>Travel Pictures


Luxor: Ramesseum

One of our last stops on the trip was an afternoon at the Ramesseum. Located on the road between Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, it is apparently not a high priority on most tourists' lists.

As it is in an area still used for farming, we found ourselves surrounded by fields filled with crops being worked by hand as in days of yore. It was easy to imagine being back in the days of the pharaohs!

The big draw of this set of ruins is that they are (were?) the temple built in honor of Ramesses the Great, and must have been an unbelievable sight in its day. Unfortunately, the temple was built in the Nile floodplain, and the same yearly waters that brought life to the countryside also hastened the destruction of the entire complex.
The kids (and the parents) enjoyed having a slightly overcast morning among an abandoned set of ruins all to ourselves. It really gave us all the opportunity to appreciate the sheer scale of the statues that had been in place.
There were a couple of caretakers, but other than one pair of tourists, there was nobody there but Stutz's and the ghost of Ramesses.
The fate of Ramesses' earthly glories and monuments form the central idea of his poem "Ozymandias," with its lament of the impermanence of life and achievements. In fact, the statue above on the right has a cartouche which was translated into Greek as Ozymandias, thus providing the inspiration for the poem. As it turns out, the statue that we are standing next to was almost 60 feet tall when it was standing.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

 - Percy Bysshe Shelley


After contemplating our mortality, we decided to beat a retreat to a rooftop restaurant and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and overlooking the Nile

Each of us enjoyed the afternoon in a different way, and we each took turns capturing the moods of others!
We also got to witness a bit of daily life all around us, from the donkeys in the nearby fields

to the downstairs hookah, backgammon, and tea extravaganza.
Alea and Susan decorated themselves, and we all shared our favorite memories from the trip. Luckily enough, we never joined a horrendous tourist camel safari, and we enjoyed most of what our trip had given to us. We look forward to another visit someday!

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