Our second night in Egypt we again enjoyed dinner on the roof watching the light show dance across the pyramids below. Then we were off to the train station with a hospitable Egyptian team who escorted us and ensured that we successfully boarded the "Egyptian only" train. The foreign train was a luxury, sleeper car for $60 a person, which was just beyond our budget.
We were thrilled to find a roundabout way to get on the "local" train, because otherwise, we would not have headed south to Luxor. For less than half the price together of one luxury ticket (good tips that made our assistants blush included), we travelled "Business" class and enjoyed spacious seats on a not too dirty train on the all-night, 12 hour train to Luxor. Compared to sleeping in the airport two nights before, it was wonderful.
After arriving by train and getting settled into the hotel we wisely hired a guide, part as a body guard (we were a little tired of being assaulted by people selling/begging/etc.) and part for efficiency sake. We aren't often impressed with guides in the Middle East, their knowledge often only enough to impress tourists not previously educated in the area, and more "wow" than factual.
Though Geoff had never been here, he had studied Egyptology and was familiar with the sites and the history of the places we went. Our guide for our first day in Luxor really did a good job. I know because Geoff was animated talking with him, and I understood absolutely nothing. We spent most of the day touring Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. These structures developed through the years, during the reigns of different pharoahs, in honor of various gods. They are massive, with incredible works of art everywhere we looked. A massive dust storm swept through Egypt this day, allowing us a great desert experience and making many photos fairly hazy. I took a gazillion pictures, you can be sure. No worries, I only included a few below, lest I crash my website.
Captions on the photos below were written for your benefit by my good brain. His name is Geoff.