What would King Tut say?

I think just about every person studied the story of King Tutankhamun in school. The story of the boy king who died so suddenly and was buried in an elaborate tomb in the Valley of the Kings. For thousands of years he lay undiscovered in his tomb until Howard Carter stumbled upon it in 1922. Sometimes true life is more fascinating than fiction and this indeed reads like a Raiders of the Lost Ark story – but it is all real.

Carter searched for 6 years to find the tomb and when his backer (Lord Carnarvon) gave him just one more year’s grace, lo and behold – he uncovered some steps in the desert and the rest, as they say, is history.

What made me think about this? A National Geographic article I came across where they are now speculating about the brown spots on the wall of King Tut’s tomb and whether these are bacterial in nature and could they be evidence of what caused the young King’s death. The good news is that you are OK – you can still go and visit the tomb and the brown spots are not dangerous.

That is you can go and visit when we all get back to normal!

But something else in that article gave me pause for thought. The problem of keeping the tomb dust free is very difficult considering that it is in the middle of the desert and the tomb has 500 to 1000 visitors EVERY DAY! Oh my goodness. So here is something good to come out of COVID for our post-covid travel. It makes a strong case case for visiting hitherto closed up historical sites, cities, countries. You will experience these places without the thousands of tourists. Imagine being the only person in St Mark’s Square? Well I doubt that would happen but if you have ever been in St Mark’s Square when it is jam packed I know you will appreciate less people. You could get that chance when tourism starts up again because it will be slow and that will be the ideal opportunity to enjoy these places without the crowds.

Like King Tut! After the revolution in 2011 everything stopped for Egypt’s tourism. In 2013 I decided to go and visit the source of the tales that had fascinated me since childhood. I figured that tourism was starting up again and I could see it before the crowds. I was so lucky to visit King Tut and be in his tomb with no line up and just the guide, me and my husband. Wow.

So maybe King Tut has a message for us. Maybe he is lying there in his tomb thinking about the ebb and flow of visitors over the years as wars come and go – as do plagues, and flu and now COVID.

When things open up don’t wait! Go when the crowds are small and the experience is intimate. This is your chance.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


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