Luxor, Egypt: A Week in the Countryside – by Barb

We had spent a few busy days in Delhi, India followed by some busy days in Cairo, Egypt. It was time to stop sight seeing for a few days,  settle in one spot, and get caught up on school and trip planning. I had found a nice apartment that we could rent for a week on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor and thought it looked ideal. Of course, you never really know until you get there but our fingers were crossed!

As it turned out, I think this has been one of my favourite places. It was out in the countryside but you could still walk up to the village in about ½ an hour.

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We had farmers on both sides and we could sit on our balcony and watch them working in the fields.

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A camel was grazing in one of the fields beside us and every few minutes a donkey cart, filled with the day’s collection from the field would trot past. It was perfect! I felt like we could relax, get some work done, but still experience the local culture.

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The man who picked us up at the train station turned out to be the brother of the owner of the apartment. He apparently was tasked with the job of being available to us every day should we need anything. This included driving us places, helping us to get groceries, etc. While at first this seemed lovely, and we did have him drive us to The Valley of the Kings, we quickly learned that his rates were a little pricier than what we had hoped to pay, and decided it was best to use local transport as much as possible. He was clearly disappointed and would come each day asking us if he could take us any where or help with anything. We explained our tight finances and hoped he understood!

At Valley of the Kings (no photos allowed near the tombs)

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So, while in Luxor we would walk into town and pick up groceries from the local stores. There weren’t a lot of options. The stores were very small and poorly stocked. We had to get a bit creative with meals: what can you make with 3 eggs, a can of tuna, and some rice? There was only 1 package of meat in the freezer and we had to go to a different shop for fruits and veggies. Still, we managed just fine and it was nice to be able to do our own cooking.

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Once in the village, there was a ferry that the locals used to travel across to the east bank, where Luxor city centre lay. We were able to catch this ferry for less than $1 for all 4 of us, so it was a great way to travel.

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Once on the east bank we were harassed much more because the caleche drivers (horses with buggies) waited there for tourists. Unfortunately, Egypt’s tourist industry is suffering tremendously right now. We hardly saw any other foreigners; and of course this meant everyone was desperate for our business.

One night we caught the ferry across and visited the Luxor Temple. It was beautiful to see it in the evening. There was something special about seeing it lit up. I’d highly recommend it.

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Another day we decided to catch a calech to Karnak Temple.

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A lot of the time, we just enjoyed our home in the country. We watched some documentaries about the Egyptian mummies, got caught up on lots of school work, and tried to plan the weeks ahead.

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One of the highlights of our stay in Luxor was spending time with a local Egyptian family. You can read more about that in Clay’s blog….

 

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