Saturday, 18 July 2009

Luxor's West Bank - if travellers had all the time in the world

It's the age old travelling frustration. You only had a limited time in a city, town or country. En route to all of the unmissable attractions, that you simply must pack into one or two days, your eyes wandered off to the less tourist-ridden spaces. Perhaps you pressed your camera up against the car window (just like I did for this picture), an attempt to secure enough of a visual prompt to include these places in your plans next time you're here. But often, there isn't a next time.

This happened to me in Luxor. Obviously, I was itching to descend, Lara Croft-style, into ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings and then stand belittled by the Colossi of Memnon, those stoney faced mega-men. But...if only there was time to stop alongside the sugar cane fields, smell the bright pink flowers (first, finding out what they are) and colourfully painted mud brick houses that the taxi whipped by.

Next time in Luxor I'll be -

Booking a room on the East Bank rather than the West. Perhaps the Marsam Hotel and/or the Beit Sabee.

Hiring a bike and cycling around the sugarcane fields that I only viewed from altitude in a hot air balloon.

Stopping to shop at those fruit and veg stalls that appeared out of nowhere.

Watching the sun set from the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III, rather than from the terrace of the Winter Palace.
The frustration of time constraints do fuel future travel plans and force return visits.

And because things spotted en route leave their mark in your mind, a curious traveller will never be done travelling.