Our third day and we hired some bikes to take us into the west bank to see the Valley of the Kings. We selected the bikes early and we were off by 8:30 - Ken had an Egyptian breakfast (falafel and beans) so was jet propelled. We started along the flat in reasonably cool weather and ended up going up hill to the Valley of the Kings very hot and sweaty. It took ages to decide which tombs to see - the ones we had picked out from the guide books were all closed. The one we wanted was (typically) the furthest away half way up the mountain. We went up the hill and into the tomb. We were almost on our own as none of the tour groups could make it up the hill - it was truly impressive. Our homework done at the British Museum was paying off as we could recognize some of the scenes depicted on the tomb. We then decided to finish climbing up the mountain to see the view over the Nile valley and the temples. The view was well worth the climb - although not the amount of money the chap who decided to guide us wanted.
After this it was another couple of tombs - both impressive and even better that we could see them in peace as all the tour parties had gone back to their boats for lunch. We then freewheeled down the hill to see the Temple of Hatshepsut - a really impressive site with the temple built into the cliffs. This temple seemed full of Russians dressed bizarrely - many in skimpy clothes that made the Brits look very respectful to their Islamic hosts.
We arrived back exhausted and after a rest, headed back into the city. We were a bit nervous as we were getting reports of the troubles in Cairo and up north - hadn't really affected us apart from the Internet being closed down and the kids sending us panicking texts (talk about role reversal!!). We went into Luxor city to go to the tourist office. The people in there suddenly got very twitchy as they had been told to close all government buildings. We went off and had the best meal so far in a delightful place decked out in 30s style. All seemed quiet on the streets.
Day 4 in Luxor and we hired the bikes again to see the other West bank sites. When we stopped to get tickets, it was by a police station and there was a police 4x4 with windows smashed and dents in it. Despite it all looking fresh and it causing a lot of interest from the Egyptians around, the police insisted the damage was done some time ago - we were sceptical.
The first visit was to the valley of the Queens. The place was empty of tourists - either the tours don't come here or they know something we don't. The tombs were beautifully decorated. From there we went to the workman's village to see another set of tombs. These were a little claustrophobic but amazing inside. Next stop was the valley of the nobles - here the decorations inside the tombs were different - one full of grapes - obviously they had different priorities in the afterlife. Finally we decided to take in one more temple and went to Medinet Habu. This was a vast temple complex, beautifully decorated and almost deserted.
We arrived back to the village and had a chat with some of the locals - they were playing things down but said there had been trouble in Luxor. We had a chat with the hotel owner who said the party HQ had been burned and there was looting in the town. It also impacted our travel plans as we had planned to take a minibus to Aswan and stop of at some sights on the way. These sights were now closed so we would have to go directly there. We went to bed a little nervous.