I have just spent two glorious days in the Nile-hugging town of Luxor in Egypt. Readers: I am simply smitten with this chic city. (And you know what a tough customer I am, right?) The raison d’etre for this town, of course, are its two amazing temple complexes: Luxor and Karnak. Frankly, I have never been so blown away in my life: the majesty, the scale, the history.
Luxor sits just beside the Nile and celebrates the gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu. As you wander amid its Avenue of Sphinxes and the towering lotus-topped columns and colossus-like statues of Ramses, you will quickly fall under the site’s spell. Nearby—and once connected to the Luxor temple complex via the 1.2-mile-long Avenue of Sphinxes (you have never seen so many sphinxes in your life!)—the temple of Karnak sprawls and sprawls. Plan to spend several hours wandering from the Colossus of Ramses II to the Great Festival Temple and the Sacred Lake. You will leave the site open-mouthed at the monumentality of it all. When night falls, return to Karnak for the amazing Sound & Light show that really brings the monuments to life.
After monument-hopping, I savored the Corniche, the elegant walkway that stretches along the Nile, and watched the impressive river cruisers and charming felucca sailboats ply the waters. Wiped out from all the temple-spotting, I caught a horse-drawn buggy and jaunted off to the atmospheric Sofitel Winter Palace hotel, where I luxuriated over a gin and tonic in the historic hotel’s verdant gardens (so very Agatha Christie, n’est-ce pas?). Refreshed and replenished, it was time for some haggling in the souk and dinner overlooking the Nile (I cannot think of anything more romantic).
The next day, I jaunted off to the nearby Valley of the Kings and toured the numerous tombs where the pharaohs were interred. First stop, of course, was Tutankhamun’s smallish tomb where the king’s sarcophagus and mummy still reside (his amazing cache of treasures has been moved to the Egyptian Museum. Climb the stairs to see the digs of Tuthmosis III, or descend to the tomb of Seti I with its amazing bas-reliefs and astronomical ceiling. And don’t miss the enigmatic Hatshepsut’s reconstructed temple.
Brilliant, simply brilliant. J’adore life in Egypt!
A Crane at Karnak
Luxor By Carriage
Ramses II Takes a Stand in Karnak
Those are some big columns!