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Hotel Habou – Valley of the Dead, Egypt
After spending the first few days of our Egypt expedition in Cairo, it was time to move on to other parts of the country. Next on the agenda was an overnight train journey from Giza to Luxor where I would visit the Valley of the Dead, site of King Tut’s tomb as well as many other rulers of the Old Kingdom.
Reached Luxor empty stomach and sunrise! After a delicious breakfast at the Winter Palace we found out that there was no hotel for us the following night. Like any third world country, our hotel reservations were canceled without notice. I don’t think we’ll ever have any, the hotel we were supposed to be staying in wasn’t finished yet due to construction delays. The reservation was made thinking that the hotel would be open.
It was decided to leave our luggage in the lobby of the Winter Palace! I did just that, with a lot of reservations and the assumption that my possessions would never be seen again.
We were assured of rooms until late at night, so after a hearty breakfast in a spacious, but hygiene-challenged restaurant, we set off to see the sights of Luxor and Karnak.
After walking the streets all day visiting Karnak and not seeing my valuables for sale in one of the local stores, I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to the hotel to find my luggage still lying in the middle of the hotel lobby, untouched.
A friend John and I were met at the door by a fellow traveler who told us that the manager of the Winter Palace owned a ten-room house across the Nile in the Dead Valley where we could stay the night if we wanted! Wow! Visions of crystal chandeliers and white-gloved butlers flashed through my head, what a story!
The night journey included a light and sound show at Karnak, the adventure was set to begin as dusk approached, on the way back to the Winter Palace, an hourglass took us to the river bank where a small boat was waiting to take us across the river. Nile, where our room, chandelier and butler awaited us! Ferry, something straight out of “African Queen”, had a massive standing room only crowd! Somehow I began to think that it would turn out as I had imagined!
Landing on the other side, it was just a short ride in a super sub compact car to our hotel. As we pulled up in front of the hotel, all my visions of chandeliers and butlers disappeared!
The place looked like a shrunken version of the Alamo!
All the rooms were taken, we all had to separate, it would be boys with boys and girls with girls. I, being the odd one out, was chosen to share a room with a young English bloke!
It was getting late, time to hit the sack! Another surprise awaited me, when I opened the door there was my bed, a double size bed, with a large cat lying on a mattress that could only be described as “very inadequate”. The cat immediately barked at the door and made a bee line while the manager roped up the window shutters. It will keep away those pesky cats, not to mention serial killers and thieves!
Placing my camera bag and gear under the bed and against the wall, I put the strap around my arm, knowing I was safe from thieves and rogue cats, I slept undisturbed through the night.
Sunap brought a surprise, I was saved from the evening! Time for a shower, shave and breakfast on the sunlit patio!
The plumbing in Egypt is rather crude, upon entering the community bathroom, I noticed that the water supply pipe to the toilet was very short, the water flowed all over the floor instead of going into the sink, not our usual practice in the States, we are so spoiled!
We’re going back to Cairo this evening, I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to shower and shave.
After a hearty breakfast on the patio, I realized we were across the road from Habu Temple, what a surprise! It was darker than the black cat in the coal bin last night and no one saw it!
A day of visiting the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens awaited as we eagerly boarded our bus, then returned to Hotel Habu where the rest of the group would join us for dinner, after enjoying a sumptuous meal. It was a short journey across the river to the railway station, where our train was waiting to take us back to Cairo.
It was an experience, quite unexpected, when I think about Egypt, Hotel Habou always comes to mind, the warmth and hospitality shown by the Egyptians.
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