Luxor is a tourist town. About a million people. That makes it a town in these parts. We are living on a boat at the moment and cruising south toward Upper Egypt. Lower Egypt is north of here…a geographic anomaly which is counter-intuitive. Hint…the great river flows north.
While in Luxor we saw some, but not close to all, of the great sites. There were two highlights… but the sheer enormity of the pharaonic structures took our breath away. Our first day in we toured the Karnak Temple in the morning and the Luxor Temple in the afternoon however, for Judy and me, the evening Sound and Light Show took the cake. Walking and listening and feeling the immense mystery of these giant tributes to the afterlife in the shadows under a blanket of stars made us understand, finally, in our inadequate twenty first century imaginations, something of what drove the pharoahs to devote their lives to planning their afterlife.
Then came the Valley of the Kings this morning…the tombs of sixty- two ancient kings, including King Tut, the little squirt. We loved the tomb of Ramsis Vl. It is beautifully preserved with a long corridor decorated in exquisite, colourful detail with hundreds of hieroglyphics…the scarab beetles, the tree of life and, horrifyingly, representations of prisoners of war, hands tied behind their backs, headless. Symbols of power, of fertility, of devotion to the afterlife, of protection, and of their families. The fertility devotions worked well for one of them. He had sixty-two daughters and one hundred and two sons. Imagine the succession issues. There is a lot else one can imagine too. I am pretty sure he had more than one wife. And did they all get along? We can only guess. Oh to have been a fly on the wall.