If you, like me, are longing for a return of the days when we can travel without restriction, to venture off someplace hot, to learn about a different culture and see amazing sights, you might perhaps be dreaming (as I am) of a trip to Egypt. Here in the UK, Egypt is currently on the red list, so no-go. To console myself, I’ve been looking at photos from past trips (of which there have been many: Egypt is my favorite place on the planet).
In my series of action-adventure-mystery novels following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, the drama unfolds in and around some of the most iconic sites along the Nile.
So, I thought I’d combine a trip down memory lane with a few pictures of some of the key locations I used in the first book in my (now 10 book) series Carter’s Conundrums.
The story starts with my female protagonist, Merry, on a post-redundancy holiday to Luxor, getting accidentally locked in the Howard Carter House. This, where the famous British excavator lived while searching for and ultimately finding Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Now it is a museum. Sadly, many of the contents are not Carter originals, but it still gives an insight into what it might have felt like to call the place “home”.
My story starts with Merry trying to escape through the window shown in the picture below.
Lucky for Merry, she is rescued without having to spend the whole night trapped in there. But not before she has made a chance discovery. It sets her off on a weird sort of treasure hunt to de-code a set of hieroglyphics and see where they may lead her.
While on her post-redundancy trip, Merry is staying at the Jolie Ville hotel. Set on King’s Island, a private island in The Nile, connected to the mainland by a short bridge, it is a beautiful botanical oasis in dust-strewn Luxor. I have had the pleasure of staying there, and can attest to the beautiful gardens, fabulous pools, comfortable rooms, great food and attentive service. It also has a small zoo. Oh, and Ramses the camel !
Things for Merry are about to get interesting. After a chance meeting in front of the perfectly preserved statue of Thutmosis III in the Luxor Museum, Merry runs into “thwarted Egyptologist” Adam Tennyson on the forecourt of Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple. Here, she finds the original wall relief showing Queen Ahmes, Hatshepsut’s mother, shown here…
The first stop on Merry’s whirlwind treasure hunt is the magnificent Karnak Temple. The largest religious structure ever built, dedicated to the Theban God Amun, it sits opposite Hatshepsut’s Temple on the other side of The Nile.
Next, to help her unravel the mystery she has stumbled across, Merry travels to Cairo. There, she ends up staying in one of its most iconic hotels, The Mena House, once a Khedive hunting lodge. This historic hotel is one of Egypt’s finest (named for Egypt’s first pharaoh). It sits – literally – in the shadows of the Giza pyramid plateau. Surely one of the best locations on earth !
While in Cairo, Merry visits the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, site of the Stepped Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, built by his architect, Imhotep. Here, Merry has a breakthrough. It’s a fabulous place, full of atmosphere. The Stepped Pyramid is Egypt’s first, the prototype for he Giza pyramids, and pre-dates them all.
Once Merry is back in Luxor, she visits the iconic Winter Palace Hotel. This, where Earl Carnarvon stayed while Howard Carter was excavating King Tut’s Tomb, and where Carter made the thrilling announcement of the tomb’s discovery. This is possibly my favourite place in Egypt. I don’t imagine too much has changed since the days of Carter and Carnarvon.
And her first adventure, of course, has to take in the mesmerizing Valley of the Kings. This natural wadi is dominated by the pyramid-shaped mountain of Meret-Seger (she who loves silence) which looms over it. The question is, is there still anything left here to discover? And might Merry be the one to find it ?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of some of the fabulous sites in the Land of the Pharaohs, and that you might consider reading the books to find out more…
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.