Friday, October 06, 2023

Israel/Egypt/Jordan 2023 - Day #10 - Hot Air Balloon Ride & Dendera Temple

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Luxor’s Temples and Monuments Bathed in Sunrise

Take to the sky with an experienced balloonist and guide as you rise above the Nile’s west bank for spectacular sunrise views. Your extraordinary morning begins early with a boxed breakfast, followed by a motorboat ride across the Nile. As you proceed to our launching area, you will receive a short orientation. Upon arrival at the balloon site, you will board your hot air balloon and rise into the sky for a breathtaking aerial tour. Gentle breezes accompany you and your skilled pilot guide as you float over the ancient temples and burial grounds of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens on the Nile’s west bank. The serenity of dawn under Egyptian skies adds a peaceful aura to your experience as you glide over tombs, the historic Nile River and the fertile valley. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget. Note that this tour is weather dependent.

Dendera Temple Exploration

View Ancient Art and Architecture

Return to the time of the pharaohs with a tour of Dendera Temple, one of Egypt’s best -preserved temple complexes.

Located on the west bank of the Nile River on the edge of the desert, this massive complex dates back to the mid-4th century BC, though archaeologists believe a temple has existed on the site since 2250 BC. Visit the main temple, Hathor, and admire the many examples of Ptolemaic Egyptian art adorning its chambers. View the Dendera Zodiac, a unique bas-relief sculpture from the Greco-Roman period that maps the ancient sky. The original was taken by the French in 1820 and now sits in the Louvre; what remains is a replica. Also, examine the controversial Dendera Light, three stone reliefs depicting what some say was ancient Egyptian electrical lighting technology (others contest it represents Egyptian mythology). Explore the subterranean necropolis and crypts before returning to your ship.
Up at 330 am, after a quick bite to eat, the group was on the bus before 5 am. I had not originally signed up for the hot air ballooning, but decided on Tuesday to do it. Frankly, I didn't want to have to listen to everyone give me a hard time about not going over the next two weeks.

It was pretty spectacular. We had a forty-five minute balloon ride over the West Bank of the Nile. The eight of us were at one end of a basket that had twenty-eight people in it. We will be taking an excursion tomorrow to explore the area, including the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of Queens.

Back at the MS Antares, we had breakfast. Running on an average of less than five hours of sleep over the previous four nights. I went back to bed for while in the morning.

I had a Chief Noisce Salad for lunch.

AFter the morning excursion, the boat steamed downriver to Qena. We explored the Dendera Temple. The temple complex was built over a period of several centuries beginning in the Ptolemaic period (305–30 BCE) and continuing into the Roman period. The complex is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the goddess of love, fertility, and joy.

After the excursion, we jumped in the pool as we were crusing back to Luxor. It was 104 during the excursion!

Before dinner, we joined the boat for a cockail hour with the Hotel Manager (Mark). One of the guides then did an overview of what we would be doing tomorrow.

For dinner, they are offering a regional tasting menu. I had El San El Asfour [minced lamb, vermicelli noodles, chicken broth] as a starter and Lahma Bil Basal [braised beef, onion, sweet potato mousseline, grilled vegetables] as an entree.

After dinner, a subgroup of us particpated in a Pyramid Trivial contest. We ended up winning based on knowing locations of the Olympics over the last hundred and twenty years.

I crashed a little after 10 pm. Unforunately, I finished the day with an intestinal issue.

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