Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A pyramid or a mountain? (Day 8)


As I have already mentioned in my previous post, all those temples were slowly beginning to bore us. I knew that later on I would be sorry for leaving out any one of them. It would be ideal if we could get to taste as much of genuine Egypt and at the same time see all the spectacular old buildings. In reality it is quite hard to squeeze all that into two weeks.



We started Day 8 with a tour of the Valley of the kings. It is situated under this pyramid-like hill. Historians suggest that when the old kingdoms didn't do all that well anymore, their pharaohs couldn't afford huge man made final resting places like the pyramids.


This place with a natural pyramid was obviously just a perfect substitution. Many pharaohs chose this valley as their final resting place.


We visited some of the more interesting underground burial chambers in the valley and moved on. We went to the Valley of the queens on foot. When we told Osama (our Egyptian guide) of our intentions, he was just shaking his head in disbelief and announced:

Nori Slovenci! Matjaz and his group of nori Slovenci!

That literally means "crazy Slovenians". In Slovene obviously.
Supposedly not many visitors choose to walk up that hill in midday heat. Strange isn't it?


We just had to laugh at his jokes - he knew a few words of Slovenian and used them repetitively in English sentences. He also understood quite a lot of Slovenian. You don't see that too often even when traveling around Europe.


So we went to the top of the hill where we could enjoy a beautiful view of the Valley of the kings on one side and the Valley of the queens on the other. From there we descended to the other side of the hill to the Temple of queen Hatchepsut in the Valley of the queens.


We had a gorgeous view of the Queen Hot-chicken-soup Temple (as our local guide Osama renamed the Queen Hatchepsut temple). On the way down we went by a couple more recent tombs. They were supposedly used by people living nearby.
Osama, as a true Egyptian didn't accompany us but instead took an air-conditioned bus to the temple.


The temple is very well preserved. There is still original paint on some of the walls and statues. It was scorching hot, so we didn't hang around for too long.



When we got on our bus we thanked God (Allah in this case) for the air-conditioning. The bus took us to the town of Hurghada (Al-Ghardaqah).


It stretches for many kilometers along the sea. Once a Russian airbase stood there, but now the only types of buildings are hotels, look-alike shops and ugly residential buildings for the hotel and shop personnel. In my opinion Hurghada has no soul whatsoever.


We ran into many groups of Russian tourists. We were told that many of the shops were owned by Russians. In some of them even fur caps and coats were on display.
I guess I don't need to stress the temperature outside was around 45 degrees Celsius at that time.


With my girlfriend M. we both agreed that this was the most unpleasant place on our trip and would not want to see it again. That is quite unfortunate, because beside Sharm el Sheikh it is the destination most frequently offered in Slovenian travel catalogs.

2 comments:

ka-ma 27 October 2007 at 14:41  

Hurghada is no beauty, but you seem to forget why people go there: The Red Sea! Did you try diving or at least snorkeling there? It is simply magnificent! Not to mention the closest to Europe(and therefore cheapest to visit) coral reef. When you have that, who cares about city having soul or not, Russian or whatever shops, dirty streets or not. Just take a boat and go out there. You won't be sorry!

Marko 28 October 2007 at 22:57  

@ka-ma:
Yes I know that, but it seemed like the coral reef isn't so close by the shore. I am sure that one could arrange a boat ride, but we didn't. We only had time for one short swim at dusk. The sandy beach wasn't all that special.

However, we went snorkeling at Blue hole (Dahab) and I also tried diving at some other place in Dahab. You are right about it - we weren't sorry. It was like falling into a fish tank. A huge one!

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