Luxor was hands down the most amazing part of our trip to Egypt. The temples and tombs were incredible -- they just got better and better every day & our appreciation for them grew as we learned more about ancient Egypt. We were astounded with the level of detail of the drawings and the number of temples that still have their original painted colors after thousands of years. Highlights included the Karnak temple at Luxor (huge) and Nefertari's tomb. For Nefertari the journey to get the tickets was half the fun -- only 150 tickets are sold per day and the ticket office opens at the same time as the bridge required to reach it, 6am, so everyone makes a mad dash to the ticket office! We woke up early and were third in line for the bridge. After crossing the bridge, our driver raced with everyone else, quickly becoming the lead car and (luckily for us) never loosing that lead. We raced to the office and bought four of the remaining tickets. Nefertari's tomb was absolutely worth the extra effort in our opinion - the paintings were the most incredible on our visit.
Having a private guide helped us appreciate the temples and tombs even more. Our guide was very educated, and was able to take us around the sights at our own pace and explain everything to us. He even taught us to decipher some of the hieroglyphics! We, of course, had lots of questions about details and all the new things we were seeing and he was able to give us great, thoughtful answers. We felt that having a guide gave us a depth of understanding that we would not have gained had we visited the sights on our own.
We took a daytrip from luxor to Abu Simbel. Our hottest day was in Abu Simbel - at over 110 degrees, we were sweating even sitting still in the shade and we could hardly walk in the sun. The site itself, however, was wonderful. The temples are very well preserved and it's interesting to imagine how they were disassembled and reassembled while the Aswan Dam was being built to save them from flooding. After visiting the site we quickly returned to the air conditioned airport to await our return flight!
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