Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aswan - Luxor (Egypt)

Faluca in foreground and Movenpick Hotel
Elephantine Island, Aswan - Nile River

Our tour guide dutifully met us around midnight at Aswan Airport and delivered us to our Hotel pictured right. 

Next day, after a late checkout including a swim, we were again dutifully delivered to the MS Moon Goddess ready for our four day cruise on the Nile.

 The ship is one of over 250 cruise ships and our guide told us it is in the top 15! Our cabin was one of two guest suites and there are 47 standard cabins also. We had received a welcome letter to "esteemed guests" - we felt very special on this 5 star upgrade which continued on into Cairo.

After a sumptious lunch we were taken sailing on a faluca as depicted. We returned to the ship to join again our table guests and some other Aussies on the tour.  Dee and Im from Townsville were to be our constant and very friendly companions for meals for the rest of the cruise.

Temple of Philae - Sunroom

Temple of Philae
Our first full day on the cruise began with a bus trip to the massive Aswan Dam, the unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae which was relocated from one island to another on account of the Dam and the height of the water. Our group took one of the hundreds of little boats that shuttle the thousands of tourists who are swarming over this and similar sites up and down the Nile. We returned to the ship for another delicious lunch and we set sail along the Nile for Edfu. Along the way we had a stopover at the Temple of Kom Ombo. This was near the home town of our guide. The temple is even bigger and more impressive.

Edfu Temple
 Edfu Temple is bigger yet again, of course, and in immaculate condition for its age. The hieroglyphics and stories carfved the stone columns and massive blocks tell the stories of conquest, of keeping in with the gods and of life in ancient times in graphic detail. We were blessed to have a guide with enormous passion to tell these stories. We didn't yet feel like information overload but that was coming.

Our group for these trips off the cruise boat comprised 4 American couples and a delightful family of 3 from Leicestershire including 12 yr old Joe.

 In the evening  we had dinner on the sundeck an Egyptian bbq followed by Galabaya night which means fancy dress Egyptian style.

Glenys with Samya (from Egypt) and Dee from Townsville
all dressed up for Galabaya
 Our last full day with MS Moon Goddess was spent around Luxor at the fantastic ancient sites - of Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, the tomb of Queen Hot-chick-soup (phonetically spelt!!) and in the afternoon the temples of Karnak and Luxor.

Its hard to describe how incredible all of these sites are - massive, impressive, monumental, ornate and huge numbers of tourists and their buses moving efficiently throughout all the sites amid high security.

It gets better and better as one moves from one tomb to another and from one temple to another. For example Karnak was built over a period of some 1700 years and occupies over 60 acres. At one point 132 30 metre high granite columns stand close to each other to form the superstructure of the roofed area of just one temple.

Karnak Temple - one of the many

Evening approaches at Luxor Temple
 Our day ended on board MS Moon Goddess with superb a-la-carte dinner followed by a show of a whirling dervish and a belly dancer. Then off to bed to prepare for an early start as we fly to Cairo and the next leg of our tour.

1 comment:

  1. I'm jealous - moving our Hoppers Crossing office just doesn't have the same ring to it as Luxor....
    Peter H