|Colossi of Memnon's lonely vigil|
Just before the ticket office I shout "OK, henna" (okay, here) and jump off at the fabulous Colossi of Memnon. For most this is just a fleeting photo stop on their tour itinerary, but I stay a while. A pair of self-portrait statues they were erected by 18th dynasty king Amonhotep III 3,400 years ago and are all that remains of his mortuary temple. For me they are the gateway to the West Bank and I walk to my hotel, just behind them.
Most people think that when Egypt's Middle and New Kingdom power base moved south to Luxor (Thebes) the practise of concealing royal tombs beneath pyramids ended. Not so, every tomb in the west bank is in the shadow of 'The Horn', a pyramid-shaped mountain at the head of the Valley of the Kings. From the comfort of the Marsam (half-board, E£125) I am within hiking distance of the whole of the ancient Thebes necropolis and I'm here for a week. Great.
Thursday 10: I end my last day on the West Bank by cycling to Howard Carter's House, a picture in time. Carter was the British draughtsman turned archaeologists made famous by his discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. He himself is buried in London's Lambeth cemetery not far from where I live. So, if some time in the future you hear that some midnight-drunk has dug up Carter's grave, you'll know who it is. Poetic justice.
Slideshow of West Bank Thebes.