SIX DAYS IN LUXOR
The Hallwyl party spent six days in Luxor visiting all the temples and tombs. Lady's companion Ida Uhse describes one of those days here:
“11th of Jan. We rowed across the Nile to the shore and arrived at the Temple of Sethos, the columnar façade of which can be seen from a distance. You have to admire the exquisite beauty of the inscriptions and reliefs. We saw several halls and smaller rooms, as well as the inner sanctum, all with the most delightful decorations. Near the temple there is a well with a winch, which we rode past on our way into Valley of the Kings. The Countess, the Count and I made the journey in between the mountains; the narrow valley was surrounded by brownish-red rocks that were illuminated by the sun and the entire landscape had an air of great desolation and solitude; only a few desert plants could be seen, and the only animals that live here are the jackals, wolves, eagles, falcons, owls, bats and snakes, along with the flies and the wasps.
After about an hour’s ride through the valley, you take the left road that leads to Biban el-Muluk, or the Valley of the Kings. We saw four tombs, those of Ramesses III, IV, IX and X; the fifth tomb, that of Ramesses II, had collapsed and been destroyed. The walls of all the tombs are covered in reliefs and inscriptions. We returned via the route over the mountain, and at its foot we met up with Ellen, Irma and their husbands. There, we had our packed breakfast and then visited a few temples and the Colossus of Memnon. This consists of two cube-shaped thrones, each with a sitting giant, originally 21 m high. The legs of the statue are covered in Latin and Greek inscriptions. Then we rowed back across the Nile.
It had been a very lovely day, rich in the enjoyment of nature and art. The Egyptian art, in my opinion, is somewhat monotonous; the greatest impression comes from its overwhelming supernatural size. The well-preserved colours of columns and frescos are also admirable, as they have not been exposed to rain or vandalisation by virtue of being buried in the sand for thousands of years.”