Saturday, October 31, 2009



We are trick-or-treating aboard the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas. Harry and I forgot to bring our costumes (as if we owned Halloween costumes) and more than likely we would never have fit a pre-cruise size anyway.

The ship has been decorated to celebrate the festivities… and there are many passengers who actually brought a costume. There is even a costume parade contest later tonight.

Although we did find this scary monster hanging in our stateroom when we returned from dinner. I love those silly towel displays every night just before bedtime.

But the scariest part of the evening…. we are entering the Gulf of Aden. We just might see some pirates tonight other than the ones in the costume contest.

Blessings for a safe voyage,


Friday, October 30, 2009

Cruising the Red Sea


Considering we had a 12 + hour day yesterday we are enjoying a pleasantly hot day cruising the Red Sea.

And I am truly amazed.....

I am sure everyone has heard the Old Testament story of Moses the parting of the Red Sea. After traveling through the Red Sea…. I have to say that is definitely a miracle.

The Red Sea is pretty big... from either side of the ship as far as I can see .... I cannot see land.

To part this sea... would require a lot. It's very wide at certain points. I am constantly in awe at the wonders God has done. Just when I think something simple like keeping me sane in Greece is miraculous... I trevel through the Red Sea and realize just how great my God is.

Blessings from the Red Sea,


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Valley of the Kings


The Egyptian belief that "To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again" is certainly carried out in the building of the tombs. The king's formal names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his images and statues.

Hidden behind the Theban Hills, on the West Bank of the Nile, lies the Valley of the Kings (Wadi el-Muluk in Arabic), a limestone valley where tombs were built for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom during the 18-21st Dynasties. It was chosen as the burial place for most of Egypt's New Kingdom rulers for several reasons. As the crow flies, the Valley is very close to the cultivated banks of the river. It is small, surrounded by steep cliffs, and easily guarded. The local limestone, cut millions of years ago by torrential rains to form the Valley, is of good quality. And towering above the Valley is a mountain, al-Qurn (the horn in Arabic), whose shape may have reminded the ancient Egyptians of a pyramid, and is dedicated to the goddess Meretseger.

Beginning with the 18th Dynasty and ending with the 20th, the kings abandoned the Memphis area and built their tombs in Thebes. Also abandoned were the pyramid style tombs. Most of the tombs were cut into the limestone following a similar pattern: three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber. These catacombs were harder to rob and were more easily concealed. Construction usually lasted six years, beginning with the new reign.

We arrived by tour bus and then a little trolley cart takes you deeper into the valley to begin our journey to search the caves.

Once off the trolley cart thingy... we traveled by foot to and through the various tombs. Wow was it hot.... and dusty.

Every where you turned around... there were entrances to caves and tombs.

The tombs are numbered in the order of 'discovery'.... KV 1 the first.... and so forth.

From Ramesses VII (KV1) to the recently discovered KV63, although some of the tombs have been open since antiquity, and KV5 has only recently been rediscovered. A number of the tombs are unoccupied, the owners of others remain unknown, and some are merely pits used for storage.

There were 62 numbered royal and private tombs, ranging from a simple pit (KV 54) to a tomb with over 121 chambers and corridors (KV 5). Most were found already plundered. A few, like the tomb of Tutankhamen (KV 62) or that of Yuya and Thuyu (KV 46), and Maiherperi (KV36), contained thousands of precious artifacts. Some tombs have been accessible since antiquity, as Greek and Latin graffiti attest, some were used as dwellings or a church during the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods, and others have been discovered only in the past two hundred years. Some, like KV 5, had been "lost," and their location rediscovered only recently.

Almost all of the tombs have been ransacked, including Tutankhamun's, though in his case, it seems that the robbers were interrupted, so very little was removed.

Excavations are still occurring daily.

The valley was surrounded by steep cliffs and heavily guarded. In 1090 BC, or the year of the Hyena, there was a collapse in Egypt's economy leading to the emergence of tomb robbers. Because of this, it was also the last year that the valley was used for burial. The valley also seems to have suffered an official plundering during the virtual civil war which started in the reign of Ramesses XI. The tombs were opened, all the valuables removed, and the mummies collected into two large caches. One, the so-called Deir el-Bahri cache, contained no less than forty royal mummies and their coffins; the other, in the tomb of Amenhotep II, contained a further sixteen.

The inside of the tombs seem unreal when you think about how old they are...

If you not looking for it... you will pass by not even noticing King Tut's tomb's. The only visible part is a wall with this tiny sign posted on the outside of the gate. The most important sight for us.... and it was barely visible from public view.

