A Travellerspoint blog

Day 225 – The Valley of the Kings

4th May 2012

sunny 38 °C

From Rezeiky Camp we wanted to head west. Our first stop was the Valley of The Kings, the final resting place of over fifty well heeled, or sandaled, individuals, many of whom were kings including a series of Rameses’ and the legendary Tutankhamun. The valley itself was a parched rut in a baked land, of moderate beauty in itself, the tombs it holds are exquisite. On the cusp of the Twentieth century it was the place in which tombs filled with riches and treasure were being uncovered. Tutankamun wasn’t discovered until 1922 but the archaeological digging continues to this day. The tombs are essentially long tunnels dug into the rock, leading to a series of chambers; for worship, for treasure and the final resting place. Their walls and ceilings were elaborately adorned with carvings and writing warding off looters and ensuring safe passage of the king into the afterlife. The vivid colours that decorate the walls were sometimes as vivid in the twentieth century as they were four thousand years ago. In their vivid descriptions they have, in a way, stood true and brought their residents back to life, at least in the eyes of the visitors. The valley and its white sand with the sun high over head created the feeling of being an ant under a child’s magnifying glass. The bright light was reflecting from the ground and even with sunglasses, our eyes watered incessantly. Touts in their hundreds hounded us offering us object after object for ridiculously low amounts of ‘pounds’ only to reveal after a series of rejections that they were talking British pounds not Egyptian. It didn’t really matter, who in their right mind wants a mini Tutankhamun in their home?

We climbed to the top to see the valley from above and then decided it was time to be on our way. Our destination was Cairo but our route was to travel a 1400 kilometre round trip via the oases of the Western Desert. Out on the road we passed our first police post we had been a little worried that we’d be turned back but, thankfully we were given the green light. Forty kilometres later however we met a substantial stumbling block; another police stop who would not allow us past. They insisted that there were bandits in the desert and that instead of the two hundred kilometres ahead of us, we would have to travel five hundred to get to the same town on a huge detour. It was ridiculous especially since Egyptian vehicles were being allowed through in both directions. After half an hour of polite requests, pleading, anger and frustration we’d convinced the big boss to phone a bigger boss, who, he motioned, had substantial epaulettes, and that the big big boss had said no. We had no choice; we turned tail and set our sights on Cairo. We’d bush camp in the desert at dark and reach Cairo the following day.

Dejected, the four of us turned the two vehicles around and after a few hours of eating up the road we pulled off the tar and onto the powdery dust of the desert finding a sheltered spot littered with amethysts. We ate dinner and drank beer, wine and ouzo again.

Posted by ibeamish 09:49 Archived in Egypt

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