Cruisin' the Nile
Trip Start May 07, 2005
117Trip End Ongoing
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We wanted to check in as soon as possible. The boat is fairly nice. I was dubious about it's "5 star" rating. I had seen one website talking about Egyptian cruises. It listed three type of "5 star" -- standard, deluxe, and superior. It described the standard as about equivalent to Motel 6. We'd be happy with Motel 6 but were hoping for something nicer. Sure enough the cruise was everything we had hoped for. The room was huge, bigger than any cruise or ferry or train we had been on and bigger than many hotel rooms.
The first night we spent in Luxor harbor. Kim and I were Luxored out so we watched movies all evening. The second day we stopped in Edfu and Kom Ombo. Edfu is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. It's dedicated to Horus and wandering around really helped visualize what some of the other temples must have looked like. My advice to Egypt travellers would be to see this temple before others.
Kom Ombo is another great temple. Christians fleeing the Romans lived there for quite a while and defaced much of it but since half of it was buried the bottom half is very well preserved
The third day we came to Aswan. We saw the temple of Philae, the unfinished obelisk, and took a felucca ride to Elephantine Island in the middle of the Nile.
Philae is dominated by a temple to Isis that was used long after most ancient Egyptian worship had stopped
We stopped by the unfinished obelisk which is on the way to town from Philae. It is an ancient granite quarry where an obelisk was being carved out of the rock. It was almost finished when a flaw was discovered and it was abandoned. If it had been finished it would be the largest piece of quarried stone in the world. All in all not very impressive and hardly worth the price of admission
We took a felucca ride to Elephantine island before we had to catch our train to Cairo. Elephantine island has a large Nubian village and a good museum. We didn't have much time so we zipped through both. We saw some mummies and some very nice tombs. There is an excavation in progress which looked interested if we had more time. The village looked very poor (even more than Luxor) but nobody was starving and people seemed friendly. Someone tried to guide us but we finally convinced him to leave us wander alone. He told us not to take pictures of anybody in the village. We got to briefly meet the town elder that our guidebook mentioned. He was exactly where the book said he would be, resting against the fence at the museum. He introduced himself as "Haman from the guidebooks". We didn't have enough time to talk with him. The felucca (sailboat) was very nice. It was a perfect day for sailing with a moderate wind blowing against the current of the Nile. It was a fast ride to the island but we had to tac a lot on the way back. The felucca drivers would talk to each other when their boats passed close enough and it was interesting to listen to their broken conversations.
The train to Cairo was uneventful and just like the train to Luxor (mentioned in a previous entry) although we had a little more time to sleep.