Flying over the Egyptian landscape near Luxor in a hot air balloon remains one of the highlights of my travels. So much so that I actually turned off my camera part of the time and simply enjoyed living in the moment rather than recording it for later. But our flight was to see the sun rise over the valley of the kings, and as we began our descent, a different landscape came into focus and I had to take out the camera one more time. For bonus points, I included another balloon that landed before us - isn't the scale amazing? It looks so small!
Still there was something about these lush fertile fields that were so at odds with our general thoughts of Egypt. We think of Egypt and we think desert. Of course, there is a massive dessert, but the Egyptians have been farming on the banks of the Nile in that fertile valley for thousands of years. They've tamed it somewhat but it was the predictable flooding of the Nile that made this land near it capable of supporting successive civilizations through the centuries.
I'd gotten a glimpse of these farms before but the aerial view of them was a completely different matter. And what amazing landscape, eh? Green fields, dazzling skies, and a little red hot air balloon landing amidst it.
February 1st, 2013
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