SLOWLY, the balloon rose and my legs lifted easily one, two, three meters.
My Egyptian guide on the ground smiled mischievously at us as the tourists drifted away. “See you tomorrow!” he called, making us laugh nervously.
How do you get rid of these, again?
Thankfully, as the ball flew higher, my nerves were replaced with amazement at the incredible view of the desert below.
This is not my first visit to Egypt. My husband and I couldn’t get enough of its incredible mausoleum, temple, and historic sites, along with near-constant sunshine.
Plus, it’s only a 5 hour flight from London.
This time we ventured to the ancient city of Luxor, located on the east bank of the Nile. Hurghada Airport is a 4-hour drive away, but it is not advisable to make the trip along the highway at night on your own. Hire a driver through your hotel to help navigate security stops between zones during the day.
Luxor was the capital of the pharaohs from about the 16th century BC to the 11th century BC – and their ruins are now a major tourist attraction.
One of the main attractions is the Luxor Temple. Built by Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC, it is almost impossible to fathom how these massive columns were created, all intricately decorated with hieroglyphs flanked by rows of human statues. monk with the head of a goat. If you’ve been to Paris, you’ve probably noticed the lonely shrine tower located in front of the temple. Its sister statue was uprooted in the 1800s and now sits at one end of the Champs-Élysées.
From here, we stroll along the 3,400-year-old road, known as the Avenue of the Sphinxes, which connects Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple, the largest religious structure ever built at about 200 acres.
I was speechless as we perused the giant columns and small details of this Unesco World Heritage Site.
On the opposite side of the bank you’ll find the Valley of the Kings, where the mummies of the pharaohs were buried along with jewelry and paraphernalia to carry them through to the afterlife.
Unfortunately, the wealth of the pharaohs is long gone – either by thieves or later taken by historians to sit in museums – but just think of the sheer effort they had to put in. The work done to build these structures is still astounding. Going deeper and deeper into the mausoleum, every wall we passed was marked with prayers – all leading to a main chamber.
A highlight is the tomb of Tutankhamun, the discovery that has catapulted British archaeologist Howard Carter to fame. Unearthed in 1922, it’s one of the few spots that thieves haven’t discovered, meaning its treasure is still intact.
Tutankhamun’s mummy is still there. He may not have gone to the afterlife believed by the ancient Egyptians, but his name lives on forever, thanks to the complexity of the mausoleum.
However, Luxor is not all about tombs and mummies.
After strolling the orange paths and stone pillars, we decided to visit these sites from a new angle, on a hot air balloon excursion.
Although it is necessary to wake up early in the morning, seeing the valley stretching below you is not to be missed.
Floating up and up, we looked out over the vast golden sands, the 25 degrees Celsius heat knocking us down.
It’s hard to believe that all of this is located just a 5 hour flight away.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8213417/nile-ancient-city-egypt/ Visit this ancient Egyptian city on the Nile and enjoy the lavish life of the Pharaohs