Some winter sunshine in Luxor

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Grandad
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Some winter sunshine in Luxor

Post by Grandad »

SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

We have been to Luxor many times since our Nile Cruise introduction to Egypt in 1996. We have also been to different places in Egypt from Cairo to Abu Simbel and east to the Red Sea resorts on a total of well over 20 occasions. We have seen many of the historical attractions that Egypt has to offer, some of them several times, and this was to be just a short visit for some winter sun and to ‘chill and relax’.

I have included a selection of pictures but there are none of Tombs and Temples, just holiday snaps focussing more on people than places. I travelled light, didn’t take the DSLR or a tripod, just a little new Fuji compact camera. I had not studied the manual and as I had some difficulty with the flash, switched it off most of the time. Hence some pics are very grainy. I have not used any names in the following notes to protect individual privacy……..Anyhow I will now proceed………

We have stayed at other hotels in Luxor but this was the tenth successive time that we have stayed at the Steigenberger Nile Palace. The hotel is beginning to get a little tired but we know most of the staff, always get a warm welcome, and in response to an advance email we got our favoured room 218. This is right at the front of the northern wing and with an uninterrupted view across the river to the West Bank.

These three pictures are; looking North West from our balcony; the hotel viewed from the Nile side of the pool; and the ‘Shisha’ station in the ‘Nubian Village’ between the hotel and the Nile. I have added a picture of The Sonesta, next door, for those who may have stayed there in the past and not seen the additional four floors that were added on top.

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Every Wednesday the Nile Palace provides feluccas and lunch for the weekly party that comes from Hurghada on the whistle stop tour of Tombs and Temples in Luxor. On the first Wednesday there were 170 in the party so 14 feluccas were required. Here are two pictures of them being prepared and one of them being towed away for their one hour lunch cruise up and then down to the West Bank moorings before joining their coaches for the antiquities visit.

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We know a boatman that we have used regularly for about seven years but as I had mislaid his mobile number we took the public ferry across to the West Bank and went for a stroll along The Ramla for old times sake. We did take an apartment there three years ago and also have ex-pat friends living along there. Unfortunately they were back home at the time but after a stop for mint tea we soon found our boatman when we returned to the motor boat moorings and he took us back to the hotel in his motor boat.

These four pictures are, the mobile ‘filling station’ for the boats and vehicles requiring petrol (I was half expecting to see someone smoking); two scenes along The Ramla; and our return to the hotel on the motor boat.

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On the way over, our friend invited us to his home for dinner on the Sunday evening. We have never met his young wife and were very happy to accept. He collected us at the hotel to take us to the boat moorings and then by taxi to his home in a village a few miles south. The village scenes on the way were wonderful and although we have been to the villages many times I am always struck by the way of life of the village dwellers and how everything comes to life after dark. Our friend has his own mud brick house and we were very warmly welcomed by his wife who had prepared dinner for us. The soup, chicken, vegetables and rice was very tasty and prepared in the most basic of kitchens. The light in his house was very low and three of the following pictures were without flash and one with flash.

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His young wife is really beautiful. We try never to go empty handed and found things to offer as gifts. His wife disappeared for a moment and returned with a small bottle of nail varnish as a reciprocal gift for my wife. She then told us that she would like to cook dinner for us every evening……such a sweet thought.


Moving on, here are just a half dozen snaps of boats on the river and looking across to the hills. Hatshepsut is clearly visible in the three pictures of the hills taken from our balcony. The paddle steamer is the Sudan that cruises between Luxor and Aswan. Contrary to what it says in Wiki, she is a side wheeler not a stern wheeler and nearly 100 tears old.

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Now some people pictures. Well, not the first one, that is one of the many kingfishers but the others are felucca captains; the lady making bread in the ‘Nubian Village’; and daughters of shopkeeper friends. I couldn’t resist the final one of the young lady, I would have preferred to take her portrait but her companion was a rather big bloke…..

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Who takes pictures of their food? Well I do because I couldn’t tell you about our trip to Luxor without talking about food. Little Britain street just across the road is OK, with Deans Bistro, The Lantern, Snobs, Secret Garden and more; but there is nothing authentic Egyptian. We found a new restaurant in Karnak. The first picture is my wife talking to our driver; and on the first visit made the mistake of ordering from the ‘Main Course’ listing. We are not big eaters and when my mixed grill (Egyptian style) arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes. My wifes choice was equally large and although any young man would have cleared his plate with relish I am afraid we could only manage about half. On our two subsequent visits we opted to have the lentil soup that was really very good and then make up a meal with and assortment of starters, meze style.

