Valley Of The Kings
The Valley of the Kings underwhelmed me at first sight, all I saw was walkways into the sandy, rocky hills and most of the tombs were closed. With my 80LE ticket (about $16), I was only granted access to three tombs. The first one, Ramses IV, I chose out of convenience and walked with groups of tourists down a small set of stairs to the tomb room. There was a huge red granite tomb in the center, carved with hieroglyphics and on the walls painted similar, but simpler markings than the temple hieroglyphics. The colors were original and bright and stunning. Some parts looked like they were painted recently, not 3500 years ago.
After this tomb, I walked down the pathways, looking for another tomb to visit. Off the main path and further down, I saw people walking down stairs, out of a crevice of two large rocks butting up to each other. That’s the one, I felt very Indiana Jones as I walked up the stairs (except in the IJ movies, there’s no stairs), through a small pathway between rock walls and then down three sets of stairs into the rock. I crossed a bridge over a 20-foot cavern, the top painted and the bottom full of strewn rock. This was the tomb of Tutmosis and the most impressive.
The first room was large – about 20 X 30 feet in dimensions and the walls were perfectly painted with the simpler hieroglyphics. I climbed down one more set of stairs and was in the tomb room. The guard in the room showed me the carvings on the red granite case – inside was an outline of the pharaoh, simple and silent, I could imagine the mummy fitting in the outline at burial. I pulled out my camera (no flash) and asked if I could take pictures, which were forbidden. The guard asked, group? I said no group and he put his fingers to his lips and I snapped away. He even pointed out drawings for me to capture.
The last tomb was Ramses I and was in a much smaller, much simpler room. More stairs down, my legs had begun to shake after the last tomb visit. It was worth it, the colors on the wall carvings were stunning, perfect blues, yellows and reds. Unfortunately a large tour group was immediately behind me and I could not sneak in some more pictures.
I took a tram back to Abdul, my taxi driver, who drove me back to my hotel. The sightseeing was excellent, but now in the afternoon I was tired and the hotel next door was allowing use of its pool for 30 LE. I bought a beer and changed into my swimsuit and lounged on the rooftop until early afternoon, remembering all the sights as the sun set on Luxor.