Had a very early start at 4.15am to get ready for the Hot Air Ballooning. I was the only person doing it, and had to be down in the lobby at 5.00am with bags packed and ready to go.
Got picked up and then taking down to the river where they loaded us onto a small boat to cross the Nile. Provided tea and coffee, as well as life jackets which we all had to put on. Still dark and rather chilly at this time. Once on the other side we were taken via vans to the take off site of the balloons. When we arrived they were still blowing them up which took another 15mins or so.
Our ballon was the 2nd to be ready and we took off around 6.30am I think it was. Our 'basket' could hold 24 people and was completely full, luckily I was standing on an outside corner as we couldn't move around at all within them.
The flight lasted over an hour, and we spent most the time floating around over the West Bank of Luxor and just across from the Nile. We were up in the air for the sunrise which was amazing as it was a very nice morning. Got a great view of the West Bank and also the communities below us. For the landing we flew very low over some sugar cane fields then only just above some peoples houses to land in an open area just behind them. Was amazing to fly over the houses and see the conditions that the poorer people lived in. Looked like they had half a farm living within their houses sometimes, with sheep, goats and chickens all in their.
Had a fairly smooth landing before a hoard of local kids came up and started asking for money from us all. Went via boat and van back to the hotel in time to link up with the rest of the group. Very good morning, only disappointing part was the large amount of haze over Luxor itself.
Once with at the hotel I grabbed a quick boxed breakfast and then the group headed out to the Valley of the Kings. This is the burial site for many of the pharaohs including the famous tomb of Tutankhamen. After the standard tour by Wally, we were given enough time to explore 3 of the tombs. They had of course being stripped out of all their treasures by robbers throughout the years, although the tombs themselves and also the inscriptions on the walls were still good to look at. Some of them went a long way underground. We didn't go inside Tutankhamen as it cost extra and were advised that it wasn't worth it.
From there we went to the temple of Hatshepsut. She was one of the few female pharaohs and after her death, her Nephew became pharaoh and attempted to remove her from history by erasing mention of her through the temples and palaces etc.
On the way back to Luxor, stopped off at McDonald's again for a quick lunch and were promptly hounded by young street children. One of whom even tried to board the bus.
Last stop for the day was the very large Karnak temple. By this stage we had all seen enough temples that they were starting to blend in together. But the size and scale of this one was impressive, if nothing else.
We went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and also say goodbye to those that were doing the 9 day tour, as they stayed in Luxor. We left the hotel around 4.30pm, as we had to be at a checkpoint before 6pm to be able to travel to Hurghada. The drive wasn't too bad, lasted around 5hrs and we eventually reached there on time. Checked into the very nice Roma hotel which was just across from the beach and on one end of the main street. Went and got a quick kebab for dinner with the others and then off to bed.