A Travellerspoint blog

La rambla - it's all happening here


One of the best things in Barcelona is its – La rambla street. The long street stretching over 1.2 kms always has something happening at any time of day and night. We were staying close La Rambla so I have been here at 6:10 AM (on way to catch a flight), 10:20 AM (crossing over to catch the tour bus), 8:40 PM (strolling along the street), 2:05 AM (lost in the street) and it was always filled with something or someone – its filled with :

Street statues – Dressed in practically anything & everything - historical figures, mythical characters, movie characters, cartoon characters. They are all there. They even let you take picture for as little as one euro but the problem is there are so many you would like to pose with.

Street painters – Artist’s put their paintings in line along the street. They are put for sale but there are so many and so good that it takes time to just look through them. The artists have an empty canvas to sketch up any tourist wanting their portrait. It’s amazing to see how fast they sketch. Really talented artists!

Street act – There was this guy who collected trash coco-cola & pepsi cans from restaurants and other places. He had two or three bags full of them. He turned the can into pretty looking ash tray. He was making them in front of us and made each one in less than five minutes. There were loads of people flocking to see how he turned trashed can into ash tray and were buying it for 5 Euros. Talk about profitable recycle & reuse!

Street food – Now an absolute must do when in Spain is to try tapas at local joints, so every few blocks we stopped and found some amazing tapas.

Street band – Group of young men put up such a well orchestrated music piece then followed it with amazing dance routine right there on the street. It was fantastic and ought to be a part of some TV show or something. But for as little as one euro you get amazing live performances.

Street shopping - No sightseeing is complete without some shopping so there I was shopping at the stalls and bargaining & trying to save a few euros as I picked some beautiful souvenirs and memories.

It's a carnival on that street with so many people, tourists, artists, performers etc and there is so much energy out there. Some experiences are so awesome yet kind of difficult to describe.. Walking through La Rambla is something like that!! :) :)

Welcome to La rambla

Street statues night or day always there!!!!

Street performance and shopping ... anytime!!!!!

Another street you must experience walking through is the Bari Gothic area. It is an old town of Barcelona, with narrow alleys, tall medieval kind of buildings and cathedrals. The structures are huge and gothic. Outside the cathedral there is huge open space, there was orchestra playing and locals began to dance a routine after a while they invited tourists to join too. I don’t know what ritual or festival it was but enjoyed an evening of a music and dance. It was late in the evening and by then my camera battery was out so I have no photos.

Street leading to Bari Gothic

Quick review:
• This street is always crowded, watch your step, and be prepared it can get overwhelming.
• Plan some leisurely time, you can't rush through a crowded place like La ramble else you may not really enjoy it.
• Be cautious about your belonging - wallets, cameras, bags, phones, it can be easily stolen.
• Be sure to bargain your way on all the purchases.

Posted by deeptisubraya 06:40 Archived in Spain Tagged people night attractions review Comments (2)

Casa Batllo – Demystifying Gaudi!


Now there are many reasons why one could visit Barcelona – football, beaches, nightlife but if you get stuck with an Architect (like I was!! ;)) then be prepared for a days of mind blowing experience as you walk in and out different buildings of Gaudi in Barcelona.

If you are sightseeing Gaudi's building from the rooftop of an open air tourist bus, my guess is, by the time you turn to see the Casa Batllo building you would have missed it. Because its among so many residential houses on that street its hard to see what the fuss is all about (Its just one more of Gaudi's building!!??!!)

It takes time and little bit of understanding to appreciate Gaudi's works, a glance is just not enough!

One of the many building that has Gaudi’s influence, is the Casa Batllo in Passeig de Gracia. It was built in 1877 but in 1904 Gaudi reformed the building for a wealthy family and it was used as a private residence. It has been recognized as a UNSECO world heritage site since 2005.

The building is now a popular tourist attraction for Gaudi fans and architectural students. Starting right from the entrance, balcony, staircase, ceiling, doors every detail has been thought out and designed by Gaudi to take you into a world of underwater or perhaps a world of myriad colours and shapes inspired by nature.

Like the chimney inspired by a mushroom

Like the top façade which looks like scales of colorful fish

Like the railing of the staircase which resembles a backbone of a vertebrate

The list goes on and what’s beautiful is the combination of unique design with functionality.
Some more unique features are

The typhoon effect on the ceiling

The parabolic arches of the attic

And yet again by the time you reach the rooftop you are left reeling!

