Hotel Habou, Valley of the Dead, Egypt

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Having spent the first few days of our Egypt expedition in Cairo, it was time to venture out to other parts of the country. Next on the agenda was  an all night train ride from Giza to Luxor where I would be visiting the Valley of the Dead, site of the tomb ofKing Tut, as well as many other rulers of the ancient kingdom.. The arrival in Luxor was met with an empty stomach and the sunrise. Following a delicious breakfast in the Winter Palace, we learned that there was no hotel for us for the following night.

 As is the case in third world countries, our hotel reservations were canceled without notice. I don’t think we ever had one, due to construction delays the hotel we were going to stay in had not yet been completed. The reservations had been made on the assumption that the hotel would be open.

 It was decided that the only thing to do was to leave our luggage in the lobby of the Winter Palace. With much reservation and assuming that my possessions would never be seen again, that is what I did.

 We were assured that rooms would be found for us by night fall, so after a hearty breakfast in the spacious, but sanitary challenged restaurant, off we went to see the sights of Luxor and Karnak.

 After spending  the day visiting Karnak and roaming the streets and not seeing my valuables for sale in one of the local
stores, I was pleasantly surprised when returning to the hotel, my luggage was 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 informed us that the manager of the Winter Palace
owned a ten room house across the Nile in the Valley of the Dead, if we wanted we could stay the night there! WOW!! Visions of crystal chandeliers and butlers in white gloves raced through my head, what a deal.

 The nights itinerary included a light and sound show at Karnak, As the evening came to a close  the adventure was about to begin, returning to the Winter Palace, a bellman escorted us to the river’s edge where a small boat waited to  ferry us across the Nile, where our room, chandaliers and butlers awaited us! The ferry, something straight out of the “African Queen”, was extremely crowded with standing room only. Somehow I began to get the feeling that this might turn out as I had envisioned.

 Landing on the other side of the river, it was only 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 vanished.

 This place looked like a condensed version of the Alamo.

 All the rooms were taken, we all had to split up, it would be boys with boys and girls with girls. I, being the odd man 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, the door opened there was my bed, a twin sized cot, with a large cat lying on a mattress that can best be described as “highly inadequate”. The cat immediately made a screech and a bee line
for the door while the manager tied the shutters on the window with a rope. That will keep that pesky cat out, not to mention serial killers and thieves.

  Placing my camera bag and gear under the bed and next to the wall, I placed the strap around my arm, knowing that I was safe from thieves and marauding cats, I  settled in for a night of undisturbed sleep.

  Sunup brought a surprise, I had survived the evening. Time for a shower, shave and breakfast on the sun lite patio.

 Plumbing in Egypt is rather crude, entering the community bathroom , I noticed the pipe that supplied the lavatory with water was too short, water ran all over the floor instead of into the sink, not our usual custom  in the states, we are sooo spoiled.

 We are going back to Cairo this evening, I think I will wait to shower and shave until tomorrow.

  After a pleasant breakfast on the patio, I realized we were across the street from the Habou Temple, what a surprise.It was darker than a black cat in a coal bin last night and no one saw it.

 A day of visiting the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens was awaiting as we eagerly boarded our bus, then it was back to the Hotel Habou where the rest of the group would be joining us for dinner, after enjoying a nice meal it was a short ride across the river to the train station, our train was waiting to transport us back to Cairo.

 It had been quite an experience, quite unexpected, whenever I think of Egypt, the Hotel Habou always comes to mind, along with the warmth and hospitality shown by the Egyptian people.  

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The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,

Your comments welcome

land of the pharaoh

Dating back to the land before time, Egypt continues to be a land of mystery and intrigue. Many Egyptians are still farming and earning a living today much the same way they did in ancient Egypt, almost ten thousand years ago. Most are still using irrigation water from the Nile River via the same irrigation canals used many generations ago. Not much seems to have changed in this ancient land
As I viewed the ancient Egyptian pyramids and temples, it seemed to me their civilization had digressed over time. You can’t help but wonder how the same peoples that built the pyramids, today can only build rudimentary mud huts. Homes built over 1500 years ago are like the ones constructed today.
Standing high on the plain overlooking Cairo are the pyramids of Giza. Of the nearly 70 pyramids of Egypt, these three are the most popular and well known. Reputed to be over 5,000 years old, these three landmarks have been the topic of many books, movies, and legends.
Many legends and speculation in Egyptian mythology surround the pyramids. Why were they built, and how were they built? They have been described as burial tombs for the pharaohs, and giant observatories. Speculation also exists they were ceremonial sites where the ancients performed secret rituals.
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