Trip Start Dec 21, 2010
13Trip End Jan 05, 2011
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The shows after dinner had dancers, horses and gorillas, pretty hilarious! We also did some more Nubian style dancing until we were too tired to dance anymore. About two minutes after midnight we went to bed because we had another early morning.
We left at 6am for an optional tour to St Simeon via camel ride through the desert. We were both a little nervous about getting on the camels, those things are so tall! The trick is to lean forward and then back as the camel is getting up off the ground, or just ask Brian since he says he is a professional camel rider now.
We each had someone to help us with the camels but mine was pretty competitive. He didn't want any other camel passing me so we ended up in a gallop several times, I think I let out a squeal or two... One woman in our group had her camel really take off and she bouncing around for awhile. The camels were mostly calm and quiet though.
The ride through the desert was wonderful, there was nothing but sand dunes in every direction. After about 45 minutes we approached St Simeon monastery. The monastery is from the 6th century and was abandoned around the end of the 13th century. Our guide for the monastery was great, he was so excited to show us around and very funny too.
We were able to see the main sanctuary, bedrooms, kitchens, ovens, stables for the horses and even the toilets.
We got back on the camels and took a much quicker route back to the Nile to get back on our ferry which only took about 10 minutes. This was one of the highlights of the trip for us, the solitude of the desert, riding a camel for the first time and being able to explore an ancient monastery!
We also opted for the High Dam and Philae Temple excursion so we went back to the boat and got ready to meet up again. We weren't too excited about seeing the dam, although I understand the importance of the dam for Egypt. Prior to it being built the Nile was still flooding areas all along the river with very high flood waters. We didn't want to miss out on Philae Temple though, so it was all or nothing. We did stop at an interesting monument by the dam which pays tribute to the former Soviet Union for their assistance in constructing the dam. Initially the US was to help with the dam but the offer was withdrawn.
Next we drove to the ticket booth for Philae Temple and had to take a short boat ride to get to the temple since it is located on an island. The temple had to be moved from it's original location because of the High Dam water levels. There is much of the temple that was constructed by the Romans and you can see the columns that are Roman.
This temple was also used by early Christians and there is even an alter that was constructed by them.
After exploring the temple we met up with the group and took the boat back to our bus. Shortly after boarding the M/S Kira we were finally ready to begin cruising up the Nile. We hung out by the pool for awhile and met back up in the lobby once we arrived in Kom Ombo to visit another temple. This was interesting to visit a temple at night and the area was beautifully lit.
There were many interesting and important scenes here at this temple. Half of the temple is dedicated to Hathor and the other half to the crocodile god, Sobek. There is also proof that this was the location of a major hospital for the ancient Egyptians. The carvings show surgical instruments and even how women gave birth back then in a crouched position.
This was one of our favorite temples and our guide explained many of the scenes to us. The temples are all wonderful but I can't imagine going through them all on my own and not getting a full understanding of what you are looking at.