TravelHoundz Egypt

Nile Cruise (12/30-1/1)

January 2nd, 2007 · No Comments

Three days and nights on a luxurious boat cruising along the Nile River…what a way to spend my birthday and New Year’s! Along the way, we stopped at several temples, viewing even more incredibly preserved and impressive architecture and art from ancient Egypt. The best part though was probably just sitting on the deck of the boat, watching Egyptian scenery: the farmers tending to their fields, the animals grazing on the banks, the minarets of mosques appearing every so often, the vibrant green of the fertile Nile contrasting with the brown of the arid desert.


For pictures, click here.

Nile Cruise

One of the best parts of our trip was staying on a small but very well equipped A&K cruise boat. It had a full service restaurant, lounge, outdoor terrace, and sun deck. The rooms were great with one of the nicest showers I have ever taken while on a ship/boat. We even had Molton & Brown soaps/shampoos – I’d never heard of it before but Kim told me it was amazing stuff, and yes it was so we of course lugged whatever was left back to Paris. Having such comfy amenities made it easy to soak in the ancient sites as we meandered down the Nile.

My other favorite thing about our cruise was the food. Most of the meals were buffet style, which was great since we could try all the tasty delights. The chef was proud of his work and was good at it too. Luckily, we were able to attend a cooking class on one of the afternoons back on the boat. He walked us through three great recipes, that we got to keep and took us through the kitchen to see all the behind the scenes action.

One of our stops was in Edfu where we made a short visit to the Temple of Horus. It’s yet another mighty temple, not as grand as Karnak, but it has been preserved very well. The inner sanctuary was stunning, with its polished granite shrine that once contained the gold cult statue of Horus.

In the evening just after sunset we made a visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo otherwise known as the “crocodile temple.” The temple is actually a joint temple of both Sobek, the local god represented by a crocodile, and Horus, the main Egyptian god that is represented by a falcon. Clearly the crocodile was revered in this town on the Nile, the mummified crocs found on site as well as a clear theme of crocodiles in the relief carvings were proof of that. There was also a deep well that was used by the ancients to measure the height of the Nile. The Egyptians lived or died by the Nile, so it makes sense that they went to great lengths to understand their sometimes unpredictable water source.

Further south we finally disembarked from our luxurious Nile cruise in the town of Aswan – home to the Low & High Aswan Dams. Our minibus stopped on top of the High Dam for a look. There were heavily armed guards every 30ft protecting this precarious spot. If the dam were seriously damaged or destroyed it would wipe out the city of Aswan within minutes along with everything in its path on the way to the Mediterranean Sea—giving residents of Cairo only hours to evacuate. Even though it is one of the largest dams in the world that provides critical irrigation and hydroelectric power to Egypt, there isn’t much to see on top of the dam. Just nearby the dam is an old Obelisk Quarry home to the largest existing Obelisk. The Obelisk still lies within the quarry on its side where it was hewn from the rock. At some point it cracked and the project was abandoned. Had it been finished it would have been 42 meters tall and weighed 1168 tons.

The Temple of Philae was our last stop before we flew off to see the Abu Simbel temple south of Lake Nassar. Located on an island in reservoir created by the building of the Dam, this was another victim of the rising waters of Lake Nasser, due to the dam. The Egyptians actually had to disassemble the temple and move it from its original location to a new island. In addition, the temple has another piece of interesting history: it was “conserved” by the French who arrived in the 1900s and made their own addition, carving a decree about Napolean’s rule etc. There is even some ancient and French graffiti on some of the walls.

Since my birthday falls on December 30, I enjoyed one of the most enthusiastic Happy Birthday songs performed by the wait staff (and the head chef we later learned) during dinner. Pounding drums, one gyrating waiter, and many slightly off-tune singers belting out the song at the top of their lungs made it a memorable treat. Click here for a video.

The other entertaining event on the boat was a Egyptian Galabeya party, where the guests were invited to wear traditional Galabeyas (for sale only of course). The whole Haimsohn family and I got into the spirit. Kim insisted I put on some black eyeliner to make my costume as authentic as possible. We also celebrated New Year’s on the boat cruise. The party was fun, but the true highlight was watching one of the staff (the same gyrating waiter) burn a hole in the dance floor with his moves during a pop dance beat. He even worked some pole moves into his solo dance before the song sadly came to an end.

Tags: Egypt

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