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We were at the pool area overlooking the Nile most lunch times. In past years the lunch time snacks and salads have been very adequate but we found the standard had declined. A better alternative was soon found in the form of starters from the Thai restaurant. These are prepared by a genuine Thai chef and the spring rolls, or chicken satay, or crispy fried calamari, all with crackers and dips were a much better alternative; see picture below. I think the room service manager was aware that we were regular guests because on three occasions we found a fruit bowl and petit fours in our room. And some of the staff referred to me as ‘Mr John’. I felt very important. :lol:

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And Finally three pictures at and after sunset. The felucca crewman ‘reefing’ the sail for the night; a sunset with the rare inclusion of some clouds; and the Theban Hills, illuminated from 7 to 10 each evening…..even when there are regular power outages…..

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As I said at the start, no pictures of tombs or temples, just a selection of random holiday snaps. I hope you liked them.
………………………………………………

Just a few comments about how we found things, post revolution. There is no doubt that those who work in tourism are having a difficult time. The Nile Palace is averaging 25 to 40% occupancy. This has resulted in all staff taking a cut in wages in order to keep their jobs. Coupled with the drop in tips their income is about half what it was two years ago. We were told that in some hotels the staff receive no salary and have to rely on tips.

We discussed the changes since January 2011 with many people in tourism and the associated restaurant and shop businesses and, without exception, they all regret the overthrow of Mubarak because life was much better pre revolution and they have little confidence that it will improve in the near future. Morsi is seen as weak and they are crying out for strong leadership at the top.

Law and order is almost non existent and as one shopkeeper told me, they have to deal with any problems or local disturbances themselves. There is verbal abuse from young people usually in the form of “F… off” I have mentioned on another thread that there is a serious shortage of fuel for the vehicles and boats. Power outages are more frequent now. We did notice however that hassle is much less and in most cases “la shukran” is accepted and they leave you alone. Begging children may need a more abrupt “imshi”

The daily temperature was 28 when we arrived and up to 34 when we left. We had a most enjoyable winter break and really love Luxor and its people. We hope most sincerely that things will improve for them in the very near future. The desire to go back soon is already with us………


:gg:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Excellent excellent excellent! Really enjoyed YOUR trip! :) Really great photos too especially if this was the new Fuji. First time I've seen the completed Sonesta too. It was being worked on last time I was there (but I couldn't tell you which floor - I kinda think maybe the first). I'd almost swear I know your driver too (the one in the photo with your wife) but I couldn't even hazard a guess at a name - maybe Mohamed and my second guess would be Ahmed :)))

Love the paddle wheeler with H's temple in the background. Loved that temple. Was fantastic and can't even hardly imagine people living there and what their lives were like way back when.

Interesting comments from the locals. I feel really bad that many were just caught up in the revolution with such high hopes and aspirations only now to be caught in politics with ineffective new leaders. Great discussion of your trip. Good to know you had a good time AND that a good time can still be had in Luxor. Makes me think I might venture back there on day.

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Ruby Slippers »

Grandad, thank you so, so much! I've had a really uplifting time, just sitting here, looking at your photos and reading your comments. :up I absolutely pine for the sunshine and the sunshine of Egypt in particular - and you've given me some! The pain in my leg is made much more bearable by reading your post! I'm so glad you and your wife had a good time but very sad to hear of the decline. The food photos were an inspiration because my DH eats an enormous amount and I eat very little so it's good to see the size to be expected beforehand! I could probably eat about a quarter of that mixed grill - whereas DH could manage it easily and the rest of mine too! :lol: On my many visits to Egypt, I've noticed that after a while you get 'templed out' and they all merge into one, so the scenes you have inserted are far more interesting than MORE temples. Bless you, Grandad! :ks

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Kiya »

Glad to hear you & Mrs H had a great holiday :)

I felt while reading I was on the holiday with you both.

Like your self its good to see the other side of Luxor compared to temples & tombs most of the time :)

Your wee camera has done well :) ( I thought for a while my camera was on the scrap heap , but thats another story) fantastic photos & I have stayed at both the Nile Palace & Sonesta so it was great to see them again & seeing the sun has made me feel I need some :)

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Phantom »

Thanks Grandad, a wonderful report and lovely photos. Stayed at the Sonesta first time we went to Luxor - it looks a bit like a prison now.

You made me realise anew why we love Luxor.

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

HELP HORUS, KEEFY or the CYBER WIZARD!

I read Grandad's original post and saw his photos - NOW all of his photos are a big fat RED zero with a message under them that "I" am NOT AUTHORIZED to view these?

Wazz UP? Why is this? I saw them when Grandad first posted them but now each and every photo is nothing but a RED O and Ic can't see them..........????

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Horus »

You probably got yourself logged out in some way, try logging back in again.
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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Grandad »

Glad you liked my post ladies and if you have not been to Egypt and Luxor for a while, give it some thought. They desperately need more visitors and I can assure you that you will get a warm welcome and have no worries if you act sensibly and take extra care after dark.

