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Pole to Pole

Day 56: Luxor

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleI asked him about the curse that was supposed to have been visited on anyone who opened the tomb.

'No curse . . . no curse at all.'

'It was said that a mosquito flew from the tomb as it was opened.'

'No mosquito. They say there is a mosquito came out of the tomb and bite him and he died . . . he discovered the tomb in 1922, he's still inside the tomb up to 1927 . . . he died in 1939, he died a very very old man.' And not from a mosquito bite apparently.

We walk down into the tomb of Rameses III. The walls are covered in rich paintings and complex inscriptions illustrating the progress of the Pharaoh on his journey through the underworld which is filled with wicked serpents, crocodiles and other creatures waiting to devour him. Because of the dry desert air, they are well preserved, an extraordinary historical document.

The sun is setting behind the Valley of the Kings when we return on the ferry. At this indescribably beautiful time of day, when the rich golden brown of the lower sky spills on to the surface of the Nile, turning it an intense amber, and the palm trees along the bank glow for a few precious minutes in the reflection, it is not difficult to imagine the power and spectacle of a funeral procession bearing the God-King's body across this same river three and a half thousand years ago, at the beginning of his last and most important journey.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 56
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Luxor
  • Book page no: 122

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