Sunday, 14 March 2010

Egypt.March 2010. Aswan to Edfu. 4 Night Nile Cruise. Day Two.

We were woken at 05.30 by our wake up call, and by the time we assembled in the lobby at 07.30 were ready to go.
Even though we were a small group, a large 40 seater coach arrived to take us up to the Aswan High Dam. The Egyptian Russian Monument at Aswan High Dam.
It was a short ride on the bus to the boats taking us over to Philae Temple. Philae Temple was dismantled and reassembled, on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island. I think this happened as a result of the building of the Dam. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It's various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temples of Emperor Hadrian, Hathor and Trajan. A Birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. I am so glad I had read parts of the book ‘Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt' by Robert A Armour prior to my trip, as it helped in my understanding of some of these carvings, and I like that myth.At night you can also visit the Sound and Light Show, it is billed as a ‘magical experience, with the floodlit buildings silhouetted against the volcanic rocks and water surrounding them’. Unfortunately we did not have time for this experience.
All to soon it was back on the bus for another short ride to the Unfinished Obelisk.
In the ancient times I should have think the workforce in the very hot and dusty quarry were a bit pissed off when a massive crack appeared in the massive obelisk whilst it was still in the ground in Aswan! The obelisk lies in the rock quarry where workers abandoned it when they discovered a crack that would have ruined the massive structure. If this one had been finished it would have been the largest obelisk ever. No one knows which pharaoh commissioned the obelisk because it was abandoned before any identifying hieroglyphics could be carved, but it was one of the most ambitious projects in the ancient world.
We went back to the boat for lunch and set sail for the Temple of Kom Ombo. The Temple known as Kom Ombo is actually two temples consisting of a Temple to Sobek and a Temple of Haroeris. In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank near here. The Temple has scant remains, but very interesting hieroglyphics. Unfortunately it was very busy, I think ever tourist on the Nile was visiting Kom Ombo at the same time, it was packed out like The Trafford Centre a week before Christmas. This reduced the ability to spend time studding the carvings some of which showed medical instruments, birthing chairs and slaves being beheaded!
As soon as were we back on board we set off again, we were headed to Edfu. For this evening though, there was a Gallabia Party.
We were told to dress up in local dress to enjoy the traditional Egyptian Buffet, and this we did. Every one in our group made a good effort. I am glad we were not sat at some of the other tables as many of the guests did not bother and I think you could have felt rather stupid being the only one in fancy dress, especially with these beads falling into my dinner.
After dinner a few people gathered to play some Gallabia Party games in the bar. The Gin & Tonic mixed and served by the bar staff were great....it was a shame that the wake up call the next day was scheduled for 05.00, meaning that I had to restrict my alcohol intake.
PS. just before we left for Kom Ombo the rep from Marhaba Tours was on the boat looking for me. He was very sorry that he had missed me at the airport and reimbursed me my taxi fairs, he explained that with the late night he had had from trying to find us, the next day he had slept in, not waking till 10.00 and when he contacted the hotel he was told I had checked out of the hotel. I had, we were on the boat and I was just pleased the company did exist!