As you walk out, you are sure to stand back and stare at the building which when built was known as 'House of Bones' by the local residents.

The building which was built to serve as a residential home, is over 100 years old and yet even today people flock to see it and it manages to capture visitors attention and makes you think about Gaudi's insight!

Quick review:
• There are long lines at the entrance of architectural students and Gaudi fans.
• There is an entrance ticket and the audio tour is additional (would definitely recommend the audio tour, it gives the story behind every aspect of the building).
• If your using the hop on hop off bus - With the city map there are various discount coupons on admission tickets, do not forget to use them!
• It took us over 2 hours to see the entire building, so again plan well and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Posted by deeptisubraya 00:27 Archived in Spain Tagged landscapes art buildings attractions Comments (0)

Park Guell - Out of a fairy tale book!


Park Guel was initially planned and commissioned to be built as garden community with luxury homes away from industrial city but was an unsuccessful venture way back in early 1900s. It was later taken over by city's municipal and converted into a public park in 1926. And it was declared a UNSECO world heritage site in 1984.

We took the hop on hop off touristic bus in Barcelona to cover the not so nearby places. And one of the must see attractions on the route is the Park Guell. I had so many other places marked out on the touristic map that I planned not to spend more than an hour at this park. But we spent a whole morning in this place.. simply wandering around. There are some beautiful views and artistic structures around filling your mind and camera's memory card ;) !!

Starting from the main entrance where there is stairs to hypostyle halls with tall columns, the pavilions, the snake like guell bench every aspect is infused so well with surrounding it does not like it has built but as if it were natural structures and a part of the landscape around.

Main Entrance to the park

Houses straight out of fairy tale books

Gaudi's signature on every structure inspired from either nature or magical world!

Long walkways along the pavilions with beautiful views of the park

Little children on school trips... there were musicians playing and artists entertaining the crowd.. (is the heading missing or what!!?????!!)

Antoni Gaudi residence - now used as a museum

Quick review:
- There were many tourists and residents even though it was regular working day.
- When we went in Nov 2010 all areas of the park were open and free. Now there is an entrance ticket to access all areas of the park.

Posted by deeptisubraya 01:13 Archived in Spain Tagged landscapes art buildings people trees attractions Comments (0)

Casa Mila - the magical rooftop!


One may ask what so different about the rooftop in Casa Mila. The average tourist may think it’s just another one of many Gaudi’s building in Barcelona with steep entrance ticket, priced at 20 Euros. But only if you have been there (rooftop) would you know that it’s an unusual world out there.

Most tourists in Barcelona, Spain visit the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell to see the genius – Antoni Gaudi’s work. But Casa Mila is a building not to be missed when in Barcelona. Designed by Gaudi and also known as La Pedrera, it was built during the year 1906-1912 for a wealthy couple as their residential home. It was only later that the building became famous for its creative design and unique architecture and in 1984 was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The building is still in use and people live here. Part of the building (interiors and rooftop) is open to the public.

Gaudi’s signature can be seen in so many aspect of the building. The tourist brochure has a detailed literature on every aspect – exterior, facades, lofts, hallway, doors, furniture, stairway, lifts, rooms, ceiling, floors etc.

But the rooftop is a straight one-way ticket to the magic world of his creative mind and I was intrigued by it. There are various chimneys and ventilation towers designed differently as if taking shape and form of some beings and it feels like being somewhere in outer space.
What could Gaudi have been thinking of, to design Chimneys (something that is not given much thought by anyone) in such a way. It demonstrates eye for detail, using structure to express creativity and his ability to create inspiring space (even on a rooftop).
When you are up there you are amazed by the different possibilities. You are propelled to ask why should things be the way they are. You are inspired to create new things, to think beyond what is taught.

On a beautiful evening in chilly November I was left speechless because it’s one rooftop with sky as the limit to your imagination!

Quick review
• There are long lines at the entrance of architectural students and Gaudi fans.
• There is an entrance ticket and the audio tour is additional (would recommend the audio tour, it gives the story behind every aspect of the building).
• If your using the hop on hop off bus - With the city map there are various discount coupons on admission tickets, do not forget to use them!

Posted by deeptisubraya 01:18 Archived in Spain Tagged art buildings attractions thoughts Comments (2)

La Sagrada Familia - History 'Under Construction'


If you Google for the 'new seven wonder of the world', your list will include:
Great wall of China in China, Taj Mahal in India, Petra in Jordan, Colosseum in Italy, Chichen Izta in Mexico, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Macchu Pichu in Peru.

