Nile Cruise Day 3 - May 8
Breakfast and then on shore to tour the ancient quarry and the temple at Gebel Silsila. Very interesting learning how the huge blocks were cut out with stone and copper/bronze tools and shipped hundreds of miles to Giza, Luxor and other places…The tombs of the architects and workers had been damaged by the flooding Nile and later by Coptic Christians fleeing persecution…
The sails came up as we left and we had a wonderful lazy afternoon of sailing along the Nile, being passed by the big cruise ships (in both directions). We found a sandbank later on for a swim in the surprisingly cold river (no crocodiles south of the Aswan Dam!). Very pleasant. A couple of locals wanted to take a photo of us with them! Sailing slowly northwards we reached Kom Ombo, with its important crocodile temple. There’s even a brand new Crocodile Museum, but it’s closed waiting its official opening by the (former and now under charges of extortion) Minister of Antiquities! Apparently thousands of crocs used to laze about on the nearby island and the temple was to keep the locals safe (or appease the gods?).
We stopped for dinner on a sandy island and a BBQ was set up, our heavy tables and chairs carried down and we ate on the sands, surrounded by surprisingly docile white dogs, the moon and stars overhead (until a bright light was attached to the mast). After dinner the crew entertained us with some raucous Egyptian folk music and dancing – and of course we all joined in the dancing!
Nile Cruise Day 4 – May 9
A day of pure laziness and sailing north to end at Aswan. After dinner we’ll go and explore the souq (“the best outside Cairo”). A little sunbathing, a lot of nothing much! Time to catch up on the log and for Anna and Colin’s stinking colds to (hopefully!) run their course. Just passed under a new bridge outside Aswan and watched some boys “watering”, or tormenting!, a couple of donkeys. So many scenes really haven’t changed in thousands of years…
Well, the souq was nice, but hardly worthy of its reputation – just a long street of booths selling mostly spices and herbs. Nice enough but lacking the variety of other souqs we’ve seen around the Islamic world. Glad we didn’t wait to buy my coffee pot or Anna’s hammer!
Back to the boat and the party that threatened to go on all night (either a wedding or a graduation) actually ended around 11 pm.
More about Egyptian antiquities!