In the Valley of the Kings: Travel Thoughts 9


© irene waters 2019

Roger and I woke at a reasonable hour the day we visited the Valley of the Kings. Those on the tour that had decided to forgo the pleasure of the balloon ride which took in all the sights of Luxor and surrounds as well as a glorious sunrise had been woken at 3am to head off on their adventure.


© irene waters 2019

Only four of us had declined the balloon trip and we had an adventure of our own that I valued possibly higher than being cramped in a balloon, fearful and desirous of jumping out.


© irene waters 2019

We went with our guide to a small village in the valley of the Kings area where we were going to collect the balloon riders. Our guide loved his water pipe so he settled us in a local cafe ordering coffee for us and a hookah for himself. Across the road was Spongebob – a baby clothes and adult fashion store. Was it called Spongebob because of the square pants or the sponge to mop up baby accidents.


© irene waters 2019

Once smoking our guide was happy.


© irene waters 2019

and we watched the woman (one of the few women we had seen working in Egypt) prepare our coffee.


© irene waters 2019

There was a constant parade of traffic past Spongebobs in both directions.


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019

Before our coffee was made the call came that the balloon had landed. We needed to be off. Our coffee was given to us in the bus in crockery cups that our guide promised to return later in the day. Over the rough roads we bumped at speed and we wore most of our boiling hot coffee.


© irene waters 2019

The trip along the way was fascinating with barren hills showing the evidence of recent digs for graves and I wondered if some were ancient houses dug into the hillside.


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019

As we got closer to where we were to pick up the ballooners we saw others coming in to land.


© irene waters 2019

and the furling of the balloon of those that had just landed. It looked like a mammoth task but there seemed to be plenty of hands helping.


© irene waters 2019

The Valley of the Kings is the burial ground of the kings, queens, high priests and nobles from 1539 – 1075 BC. The bodies were mummified to ensure that it could reanimate in the afterlife. Great treasures, as well as mundane household items and food were buried inside the tombs with the deceased for their life in the afterworld. We were driven by auto train into the depths of the valley and the feeling was surreal – and a little eerie.


© irene waters 2019

The cliffs towered up above us. It was in the Valley of the Kings I made my only mistake. I did not buy permission to take my camera as I considered the couple of hundred Australian dollars not to be worth it and our guide had promised someone who sold photos would meet us at the bus on our return thus being able to purchase some for a small amount.  I left my camera on the bus as it would have been confiscated but phones were permitted. They weren’t for cameras after all.


© irene waters 2019

We entered our first tomb. The man in gray at the door with the white turban  was a temple guard. They were stationed all through the tombs.


© irene waters 2019

On entering I knew I had made a big mistake. I have never seen such beauty and if I thought that the pyramids were going to be the most jaw dropping place we visited – I was wrong. I got out my phone and surrepticiously took some photos.


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019

If only I could read what these heiroglyphs said.


© irene waters 2019

I saw a temple guard arguing with a woman over the use of her mobile phone without camera permit. Money changed hands. I became a bit wary and when I saw a man pursued by a guard when he wouldn’t hand his phone over. He was caught at the entrance and his phone confiscated.


© irene waters 2019

My photography became blurred as I worried about the guards.


© irene waters 2019

There were no perfect shots to be had in this state of mind but I did see the guard coming towards me and I quickly turned my phone off. He came up and accused me of taking pictures. I lied – well kind of lied – I said show me the pictures I’m supposed to have taken. He grabbed the phone off me and of course it was turned off. He couldn’t get anything to come up. I said “See. I was just holding it.” I grabbed it back off him and said ” I’ll keep it in my bag so there is no question about what I am doing” and walked off, feeling guilty I had done the wrong thing but incredibly relieved that I had my phone back in one piece..


© irene waters 2019

The tombs became progressively more and more colourful. Inwardly I cried but who could be upset when being faced with the most beautiful sight I think I had ever seen painted on the walls of these underground burial chambers.


© irene waters 2019

Of course you had to pay extra to go into Tutankhamun’s tomb and again our guide had persuaded us that it wasn’t worth the visit. According to him the paintings weren’t that well preserved. That Tutankhamun was a minor king and not worthy of mention. The only reason he is known is because when Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922 it was the only intact tomb to have been discovered, most having been plundered years or centuries earlier. Naturally everything that was there has now been removed and the new museum in Cairo has replicated the tomb on site and all the treasures will be displayed.


© irene waters 2019

Until 2005 62 tombs had been discovered in the Valley of the Kings. There is evidence of digging everywhere in the area and 63 was finally discovered. It is believed that there are probably more to come.

If you are ever in Egypt make the Valley of the Kings a must visit. Buy a camera permit. The photos were a waste of time – not what I wanted to have in my photographic memory banks but the images inside those tombs will live with me forever.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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8 Responses to In the Valley of the Kings: Travel Thoughts 9

  1. What a wonderful experience, Irene. I would have bought the camera permit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oneletterup says:

    Wow! What an – almost undercover- adventure! Glad you didn’t get caught, but don’t blame you for trying. Such beauty calls out for photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. noelleg44 says:

    This post brings back lovely memories of our trip to Egypt and the Valley of the Kings. Our tour had prearranged it so we did see the tom of Tutankhamen. It was hard to grasp mentally how OLD these tombs were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I keep thinking that some are as old away from the birth of christ as we are now after christ. It is mind boggling. We could have gone into Tut’s tomb for an extra price but again we listened to our guide who said it wasn’t worth it but it was worth paying to go into another and I was blown away by it. Glad it brought back memories Noelle. It was just an amazing place wasn’t it.


  4. Pingback: The Theban Necropolis, Ancient City of Thebes and Karnak and Luxor Temples: Travel Thoughts 10 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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