And if your anything like me, my guess is, that almost any one would like to visit these places. But why are these considered to be the wonders of the world. How would it be to be a part of the era when these extra-ordinary structures were being built? What would it be like to witness history 'under construction'? If you are thinking these questions then head down to Barcelona!

One such monument or legendary building which is being built and is being studied even by the current day architects is – the Temple of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. It is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions and renowned architect Antonio Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece.
Paintings left by Gaudi on how the church should look like and present day Architects at work!

The structures that I listed above are wonders of world due to their brilliant architecture and engineering style. The world is in awe as to how these were built. Similarly, Temple Sagrada has great detail and complexity in its architecture and design. Its construction work began in 1882 and a year later Antonio Gaudi became the director, holding the post for nearly 40 years until his death in 1926. He transformed the temple with his distinctive style making it an exceptional piece of architecture. Though I am not an Architect and do not understand the architectural complexities, from a tourist point of view, Temple Sagrada is an interesting place to visit.

The easiest to appreciate and understand is the façade – external design of the project. The temple has three grand facades.
First, the Nativity Façade, the construction began in 1894 and was completed in 1930 and it was the first façade to be completed and showcases Gaudi’s direct influence. The façade faces the rising sun towards east symbolizing the birth of Christ. It is highly ornamented and decorated with scenes reminiscent of elements of life.

Nativity Facade

Intricate carvings

Second, the Passion Façade, the construction began in 1954, based on the drawings and instructions left by Gaudi for future architects. The façade faces the setting sun indicative and symbolic of the death of the Christ. In contrast to the highly decorated naturalist style of nativity façade, it is dedicated to the passion of Christ, the suffering of Jesus during his crucification, hence the façade is austere, plain and simple.

Passion Façade

Bold carvings

Third, the Glory Façade, the construction began in only 2002. It will be largest and most striking façade and will depict the Celestial Glory of the Jesus. Aware that he would not live long enough to see this façade completed, Gaudi has left general sketches of what the façade would look like.

Many aspect such as the interiors, altar, pillar, ceiling, windows, glass panes, stairs, towers everything has a story and makes it very unique.

Sagrada Familia’s construction started in 1882, a 130 years ago, it has progressed very slowly and was interrupted by Spanish Civil War. It was resumed in the 1950s and construction passed the mid point only in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges still remaining. The anticipated completion date is 2026 – the centennial of Gaudi’s death.

When Gaudi died in 1926 the temple’s construction wad only 25% completed. During those days when he was asked about the extremely long construction period, he replied, ‘my client is not in a hurry. God has all the time in the world’.

It is interesting to note that the construction of Sagrada has spanned over three eras and it is not supported by any government or official church sources. Initial stages were funded by private patrons. Currently, the money from tickets purchased by tourists is used for construction. Although the temple is incomplete it is a UNSECO World Heritage Site and in Nov 2010 the church was consecrated.

Different elements designed uniquely - Gaudi's signature

I had read about the history and structure of the building like most tourists and was aware I would be seeing the Temple during my visit to Spain but only when I stepped off the taxi and was standing right in front of the temple that I was overwhelmed and realised that, it is a truly magnificent building, marvellous creation of Gaudi and an absolute must-see when you visit Barcelona.

Barcelona city view from rooftop of Sagrada

Quick review:
• Expect long lines at the entrance and lot of crowd (because it is the most popular touristic attraction in Barcelona!!).
• The audio tour is worth paying the additional euros (other than the entrance ticket). It gives you the story behind every detail of the temple structure.
• The roof top has amazing views of Barcelona city - don't miss that!
• The place is like a construction site with cranes, dust etc in some parts of the temple (as it is yet to be completed!!) so be prepared and wear comfortable walking shoes.
• Plan a good few hours to see this place if you want to understand and appreciate Gaudi's insight. :)

Posted by deeptisubraya 00:06 Archived in Spain Tagged churches art buildings temples attractions philosophy review Comments (0)

Backpacking in Espana!


My first trip to Europe, we decided to go to Spain – not my choice but my husband’s, who has been to Europe before and feels that Barcelona is the best city in Europe and he wanted me to see it, rather experience it. Did I mention that he is an Architect, of course that’s why Barcelona, is his favourite city. Now it’s mine too!! :) :) This city has so many things to do, so much to see and there is vibe here that just inspires you (maybe its Gaudi’s influence that leaves an impression. To know more about the genius architect Antoni Gaudi refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud).
By the end of my trip I was clicking walls, tiles, floors .. there's a pattern, a story, an inspiration everywhere in Gaudi's city Barcelona!!!

