Wednesday 7 December 2011: Caleche.. Caleche!
Any trip to Luxor is not complete without the 'Experience' of a Caleche or Hantour as the traditional Arabic people call them. Caleche meaning 'The folding hood of a horse-drawn carriage'
A seemingly 'Romantic' way to explore the streets and take in the sights, softened by the gentle and relaxing 'Clip clop' on the asphalt roads. Everywhere you look in Luxor, you see, or hear the voice of the drivers shouting 'Caleche-Caleche' or ringing their bell, touting for business, justifying it, with a crack of the whip as the wooden wheels, creak and wobble precariously as they are pulled by the horses.
If you can take the opportunity to really look at these carriages, they are quite beautiful and ornate. Exquisite silver adornments, intricately designed and polished, hands that offer protection from the 'Evil Eye' Highly polished, leather hoods that protect you from the sun in the height of summer, but in the Winter, offer shelter from those cold winds on the Corniche from the River Nile and Theban Hills.
I have often wondered from where and how, you get these carriages? How much they cost? As in recent months, we seem to have been over run by them in Luxor.
A carriage costs approximately 55,000le and the licence will set the owner back a staggering 70,000le! (Renewable each year at 1300le) I am led to believe that there are just 300 licences for a Luxor Caleche to operate here, we have had reports this summer of at least 1,000+ on our streets!
The Caleche can be bought from a number of villages, including Esna, Edfu and the famous 'Camel Market' village of Draw (Da-raw) just outside of Kom Ombo, in the Aswan Governate.
So if you do visit Luxor, no doubt you will see these carriages and hopefully be able to say, that you took a ride 'Enjoyed your time' and the horse was well and happy. P.S...check the back axle as you head off, as the children have been known to hitch a free ride there :-)