Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Valley of the Kings

Hi! I know it's been a little while since I talked about my vacation in Egypt. My camera and I have been having a little disagreement. I'm still not sure that I've won the battle, but at least I was able to upload photos of some of the layouts I've created recently.

This first layout I created shows the view of Luxor as we approached from the river. In the top photo, you can see the ruins of Luxor Temple on the banks of the Nile. Can you imagine how majestic that sight must have been for ancient Egyptians sailing in to worship their gods? The second photo shows the Winter Palace. Opened in the 1880's, this hotel was THE place for the European tourists of the era to gather and socialize. The Winter Palace features frequently in the adventures of my fictional heroine, Amelia Peabody, so once again, I enjoyed putting a physical image to the imaginary one in my head. We weren't allowed to go into the building, but it was great to see it all the same.

The day after our return to Luxor, we woke before the sun rose to prepare for our visit to the west bank of the Nile. It was a struggle to be up so early, but we needed/wanted to be at the Valley of the Kings as early as possible so as to avoid the hottest part of the day. We began the morning with a quick stop at the Colossi of Memnon. These two statues are just sitting there, surrounded by nothing particular (except a few tourist kiosks, of course). We left the bus, took a few quick photos, and continued on our way:

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to bring cameras into the Valley of the Kings, and it was one of only two places that we visited during our vacation that actually strictly enforced their photography policy. So, I have no photos of the actual valley. It was a hot, dry, rather miserable place, with almost no shade. As we wandered up and down through the valleys, we could see large, gated entrances to the tombs. Many were open for exploration, but several were not. You had to pay extra to visit King Tut's tomb, and Alton and I opted not to go inside that one. Our general admission allowed us to visit three other tombs. We chose to visit the tombs of Ramses III, Ramses IX, and Thutmose IV. That last tomb required a long, hot climb up a tall hill to reach the entrance. As we approached the tomb, we could see workers on the other side of the rise, working on excavations at another tomb. Oh how I wish I could have taken photos of that!

Inside the tombs, it was still hot, but with absolutely no moving air. And the more popular the tomb, the more crowded it was. And the more crowded it was, the higher the humidity inside the passageways. So we ended up drenched in sweat as we slowly followed the crowds through the tombs. But, oh, what beautiful artwork on the walls! And I should mention that the tomb of Thutmose IV, which was so much work to get to, was not so crowded inside. In fact, it was quite empty, except for our little group, which was kind of disturbing in its own little way. Each tomb would wind down, down, down inside the mountain, to the burial chamber, often with various little rooms tucked on each side of the passageway. It was truly an amazing thing to see what the ancient Egyptians were able to create without any modern technology.

I ended up using some images that Alton bought at the Valley in order to create my layout about the Valley of the Kings. Neither are from tombs that we actually visited, but they do give an idea of what we were getting to see:

We left the Valley of the Kings feeling hot and exhausted. But of course the day wasn't over yet! We next stopped at an alabaster store and factory. We watched a short demonstration of how they shaped the stone into beautiful vases and other vessels, and then had a chance to purchase some gifts (of course there was a chance to spend some money!). There were many beautiful pieces for sale inside the store. I got several pieces as gifts for friends and family, included some little Bastet statuettes made of moonstone, which glows in the dark, and pretty little alabaster vase for my mother. I didn't end up with any alabaster for myself, which I kind of regret. Instead, I'll just have to admire Mom's piece when I go to visit her. I took some photos of the workers through the bus window. Why didn't I take them outside? Because I was grumpy and didn't want to have to pay money for the privilege of taking photos! So some of my pictures look rather crappy. Here's the layout:

I made this layout with the July challenge over at Websters Pages ning site, Inspire Me! . The challenge was to create a layout using Bloomers, which are one of my favorite products from the company. I used some older WP papers, and filled the center of the upper Bloomer with some WP trim and a hat pin:

I created the butterflies by punching them out of WP paper, inking up the edges, and adding some bling down the center of the bodies.

Okay, this post is long enough already, so I think I'll save the rest of the day's adventures for another time. And maybe the camera and I will get along long enough to take photos of some of my stitching finishes as well! Until then, happy creating everyone!


Faye said...

Your pages are so inspiring!! I love all the detail that you put into each and every one!!!

Nice job, Faye

Debby said...

What fun is your trip. I really like your layouts capture of the feel of your trip. FYI...I would necerr do it but I would have been veery tempted to use my camera on my phone!

Mary Pat Siehl said...

fab layouts! looks like an awesome trip

Staci said...

Gorgeous pages! TFS!