The 5am call to prayer woke me up – no sleeping in on the day off! The second call at 0525 made sure of that! That’s ok – we had a 7am meet up with a tour guide at the ferry stop on the east bank of the river so I had to get up anyway. A quick breakfast of bananas and oranges and we were sitting in a private boat going across the very busy and fast flowing waterway (for 1 egyptian pound each – about 20cents!). It is cheap but only after A LOT of haggling. We are learning our lessons… whatever the first price is offered, offer 75% less. Eventually you come to a price where both seller and buyer are pseudo happy. And this is for EVERYTHING! Taxis to scarves to water.
But, this morning we (two other riders and I) had none of that as our tour guide arranged the rides and tour to the Valley of the Kings – home of the tombs of the ancient pharaohs. Words do not do justice to the magnificence of the tombs (and pictures weren’t allowed), but what was amazing was how the colors and drawings were still intact after 3500 years. It was incredible… and all buried under natural pyramid hills of sandstone. From there we went to Medinet Habu (memorial temple of Ramesses III) and learned a bit on hyrogliphics – my favorites were the ankh and delta mean “give life” and the duck and sun mean “Sara” (son of sun god) (that’s for you Verde!).
After lunch of fallafal at a papyrus shop, we crossed the Nile and wandered through the streets until we found more good food and a place for a massage. While the massage was really just a lot of oil and a little rubbing punctuated by requests for bashish (not sure on money but it means a little extra money, like a tip), it was in a gorgous venue… on a floating barge with swimming pool and bar on the Nile – not bad:) We returned to the camp via horse drawn carriage (with another kosheree food stop – I had great travel partners who love to eat too!) just in time to get gear organized for our early departure to ride tomorrow.