The 6t-agers on the road !
Trip from Hurghada to Luxor
During our 2 weeks holidays in Hurghada (Red Sea) we decided to do an excursion to Luxor where all the important historical places are located around the town. The distance was only about 350 km (218 miles) and we thought it would be a pity to be so close and not to visit all these wonderful places.
It was an organized tour with a guide. To get to Luxor you have to go through the desert as you can see on the above map. It is not allowed to go through that area without military police escort and only by convoy. This has been created because of the massacre of tourists on November 17, 1997 at the Hatshepsut Temple. Six gunmen disguised as police, emerged from nearby cliffs, and fired randomly at tourists, killing 70.
The convoy gathered at a parking lot outside Hourgada and at 7 am we started. About 3 1/2 h later, we made a first stop to visit an alabaster factory. I had done this trip already in 2001 but it was still a quite thrilling feeling to go through the desert escorted by heavily armed police while the landscape looked so peaceful.
The convoy was made up with tourist buses, trucks of all kind and sizes and private cars (only Egyptian citizens, no tourists). Tourists are not allowed to travel alone. If they want to go by their own, they have to rent a car with a driver. I have to say it would never come into my mind either to go of my own. The touristic cities are quite safe and the tourists well protected from beggars and very aggressive street sellers. But in other areas it is not at all the same.
The population on the countryside is rather poor and therefore a tourist a good victim to get something from him. Even when it's only a ballpen. Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, and tourism. Therefore there is a lot done for the safety of the tourists.
The parking lot where the convoy is put together immediately surrounded by sellers of all kind
children and women ready to pose for a picture for little money
It starts !
and it is very long ! About 80 vehicules (only) because it's low season in summer there are much more.
View out of the window. Everywhere military police watching points
and the beautiful landscape of the desert
After having been escorted behind, besides and in front of the convoy with military jeeps, the convoy separated at one point and we stopped in a little village Zalat to visit the Alabaster factory. Honnestly I would have prefered to continue to Karnak and have more time to visit there. But the factory was interesting too after all.
We all wanted to see how they work alabaster
Here is the place without people. I waited until they were all in the annexed shop !
Before going inside I took these pictures of wonderful wall paintings. Look at the last one which shows cute little tourists (with camera of course) visiting the sites.
Inside was a real cavern of Ali Baba !
Cats, pyramides, statues, bowls etc. whatever you wished
And these are some pictures of outside the factory. (with a lonely tourist who probably escaped from the Alabaster factory).
I found a video on the web and as it is exactly the same as what we have seen I propose to look at this to get an idea of going through the desert in a convoy.
Next stop will be tomorrow Dec 2 at the the Karnak temple complex.