Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cruising to Temples April 2, 2011

Nile Cruise: Kom Ombo and Edfu

Each day we got a schedule
After a great (and I mean great) night’s sleep, we woke up with 15 minutes left in breakfast service so “ran” down to the dining room for coffee and some pastries. We have two temples today then time to relax and enjoy the Nile views as we cruise.

First temple is Kom Ombo. It is dedicated to two gods, Sobek and Horus the Elder, and each side of the temple is dedicated to one of them. It is symmetrical so neither was cheated! It is really gorgeous. Mohammed toured us around it and we took loads of photos. I enjoyed seeing the medical clinic and surgery. Apparently Imhotep, the museum we visited in Sakkara and the architect of the pyramids, was also involved in medicine so he is represented in this temple as a healer. Neat--I guess he was the first “Renaissance Man” in history!

As we left the boat we did a little shopping and bought scarab bracelets and a necklace from the cute little boys running around. It was a nice first stop.
Haze from burning sugar cane fields on arrival at Kom Ombo

Guards at the dock

Beautiful Kom Ombo Temple

Mohammed telling us about the Temple

Lots of color remains

The view of the Nile from the Temple, our boat is in the center of the photo

 Back on the boat for lunch and a little more cruising. Mohammed told us it would be very hot at our next temple and to dress accordingly.
Cruise boats on the surprisingly large Nile River

We arrived at Edfu and caught our caleche--horse drawn carriage. It was a long distance from the Nile to the temple so I was glad for the ride but sad for the horse (very skinny all of them, ribs showing, but no overt signs of abuse and the driver did not beat him as we rode). Lots of people at this temple but again many less than normal.

It was quite a hike from where the caleche let us off to the entrance of this really impressive temple. Wow! Apparently it’s the model for all the other temples we are to see (and have already seen in Philae) even though it was built by the Greco-Romans. It is dedicated to the god Horus and it is massive--that’s the best way I can describe it. Mohammed gave us the spiel but I won’t repeat what I remember since I’d get it wrong anyway. Suffice it to say that I was blown away and the three of us took loads of photos. Really gorgeous temple.
Edfu Temple
It's massive and gorgeous!

Edfu Sanctuary

Afterwards we caleche’d back to the boat through the bustling town. The market was in full swing and the driver slowed so we could get pictures. We bought some water (10le for three big bottles) and haggled with a dude selling a bad picture of us that we didn’t want. We agreed on 1 US$ but he tore the photo out of the cover and demanded more money. At this point, I asked Mohammed for help since we didn’t want the picture anyway and really didn’t want it without the cover. Mohammed helped us resolve the problem and we gave the guy one more LE then got on the boat. It’s so reassuring having our guide with us since he can help out in these circumstances. 

Busy Edfu town

Back on the boat we all headed up to the Sundeck for relaxation time as we cruised the Nile to the next stop for the night, Esna. This was a lovely peaceful time. Seeing life along the Nile was awesome. Hubby waved at loads of farmers and fishermen and they all waved back. The Egyptian people are super friendly and nice.
We didn’t see the temple at Esna except from the boat.

The empty Sundeck

We docked along the Esna courniche which was a little noisy. Showered and dressed in our galabiyas for dinner. We were the only tourists in galabiyas and the staff seemed to appreciate it--they were all dressed in galabiyas too. Dinner was delicious typical Egyptian fare. We ate as if we were starving to the amusement of our waiters…They surprised us with a delicious cake for our anniversary. We took pictures with the waiters and shared the cake with everyone. Really sweet and thoughtful.

Later we hung out in the lounge with Mohammed and another tourist. Very interesting evening listening to Mohammed talk about his experiences during the revolution and his hopes for his country’s future. He said the youth of Egypt is ready for resolution and a government that they trust. All of us old people cautioned him that patience is necessary to achieve the end result they want even though they succeeded in removing an entrenched president in 18 days. Mohammed said patience is not an Egyptian trait! It will be interesting to see how the youth tolerate or not the slow pace of politics in the coming months and years.

To bed after another lovely day. We are all really enjoying the boat and the sights. Egypt is amazing and we are really glad to be here.

Our suite's sitting area

Our suite's bedroom area

Another view of the Sundeck

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