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On a bike to meet Tutanchamon

November 16, 2010

Read my lips: “You are crazy!”

Staring faces from behind the glass of an air-conditioned bus. “Crazy to go ride on a bike in this heat!”

The bus full of tourists was driving on the broad asphalted road up to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. The Valley with the tombs of ancient Egypt pharaohs, situated up in the mountains near Luxor, on the other side of the Nile.

We are Dutch. We like bikes.

Luxor Egypt by bike

When we travel we never miss the opportunity of renting a bike. Luxor was no exception to the rule.

Of course it was hot. 35 degrees Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit. But that didn’t stop us.

The only one
It was a bit odd that we were the only one riding bikes. But as bikers we could easily stop for a minute, for example to watch the Colossus of Memnon (two guards on each side of the road after you have crossed the Nile). It is a great way to travel!

The first, rather flat part up to the Valley was easy. The last part with steep roads into the mountains, was not.

So for the last couple of miles we decided to take a taxi. But not without our bikes!

The taxidriver was so kind to strap our bikes on top of his car. It’s a pity my camera didn’t capture that.

Reaching the tombs
We reached Tutanchamon’s tomb. We parked our bikes against the rocks. The tourists from that air-conditioned bus were already leaving again.

But we just sat there. We watched the Valley. Just a place between rocks, but hiding the world’s most valued treasures. We watched the sky. A bird of prey circling, floating on hot air. We watched tourists come and go. In between we visited the tombs. Our taxi driver kept an eye on us. Was he worried about our health and safety? Or just eager to take us back to Luxor?

At Tutanchamon's tumb

Back from the Valley of the Kings to Luxor we had so much fun! Downhill, with a need for speed. We and our unique travel experience, a new merger that was there to stay for a lifetime..

Bike in Egypt Luxor temple

Discoveries by bike

What do you think? Was it irresponsible to go out on a bike or worth the risk? What is your bike travel experience?

This travel took place in May 2000.

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From → Africa

10 Comments
  1. Emiel, Egypt? I am so envious. I read three books on Egypt last year – all historical fiction by a brilliant new author, Michelle Moran, and I have been dreaming of seeing Egypt again.
    I think if you had water to hydrate, sunscreen to keep from burning, and stamina, you are not crazy – you are hungry for adventure on your own turns.
    Great post. So very happy to see you write regularly!!! Thank you :)!

  2. Thanks Farnoosh. It was indeed a hunger for adventure I guess! On a bike you have far more contact with people, that’s the big advantage.
    Ancient Egypt…you know we are planning a trip next year to Cairo. Our kids are running a school project on Egypt and the pharaos and they would love to see the pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. Let’s hope it will work out that way!

  3. Good for you for experiencing Egypt the way you want… I found it hard there personally to move about on my own as an independent traveler, so I’m glad you accomplished your goal!

    Wow, hot day though!

    • Thanks Mary! Glad to hear you made it to Egypt as well!
      In Luxor there was absolutely no problem in getting around by ourselves, especially on the other side of the Nile. But if you are a solo traveler things might be very different indeed.

  4. In that heat, what an adventure. I love that your bikes gave you the opportunity to contemlape the peace once the coaches had departed, all the more reason for not following the crowd.

    • Emiel permalink

      Thanks Heather! Indeed sometimes you have to pro-actively stimulate not following the crowds 🙂

  5. You are lucky to experience Egypt this way.Travelling on a bike is really different experience. We get a chance to explore the city from all the angles and to gain knowledge. Some believe adventure travel is pushing one’s physical boundaries. Others describe adventurous travel as stretching their mental boundaries. But I consider it as a challenge. .

    • Thank you Ben! Traveling on a bike is indeed discovering a city or country in a whole different way, you’re right. It’s more easy to approach people and you can reach places that you might have missed if you were traveling by bus or car. How about your adventurous travel, what was your most memorable experience?

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