I'm planning to post excerpts here on Mondays for a few weeks (if I remember), with a link to the full article, so I hope you will all find something interesting enough to follow the link. Here's the next one about some aspects of our holiday in Egypt.
Visiting the Valley of the Kings is a must for anyone interested in the ancient Egyptians. Here, close to the west bank of the city of Thebes is where the pharaohs and their people made sure of their after life.
But ancient Thebes has been swallowed up in the modern city of Luxor, from where we crossed the bridge over the great river to make our pilgrimage to the wondrous tombs. Our visit was a birthday present for my husband who had long wanted to make it. I'd booked an organised tour ahead of our two week holiday just to make sure we got there.
The tour seemed quite expensive, but on the day we agreed that we'd received very good value money. The main reason for this was Helen, our guide, who pulled out all the stops to make the day perfect for everyone. When she introduced herself at 6 am that day, she told us that she, and all the qualified guides, had to undergo rigorous training. She had gone through a four year university course in antiquities and was clearly very proud to be able to show us the wonders of ancient Egypt. Her English was excellent, and she had a mischievous sense of humour, making the day great fun as well as educational.
As our coach travelled between the desert to the west and the fertile Nile valley, Helen explained that main crops were sugar beet, but this year (2009) many farmers were also growing wheat. The reason for this, she believed, was that they had been let down over wheat supplies by the US government in the previous year, causing near starvation in some areas of the country.
We drove past villages and groups of houses that looked unfinished, although many had brightly coloured washing strung on lines between scaffold poles on the top storeys.
"Yes," said Helen. "You'll see a lot of that. In this country, we don't have a mortgage system like you do. Families save until they can buy a plot of land and build on it. When the first level is built, they move in. When they can afford it, they build on another level for their offspring to move into. They might then add another level for the next generation, and so on."
Soon we came to the entrance to the excavation site of the mortuary temple of Amenophis III which was brought down by a horrendous earthquake in 27 BC. Guarding the entrance are two enormous seated statues which miraculously escaped destruction. (See picture above)
You read the rest of this article here.