Though small and unimpressive, Tutankhamun’ s Tomb is probably the most famous, due to its late discovery. Howard Carter's description upon opening the tomb in 1922 was, "At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flames to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, "Yes, wonderful things."'

The royal seal on the door was found intact. The first three chambers were unadorned, with evidence of early entrance through one of the outside walls. The next chamber contained most of the funerary objects.

The sarcophagus was four guilded wooden shrines, one inside the other, within which lay the stone sarcophagus, three mummiform coffins, the inner one being solid gold, and then the mummy. Haste can be seen in the reliefs and the sarcophagus, due to the fact that Tutankhamun died at only 19 years of age following a brief reign. Though extremely impressive to the modern world, the treasures of Tutankhamun must have paled when compared to the tombs of the great Pharaohs that ruled for many years during Egypt's golden age.

I was grossed out and had a hard time looking at the mummy. He is still in his tomb... but without all his treasures. He's just there in a glass case for all to see... stripped of his 10 pound solid gold burial mask. He does not even have clothes on... they have left a thin blanket over him because the he had a bad mummy job and his body from his chin to his feet look pretty disgusting... as if being mummified isn't bad enough.

We wandered from tomb to tomb and burial chamber to burial chamber.

It was interesting to see all the inscriptions on the tomb walls. I was disappointed ... I wished that Harry and I would have dressed like Indiana Jones... that's what we felt like. Some of the tombs are steep deep climbs in and out of the chambers.

And every new tomb we went in... Harry started singing dunt ta dunt taaa .... or at something like his version of the Indiana Jones theme song.

I think this was my favorite sight in all of Egypt. Who would have thought?... I hate cemeteries, but Valley of the Kings was a peaceful place. A quite valley in the middle of the desert, tucked away and out of sight from everywhere.

I wonder what these Pharaoh's would have thought if they knew all these strange people from around the world were going to be walking through and staring at their tomb's? I bet they would have hid them further away. And I am sure they would have dressed better... or at least had some clothes on... King Tut!s

Dunt ta dunt taaaa blessings,


Temple of Karnak


In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders

The very old Karnak Temple Complex — usually called simply Karnak — comprises a vast conglomeration of ruined temples, chapels, pylons and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amen and a massive structure begun by Pharoah Amenhotep III (ca. 1391-1351 BC).

The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut ("The Most Selected of Places") and the main place of worship of the Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex takes its name from the nearby (and partly surrounded) modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5 km north of Luxor.

The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo.

The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming.

The view is stunning....

Along every surface, every wall... there are heiroglyphs depicting various scenes of their lives. The depictions of their religion...

Massive statues around every corner...

One of most famous aspects of Karnak, is the Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, a hall area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The architraves on top of these columns weigh an estimated 70 tons. These architraves may have been lifted to these heights using levers. This would be an extremely time-consuming process and would also require great balance to get to such great heights.

It's huge... the entire structure is hard to see. There is not a good place to stand to capture it all.

Our tour guide would read the walls to us. Some pretty interesting stuff...

It actually had windows....

Here's Harry as a reference to how big these columns are...

And outside, there are ruins... in piles ... stacked up everywhere. I guess there is no where to put them inside... or they are still trying to restore them!

It was beautiful... ancient Thebes must have been the place to be back then...

Again, we had an amazing time trasping through the religious sight of Thebes.



Drive to Luxor


Today we traveled from Safaga, Egypt (a port city on the Red Sea) to Luxor.

It’s about a 3 ½ hour drive through the desert then along the River Nile. Every 5 to 10 minutes we were stopping at various security check points, which made for an interesting outing. During the bus ride we were able to see the daily life of Upper Egypt. It was quite interesting.

There are many canals off the Nile River.... and life along these waterways seems to be a hard one. Houses are made of mud and brick with thatch roofing. Livestock is kept just outside the front door.

It is the first time I saw real haystacks stacked up after harvest.

Houses are quite close to the banks....

With the primitive style housing... there are still satellite dishes on the roofs.

Then we reached more "citified" areas... where there were towns. People gathered near the various stores... or were sitting outside their homes socializing with their neighbors.

There were sooo many security checkpoints.. not sure how secure there were, but they were there nonetheless.

We had an quite the Egyptian experience along the 3 1/2 hour drive from Safaga to Luxor. Only problem... was it takes the same amount of time to travel back to the ship... and oh how my lower back and bum are already achy!

Blessings to those along for the ride,



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