We planned this trip to be a backpack trip, yes, because its cheaper to travel that way! And because I had seen in so many movies where young people just pack, roam around on metros, eurorail, live in hostels and explore the alleys of European cities. I always wanted to do something like that, and did just that! But beware in films its always easy and rosy. In real life there is no room service, no bell boy to carry your luggage, no pickup & drop off to/ from airport, no Indian veg food organized by tour operator and no tour guide to tell where you should go and what you should see. Add to that the language barrier. I didn’t know even ‘Hola’ (Spanish Hello) then. Ask any Dubai kid (expat) where we are spoiled with luxury at every step this can be daunting ;) but actually in a way it was liberating to travel on our own and explore a new city :) where all we had is the research done at home and big city maps.

We went in (early) November when the fall season just sets in and it was my first experience of cool chilly winter. Coming from Dubai it is definitely something new to experience. Seeing the green leaves turn yellow/red or waiting for the sun (hiding between the clouds) to come out, just added some magical touch to European winter experience. I suddenly had a greater appreciation for the simple things in life like a chap stick or that hot cup of coffee. I hail from South India where coffee is a common household drink and I don’t like coffee but in a place where the temperatures drops to less than 10 degrees, a hot cup of coffee is the best thing you can have. :)
Coming from tropical/desert climate the first time I saw autumn leaves.. it was magical...

Coffee and City maps our Companions on a Cold day in a new City!

In Spain we stayed three days in Barcelona, two days in Madrid and two days in Granada. In Madrid I was left speechless at art museums which initially I thought was a boring idea. But it was first time I got to see works of genius artists like Picasso and Van Gogh (To know more refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh). While Granada transported me back in time as we walked around the old forts & palaces of Alhambra.
Art & Museums could leave me speechless.. never thought so..

old alleys of Granada... I wanted to stay here forever :)

We took Air France from Dubai to Paris then to Barcelona. We reached Barcelona mid morning and took the airport tram to reach the city and stayed in a hostel, which was run by a Spanish family. After refreshing and lunch, we head to most iconic attraction of Spain – the Temple of Sagrada Familia. And right from there I was on ride of awe, surprise and wonderment, and that’s how my Spain trip remains with me in my heart and memories.

Gaudi's masterpiece - Temple of Sagrada Familia

Posted by deeptisubraya 00:18 Archived in Spain Tagged me thoughts Comments (0)

Egypt trip review

Please read the travel and tourism advise on the country you want to visit. Please research every city you plan to visit and the attractions there.

Attractions: We visited Egypt in April 2010 and took a package covering one day sightseeing in Alexandria, three days in Cairo which included city attractions and Giza pyramids, overnight train to Aswan, one day sightseeing in Aswan, two days Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor and one day sightseeing in Luxor.
Yet there were many things not covered in this package and we researched every place and asked our guide to take us to some places like Qaitbay fort in Alexandria, Memphis & Saqqara in Cairo, Feluca ride in Luxor.

Accommodation /Food: Egypt as a place is economical and we stayed in 5 star hotel in most places including the Nile cruse. The hotels are clean and comfortable however not to the standard of a 5 star. Vegetarian food was available in the hotels/nile cruise however Indian veg food was difficult to find.

Tourist traps / Shopping: Be wary of all kind of tourists trap, even though ours was a completely private booked trip with a car and guide with us at all times. It started with the the guide himself, he took us around to perfume shops, carpet factory and insisted we buy things. At every attraction, pyramids, temples, museums there are people pushing to sell you items - souvenirs, art work, postcards etc. When buying things even water - haggle on prices (though even haggling is not a straightforward deal).

General Caution: Would recommend women to dress appropriately and to travel with company. We were accompanied by guide at all times and still faced hassles at markets, attractions etc. Also be careful with your wallet/camera etc.

Tipping: It is very common and one of the most expensive items. Every person you encounter during the trip expects a tip - guide, driver, hotel staff, taxi, crew on board, beside the regular fare you pay for the services. We tipped the guide & cruise staff in USD currency, they would not take the local currency.

