also been found more than 80 tombs, among them those of several princesses of the XVIII, XIX and XX dynasties; and the small children of some of them, as well as four children of Ramsés III.
To 1,5 km, in the foot of the mountain of Gourna it is the Reyes’ Valley, where there are more than 60 tombs of Pharaohs, among them, Tutankamón, Ramsés III, Amenofis II and Tutmosis III. In accordance with the tradition, each Pharaoh took his wealth and objects of those that he would make use in his trip to the eternity.
But the extraordinary thing in the tombs, are the drawings that exist on the walls and roofs and in the chapels of offerings; their well conserved colors make that these paintings seem intact after 3000 years.
The tourist circuit of the west side of the Nile finishes with the Colossuses of Memnón, two statues of 20 mts of Amenofis III; the only remains of the funeral temple to this Pharaoh, also of the XVIII dynasty.
Finally in the evening, I checked my bills with Ahmed, a diligent taxi driver, I paid him and I returned to my hotel. It was tired. Clearly, I had faced Bedouin with machine guns, to civil policemen and those not civil; all but in different scales they were responsible of watching over the area. It was annoying, because to each one that I came closer, they insisted me on photographing what seemed attractive to them, afterwards, they asked for some pounds.
Trains that go and come to approach the monuments, hundreds of tourists that invade to each one of them and endless tickets to pay hide the true charm of this place full of history.
It is a pity that this it is the only way of knowing Egypt, it would seem that the interior of the country and their people don’t exist, but the resolution adopted from 1997 forces us to agree with this.