For us a break for some winter sun meant the Canaries or Luxor.....no contest there then :lol:
:gg:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Jayway »

THANKYOU for these lovely photos, so nice to see Luxor again shown in a more interesting way. hope you will post a few more ? ?

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Grandad »

Thank you Jay and if any of you are getting withdrawal symptoms and a renewed desire to get back to Luxor here are a few more ‘snaps’ to whet your appetite. but remember what I have said, we just went for some winter sunshine and I only took my new cheapie compact camera…….

A few views across from our balcony. First was a tester for the camera and for the techies the settings were 1/320sec, F5.3, ISO 100 and 370mm 35mm equivalent. Won’t bore you with any more of that stuff

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I never tire of this view and can visualise all that went on over there in millennia past. A two parter on the BBC called “ Ancient Egypt: Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings” was broadcast while we were away and we have only just viewed the recording. In this Dr Joann Fletcher, a Barnsley Egyptologist, tells the story of the life and death of Kha, an architect, and his wife Meryt, who lived comfortably in Dier el Medina during the eighteenth dynasty. Their undisturbed tomb was discovered in 1906 and the amazing and beautiful contents are to be seen in the Museo Egizio in Turin. Somewhere to add to the ‘must do’ list.

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Against the timeless background, the modern buildings and the Felucca with day trippers from Hurghada, being towed while they have lunch.

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Building of apartments and villas seems to continue unabated on the west bank on these prime plots.

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It is a regret that we have never walked the ridge but it is now most unlikely that we ever will.

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Just to reminisce, we walked along Ramla to the flat that we rented 3 years ago, the gateway to which is to the right of the blue bin. The Sonesta and Nile Palace are visible across the river.

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We stopped for mint tea and across in front of Luxor Temple were moored dozens of cruise ships, mostly moored 7 deep from the shore.

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The significance of this picture is that it includes the large villa (right of centre) in which two elderly and wealthy sisters were recently assassinated. I believe Keefy posted the story at the time.

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There is always colour in Egypt at any time of year. Bougainvillea is to be found everywhere. This is just a random bloom near the pool.

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And finally a night view across to the floodlit hills. The brightly lit patio area is at the Lotus Hotel between the Nile Palace and The Sonesta St George.

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As I am running out of library space, that will have to do. 8)
:gg:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Ruby Slippers »

Great photos, Grandad! :up

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Kiya »

Fantastic set of photos again :) , it brings it all back looking at these :) .

I took the donkey ride up & across the ridge, once at the top if you walk over to the other side thats where you can see a fantastic view looking down onto the Valley of the Kings.
Looking down to the top of Hatshepsuts Temple from the ridge is much higher than it actually looks in any photo, quite scary infact.
Once across the ridge we had to make our way down on foot as the donkeys go down with our guide.

I watched the BBC " Ancient Egypt " intersting to hear of Kha & his wife Meryt :)

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Now I can't open any of Grandad's new photos or any of his old ones. All I'm getting is a big Red and Black Circle with a line through it and a message telling me I am not authorized to VIEW.

I've put photos on yesterday and I can open my own but Grandad's are completely blocked to me. I've signed in and out but still not getting access to his photos.

Anything else I can do to open these or is it a programming problem?

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Grandad »

I uploaded all pictures to my personal album and I don't know if that would have any significance :?: But I have not blocked you in any way....promise :lol:

Can you open pictures in other threads??

I think this is definitely one for Horus or Keefy......
:gg:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Jayway »

Lovely Grandad, thankyou. So many times I have walked the WB road down to the ferry to go meet the AWOL car - and tramped back after work with shopping - - . Used to ride camels and horses and donkeys along the river bank, could have ridden up the ridge but me,animals and heights -NO ! On my last trip they were making the blue bins. No I dont think I will be going back, my last visit was not nice - I did go to Nuweiba just for a holiday, a perfect holiday ! Thought of going again, but then saw the news about the tourists kidnapped on the road I would have used --- ummm - dont think so - :urm:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Kiya »

Grandad & LLL I upload to my personal album all the time & everyone sees them :) never had any problem.

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Horus »

Provided you are logged in there should be no problems viewing images, although a slow internet connection may cause problems.
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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Hmm - still not able to see the photos today :( My computer is chugging along real find just not figuring why suddenly all the photos are blocked to me.

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Grandad »

LLL, I cannot think that this would cause a problem by my time in my profile/board preferences was NOT set to British Summer Time, (GMT +1)

Try again and see if this has any effect???
:gg:

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Re: SOME WINTER SUNSHINE IN LUXOR

Post by Grandad »

LLL, I am posting another picture via my album as before to see if you can view this one.

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:gg:

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