Season to visit: October to April is a good time to visit, Summer peaks in July-August. There is lot of walking around to do - recommend good pair of walking shoes, water and an umbrella/hat.

!! Get ready to be swamped with lots of history and be amazed ;) !!

Posted by deeptisubraya 04:10 Archived in Egypt Tagged review Comments (0)

The walls that tell an untold story

travel musings...

During my visit to Egypt I was intrigued with the temples and ancient sites than the grandeur of the great pyramids. The large walls of ancient temples tell you untold stories through its remarkably beautiful carvings of the various Gods and Goddess prevalent during the ancient Egyptian time. There are numerous stories for anyone who is patient enough to decipher from the walls (or listen to local Egyptian guide who is constantly giving away so much of history referring to the temple walls).

From Aswan to Luxor, there are numerous temple like the Kom Ombo Temple, Edfu Temple, Philae Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple and so many more. On the walls various things were sculpted like the rituals and festivals; stories of God & Goddess and significant symbols including measurement of days, months, seasons and medical instruments.
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Edfu Temple and Philae Temple

While walking through the many temples, I could not help but compare it to temples that I know of and have visited in South India. Some elements of the Egyptian temple were similar to that of ancient temples in India:
• Open courtyards in the front and halls leading to inner sanctum is common design feature of Egyptian and Indian temples.
• There were palanquins found in temple sites on which temple Idols were carried around, this is illustrated on the temple walls through the carvings showing rituals, similar practices are followed in Indian temples.
• Tall lean stone structures are found within the temple compound which are known as Obelisks in Egyptian temples while they are known as Stupas in Indian temples.
• Depiction of snakes (known as ‘Nagas’ in India) and lotus flowers (which is considered as an auspicious flower and used in rituals in India) around temple walls, similar carvings are found around Indian temple walls.
• ‘Horus’ (a significant God in Ancient Egypt) is represented as human with falcon head while ‘Garuda’ (a demi-God in Ancient India) is represented as human with eagle head.

While some other elements were in contrast:
• In ancient Egypt there was the concept of Sphinx (sculpted as a lion body with human face) whereas in Ancient India there was God Narashima (sculpted as a human body with lion face).
• There are various Gods with human body and face of an animal - in Egyptian Lord Sobek is Crocodile faced, Lord Horus is Falcon faced while in Ancient India Lord Ganesh is Elephant faced, Lord Hanuman is Monkey faced. Makes you think the Gods where inspired from the creatures found in the local region.
• Outside some Egyptian temple entrances there are many goats or bulls sculpted in stone lined up on either side while in some Indian temple entrances there is a single cow (known as Nandi) sculpted in stone.

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Carving on the temple walls

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Palanquin used in rituals of temple and Entrance of temple lined up with stone sculpted goats

Inner sanctum of a temple and Obelisk within temple compound

The list is quite long about the similarities and striking contrasts. To a trained eye of an expert in Ancient Indian & Egyptian history there is definitely lots to see and study. To a tourist’s eye it’s almost impossible to capture everything (even with a camera) but it has left me convinced of culture and heritage, which at its epitome, must have been rich, vibrant and resilient. And it’s almost difficult to believe that no part of it exists today.

In the present day Egypt there is no one who follows the ancient Egyptian way of life yet it was there, it can be seen, almost felt. It did not let itself get wiped off from the sands of time. They left a mark so strong that it stood the test of time to tell of their existence. It was as if they knew they would not be around to tell and so they left so many stories for us to find.

Posted by deeptisubraya 03:44 Archived in Egypt Tagged philosophy thoughts ancient_sites ancient_traditions Comments (0)

Sightseeing in Luxor

Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple


We were docked in Luxor and went to explore the temples in the east side of the Luxor city - Karnak temple and Luxor temple.

Temple of Karnak is also known as the temple for Amon Ra. It’s a huge temple complex and has a many ruined temples, chapels, pylons, columns, obelisks and other buildings. More than thirty pharaohs have contributed to building different kind of structures. And it has been developed since the Middle Kingdom period (around 2055 BC) period all the way through Ptolemaic period (around 30 BC), hence it is such a huge temple complex. The deities represented range from some of the earliest worshiped to those worshiped much later in the history of the Ancient Egyptian culture. Many of the features of Karnak are unique, but sheer size of the complex is overwhelming and takes more than a day to really understand and appreciate. We had a half day tour of the temple complex.

Photograph of aerial view of the Karnak Temple - the scale and size is huge.

