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Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Pyramids or Luxor?

I'm going on a Mediterranean cruise in a couple weeks which is incredibly exciting. There are a whole slew of wonderful ports we'll be stopping at- Athens, Rhodes, and Ephesus to name just a few. But the real reason I chose this particular itinerary is because we have one full day to spend in Egypt. It's a rare cruise that goes outside of Italy, Greece, Croatia, or Turkey so when I saw this one I knew it was the one we needed to book.

We spent two weeks in Egypt back in 2005. To say it was the trip of a lifetime is quite the understatement. I swore we had to get to Egypt before spawning (read: having kids) and we did- my daughter was born a little over a year later. And since she's only two, it's hard to fathom going back for such an extended trip anytime soon. Egypt is wonderful, but it's not exactly kid-friendly.

So here's the dilemma. We have one day that can be spent in Cairo or we can go to Luxor. In Cairo we're looking at doing a tour of the medieval parts of the city, mostly Ottoman, going to a mosque and market, and taking a felucca ride. And seeing the Pyramids, of course. All this would be wonderful and the excursion is relatively inexpensive.

Or we could go to Luxor to revisit the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Luxor, and Deir el-Bahri. The latter is the site of Hatshepsut's magnificent mortuary temple. I shed a few tears of joy when we were there last time, but we were only able to finagle 45 minutes out of our tour director to visit the site. (Another good reason to travel independently.) Unfortunately, this cruise excursion is painfully expensive and no one from the cruise line can definitively tell us whether we get to get out to see Deir el-Bahri. The tour description only vaguely states that you get to "view" the temple. I promise it will be pretty ugly on that bus if I'm trapped inside and only able to see Hatshepsut's temple without being allowed to get out.

And while I still have my travel journal from our past trip, going to Karnak and Deir el-Bahri right now would certainly garner some great details for various chapters in my novel. I remember the general layouts of the temple, but the nitty gritty details have escaped in the years since I last visited.

Of course, my husband tells me that if I get this novel published we'll go back to Egypt for a full trip. But that's not very helpful for the book writing process, now is it?

So, I'm still stuck deciding- the Pyramids or Luxor? What a decision, right?