The Orton's on the Nile - 2005

Sleep & Benny Hill

Part three: Sleep & Benny Hill tour

So I fixed the fridge door, balanced the tins at the back so they did not pull the hinges off the door again, and got ready for bed. Early start on our first full day - that was taking the mick. First though I decided to turn the air conditioning off as I knew it got cold in the night with that thing on and in any case I knew a guy in the army who had his health affected by it. Went all strange, started speaking French and wearing a Kepi. YES! He caught Legionnaires Disease!!!

So with Annette muttering about it would soon be boiling again we had a go at sleeping. Soon found out why people wanted to be higher up in the ship, got woke about 0200hrs by loud banging noise outside window. At first thought it might be somebody repairing the rivets, which was strange on a welded hull ship, but no it was just the river. Couldn't be arsed to tell the Nile off for being too noisy so did best to sleep before our wake up call.

Never did find out what caused the attempt to smash our way into our cabin, but as we latter found out there was quite a tidal surge and think it was caused by this. Of course when we were parked up between other ships this was no problem.

So we next hear the phone ring it is Mohamed (tour guide not the Prophet) to tell me it is 0505hrs and breakfast is on the go. Back into shower while Annette phones 117 - we got their number, remembering to point shower head away from wall paper in corner. Managed a shave of sorts, no plug in the sink and these 10 for 37p disposables are not what they used to be.

Manage to get the lads up while Annette got ready and we all toddle up to the dining room where we get to meet Bob, Helen and Jasmine, who quickly spot us as the neighbours from hell. Adam plays his face as it is by and large continental style breakfast with a few Ersatz sausages and some cheesy scrambled eggs. Luke just eats anything he can lay hold of, we only just stop him from eating the napkin thinking it is a new type of bread. I keep my mouth shut an eye up the opposition, seem a little posh for us peasants. At least there is jolly old English style tea if you can get a waiter to bring milk over that is. Actually the place looks half empty and the service is first class. Guess the Dutch have a lie in today.

So we are off to load up with H2O by the gallon and set for a look at Valley of Kings, Hatshepsut Temple and some other ancient ruins. Then back to the boat for lunch and set off down the river in the afternoon. Oh, and of course the official welcome drink and introduction to tour over tea and cakes. Well I thought this was a bit ambitious as with my limited knowledge of the valley of the kings I thought you could spend all day there no problems.

Valley of Kings Movie - Use Windows Audio Player

Well of course it was a bit tight time wise and we were sort of given a Benny Hill speed trip round the Valley Of etc. Our entrance ticket gave us free shuftee at no less than three tombs of our choice, Tutankhamen costing extra. Tip off from guide told us all Tut's stuff was in Cairo museum not worth the extra fiver. The place was boiling hot and packed full of tourists despite our early start and having noted the direction of the best recommended tombs we set of on our thirty minute allotted tour time.

Of course the best tombs were either high up the cliff face or deep down in the bowels of the earth or even both, but as we had only 28 minutes left Annette decided to be brave and go for the mountain goat special first followed by the Arnie Sachnussem decent and hopefully the next best on the way back to our pick up point.

First leg of the climb

Well Annette was left breathless after about 10 minutes of the climb that had us all slurping our warm water before we got to the first leg. There was then a steep set of narrow stairs to the tomb entrance and then they had a similar set of wooden stairs down inside to about half way back down inside the mountain. We thought it was hot outside, but inside was like a dry sauna and sweat was dripping everywhere. No photos allowed inside and no picking up bits of the tomb for souvenirs either, at least that's what Adam told me when I showed him my piece of some Pharaohs tomb that happened to get stuck in my pocket.

The next tomb is simple called 'empty tomb' as they never found anybody in it but, it has all the decorations and cartouches of the Pharaohs, and I have to say they are right to be awfully fussy about folks using cameras as the artwork and carvings are in excellent condition considering their age and it would only take one arsehole to screw the delicate balance up and loose the lot. As it is they limit the number of visitors at anyone time because the humidity of breathing can damage the paintwork.

This tomb starts on ground level and gets so low I swear the heat is tinged with the smell of sulphur and brimstone. Below is entrance to empty tomb.

Once again it is beyond doubt worth the effort, but the time it takes to visit these two tombs means we are heading back to the bus before we know it. Most people have managed to see three of the less tricky to access tombs, but I think we did the right thing. We planned to return on a free day in Luxor, but found plenty other stuff to do. It's one thing to see all the photos and read about all this stuff, but it is totally different to experience them first hand. Maybe we will return on day and see a few more..

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Copyright 2005 D.J.Orton and A.G.Morris