Valley of the Kings
With breakfast out of the way and a fresh supply of cold water on board, we set off for the world’s most famous cemetery. Here, again, the Luxor Pass really came into its own, not only could we visit the tomb of Seti I, but also any of the other tombs that were open. With 11 tombs open, here was another good return on the pass price.
Seeing as there were already several tour buses in the parking area, we elected to hit the most famous first, before it got too busy. Strikingly different from the other royal tombs in the valley, Tutankhamun’s is cramped and gives the impression that it was finished in a hurry. As always, we drew a small crowd as we talked through who was who in the wall paintings, and what the hieroglyphs said.
Next door and next on the list was the long descent into KV8, the tomb of Merenptah. On the other side of the valley was Seti I, and for sheer majesty alone, I don’t think this tomb can be beaten, with possibly the exception of that of Queen Nefertari.
Back across the valley to the other side of KV62 lies the joint tomb of Ramses V and VI, here one cannot help but be awed at the sight of the huge anthropoid sarcophagus that lies at the end of this traditionally straight Rameside tomb, even in its somewhat broken state.
Ramses III, for me, along with KV14, Tausert and Setnakht, is one of the most beautiful tombs in the valley. Maybe it is the contrast of the rich colours against the white background. Close to KV14, lie the resting places of Seti II and Siptah.
There was still time to do Ramses IX, before visiting KV1 and KV2 as we headed off in search of lunch. By popular consent it was a return to the Ramasseum Rest House and the Abd el Rasoul family kitchen.
After lunch we headed back to the Valley of the Kings, this time taking the road off to the right and up the Western Valley. Ostensibly we were going to see the tomb of Ay, the successor to Tutankhamun, but there was tacit understanding that we would all keep an eye out for whatever was going on in the way of the current dig happening under the watchful eye of Dr Zahi Hawass. Plenty of signs of recent activity, but nothing really to report other than a tent and some chairs. We all wait with bated breath for next year. On the way out we stopped off at WV25, possibly the beginnings of a royal tomb for the young Amenhotep IV. We also paid a visit to the entrance to the closed final resting place of Tutankhamun’s grandfather.
All this Amarna family related activity reminded us that the Aten was slowly sinking behind the mountains and it was time for the pool and something cold.