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Grand entrance of the temple with 20 ram-headed avenue of Sphinxes on each side

Forecourts and open courts inside the temple complex

Pharaoh statues all over the temple complex and ruins of interiors of a temple

One famous aspect of Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall, which has 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.

Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak temple

Obelisk erected in the temple complex and the sacred lake of the temple

Next we went to visit the Luxor Temple,, which is another massive temple, located about 3 kms away from the Karnak temple. It was dedicated to the cult of Amun and was built by Amenhotep III (around 2055 BC) and there on many additions were made by various Pharaohs to the temple complex. During the Christian era, Alexander the Great rebuilt the Sanctuary and the inner section was converted to a church. And around 10th century the Mosque of Abou El-Hagag was built over the runis of the temple complex.
Luxor Temple
At the entrance of the first pylon, there are two seated colossi representing King Ramses II, seated on his throne.

Open court with rows of papyrus bud columns

This is one of few temples which probably has had three different religions worshipped in the same place – the ruined Egyptian temple, Christian chapel and Muslim mosque.

We were docked in Luxor and it was to be our last day in Egypt with visits to the temples on the east side of the Luxor city. However after a whole of day of sightseeing we got to know that our flight from Luxor to Dubai was cancelled and so we ended up staying for another day in Luxor city. we chose to relax during the day and sailed on the feluca (wooden boats) to watch a beautiful sunset by the nile.

Sailing by the Nile River during sunset!

Feluca ride... I was lost in the history and mystery of Egypt.. an evening .. perhaps a trip to remember!

Quick Review:
• Please read the travel and tourism advise on any country you plan to visit and research every city you plan to visit.
• The two days we were in Luxor we stayed on cruise, as per our itinerary we were supposed to fly out on the third day but our flight was cancelled and so on the third night we stayed at a hotel close by the Nile.
• The stay on cruise was comfortable with variety of food and entertainment every evening. It is customary to tip the crew on board.
• The temples in Luxor are not to be missed and I think are integral part of understanding ancient Egyptian history. The size and architecture of these temples take you to a different world.

Posted by deeptisubraya 22:42 Archived in Egypt Tagged landscapes art temples attractions ancient_sites Comments (0)

West bank of Luxor city


Next day morning our cruise docked at Luxor and our guide took us to explore the attractions on the west bank of Luxor city.

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the temple was built for the great queen Hatshepsut (18th dynasty) to commemorate her achievements and to serve as a funerary temple for her. As well as, as a sanctuary of God Amon-Ra. Subsequently her statues were destroyed by King Tohutmosis III

The temple consists of three raising imposing terraces. The 2nd terrace is accessed by a ramp. There are scenes depicting the divine birth of Hatshepsut as the queen and that she was the divine daughter of Amon-Re to legitimize her rule.

Next stop we went to the Valley of Kings. From the new Kingdom period onwards (c.1550-c.1069 BC), kings did not build pyramids in the north of Egypt for their burial but tombs were cut into the cliffs of Valley of Kings on the West Bank of Nile at Thebes. The location of the valley of Kings still has ancient, wild, unapproachable feeling to it. It is desolate and dry. The walls of royal tombs are covered with scenes depicting the pharaoh as Gods and his journey through the Underworld.

There are total of 36 tombs of which tourists are allowed to visit any three. And that pretty much gives an idea how the royal tombs were built. We visited the Tomb of Ramses II, Tomb of Ramses IX (both have color full chambers and easy access) and Tomb of Tuthmosis III (this tomb is at the far end of the valley and has some steep steps to climb.)

Quick review:
The admission ticket gives access to visit any three tombs
Cameras and Video cameras are not allowed into the valley, so not photos.
Guides are not be allowed inside the tomb.

Then we drove back to cruise and on enroute stopped to see two gigantic statues known as the Colossi of Memnon. These two huge figures are of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were at the entrance of his mortuary temple. The temple is completely destroyed with almost nothing to see expect for the two large statues. These two colossi are made of sandstone and each colossus including the pedestal and the crown is about 18mts (59ft) in height.

We stayed overnight on the cruise, which had another evening of entertainment for in-house guests. They have special celebrations if its your birthday and it was mine so I enjoyed the dancing and all the attention I got. It was one of kind experience to celebrate my birthday evening on a Nile Cruise :)

Posted by deeptisubraya 22:57 Archived in Egypt Tagged landscapes temples attractions ancient_sites Comments (0)

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