>Travel Pictures


Luxor: Fancy hotel

Finishing up our conference in Cairo, we were undecided as to our next plans. There were a number of different travel options available, but time, interest, and the kids' wishes played huge roles in deciding where we were going.
In the end, we made up our minds to head south to Luxor, site of the ancient capital city of Thebes (which was Egypt's center during portions of the Middle and New Kingdoms), the royal temple of Karnak, and of course the Valley of the Kings burial sites.
We booked our travel through an agent that was working at the conference, and decided to go first class (for us). We stayed at a resort hotel on the outskirts of town and had guided tours to all the of the sites. The biggest priority for the kids, however, was to relax and enjoy the time off of school, so with the Nile as the back yard and the hills of the Valley of the Kings providing the backdrop, we settled in for some great times.

The accommodations were right at that "European vacationer resort" level, and for us it was heaven. We had been without cleanish air, walkable grass, and no noise pollution for so long that we just knocked ourselves out.

Every morning and afternoon was a pool day, and the lounge chairs were our best friends! We grabbed some books from the lending library, pulled out some games, and made the best of a relaxing situation. We found a little convenience store right outside the main gate, and kept ourselves well supplied with veggies, snacks, and 'cold drinks.' Life was good.

There were 2 pools, one with a bar and one with some slides, so we spent plenty of time in both. We took turns sliding down, and just had a great time getting all wet and splashing around.
The kids even did a little yoga sliding, with their hands in the "Om" position to relax. Susan, however, found it a little less relaxing than they did!

One of the services that the hotel provided was shuttle service to its satellite operation down the river, except that the shuttle was a boat! We absolutely took advantage of that and cruised down the Nile, checking out all the colors and flags to be seen as well as the mud huts that edge the water, looking like something straight out of an ancient Egyptian diorama.
The contrast between the blue of the water, the green of the vegetation, and the pink/yellow of the sand was amazing. Egypt is called "the gift of the Nile," as everything would get swallowed up by desert if there was no river, and what we saw along the way certainly bears that observation out.

Heading into town, a boatload of women were laughing and waving at us as we crossed their wake.
On our boat, several of the passengers were trying to communicate with us and were amused that we'd want to take their pictures. What great expressions on their faces, however!

In the evening, the setting sun lends a tranquil glow to the boats on the river. 

Everything is all moored up, and the ebb and flow of life calms down as another day ends. 

Our first night saw a full moon peeking through the trees in front of the hotel, but that was the last time we saw it in Egypt, as all the other nights were overcast.

But we had intended to relax, and by the end of the visit we had done just that. We had certainly spent our fair share of time exploring and seeing ancient wonders (those are all on the pages that follow!), but we were also pleased to have spent such wonderful time outside.

Breck was proud of the sword Dad had bargained for, and we were all recharged for some sightseeing (and our eventual return to Mumbai).

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