THE THEBAN HILLS
Please note: This tour involves some strenuous walks and is not suitable for anyone who has any mobility difficulties or suffers from vertigo.
Day 1– Monday 27th October 2014
Fly London to Luxor with EgyptAir and on arrival we take our private transfer to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for seven nights on room and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Luxor
Our tour begins with a morning tour of Luxor Temple. We have a guided tour and then Steve will show us some of the reliefs that he finds particularly interesting including a lovely image of the sculptor, Bak. We will also take a look at the Sphinx Avenue and look at recent work undertaken by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Then on to Luxor Museum to look at some of the finest Egyptian sculptures to be found anywhere in the world. We return to the hotel for a free afternoon but we will have a meeting later today to look at maps and study the various routes that we will walk during the week ahead. (B)
Day 3 – The West Bank
After an early breakfast we set off for the West Bank. We will take a motor launch across the Nile and our waiting transport will take us to Deir el Medina. This is where our first walk will start. We climb the mountain path looking at the geology and spectacular views on the way. We continue along the ridge of the mountain range before pausing to view Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el Bahri. We will look at various alignments to the East Bank on the way. We have tickets to view Hatshepsuts Temple before we take a look at the rocky crevice that once held the Royal Cache. Time to rest and take lunch at the Moon Valley Restaurant before we visit the Asasif Tombs. Our last stop of the day will be at Dra’ Abul Naga where we will enter the small but beautiful tombs of Roy and Shuroy. (BL)
Day 4 – The Temple of Amun
This morning we will have a tour of Karnak Temple. This site is vast and we will have plenty of time to explore and also enter the lovely Open-Air Museum with its reconstructed shrines and chapels. Also a rare chance to enter the Temple of Khonsu undergoing extensive cleaning work. Once again Steve will point out some of his favourite spots, including the solar alignment of the Hatshepsut and Thuthmosis areas. We return to the hotel at lunchtime and have some free time before meeting with Steve later in the day to hear more about his theories. (B)
Day 5 – Deir el Medina
Another early start as we head to the West Bank on our private launch. We go straight to the Valley of the Kings where we have entry to three tombs open on the day. Then we will walk out of the Valley over the mountain to Deir el Medina. This time we will we will look for some of the lesser known tombs such as KV39, fossils and any signs left behind from the ancient workers. We will take time to look at the workers way station before continuing over the peak of the hill and descending to Deir el Medina. This time we will stop at the village and enter the tombs that are open and look at the houses in the village that we can name. We will also enter the lovely Hathor Temple and investigate The Great Pit close by. We have a refreshing lunch at the Moon Valley before driving to the Temple of Seti I to see some fine reliefs. Our last stop will be at the famous Colossi of Memnon. (BL)
Day 6 – Ramesses
Another day on the West Bank and we begin by entering the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. After a guided tour of the temple itself we will take a look at all the remaining structures outside the walls. Steve will point out the remnants of other temples and outer buildings and we walk across the sands behind the temple looking at the geology to be found around us. We take lunch at the Moon Valley Restaurant. This afternoon we will enter the Tomb of Ramose, Governor of Thebes, where we see both classical and Amarna style reliefs within the same tomb. Then we enter the smaller but delightful tombs of Userhat and Khaemhat. Our last stop will be at the Ramesseum, Mortuary Temple of Ramesses the Great, and the inspiration for Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandias.(BL)
Day 7 –The Western Valley
Once again we cross the river and this time our destination is the Western Valley. This offshoot of the main Valley of Kings is often overlooked so after a look inside the Tomb of Ay we will explore all the side wadis and look at some of the small huts and guard posts left behind by the workmen and any evidence of further as yet unfound tombs. Steve will point out all his findings from his previous surveys. Surely the highlight of the day will be the special AWT permit to enter the tomb of Amenhotep III in the Western Valley. This tomb known as WV22 has been restored recently and has some astonishing decoration. We return to the hotel at lunchtime and this afternoon is free time for relaxation after our busy week. (B)
Day 8 – Monday 3rd November 2014
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our EgyptAir flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)
Expert: Steve Cross is a member of the EES, The Geologist’s Assoc. (UK), the Merseyside Archeology Assoc. and the Liverpool Geologists Assoc. He writes and lectures on Ancient Egypt specialising in the Valley of the Kings and the village of Deir el Medina. He was an advisor to the SCA excavations in the Central Area of the Valley 2008/09 seasons.
(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner