Having been to Egypt before and seeing the famous sites such as the great Pyramids and the Sphinx I decided that I wanted to see some more of this amazing country and after spending a few days in Cairo relaxing we got a flight and headed to Aswan a city south of Cairo. The reason for doing this was that my partner and I had decided to take a Nile cruise.
I had never done a cruise before and though this would be one of the nicest ways to see some more of Egypt and as we landed into Aswan I could visibly see the Nile river flowing through the landscape. From the air Egypt looks uninhabited until you get closer to land and then you can make out the villages and the trees that are located close to the water.
After landing and getting our luggage we met up with the others that would be travelling with us and boarded the bus together ready for our small adventure.
We stopped for a brief tour of the High Dam so we could have a look at this amazing construction. The High Dam was constructed in 1971 in a partnership between the Egyptian government and the Soviet Union. In 1971 the High Dam was the largest man made dam in the world, and toady plays a crucial role in maintaining the safety of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Dam has Lake Nasser on one side and the Nile River on the other, if the dam ever broke it would only take 8 hours for the flood of water to reach Cairo and drown everything which is why it is in such a strategic location and why the Egyptian Army guards and monitor the area so heavily. Also at the location dam is a monument which was put there to signify the importance of the dam, and the important partnership between the Egyptians and the Soviets. The monument is built in the shape of a lotus flower. It has five tall pillars with inscribed words and pictures showing life along the Nile River.
After the Dam we continued to the Nile and we drove through the city of Aswan which is a bustling city which runs along the Nile river. Once we reached the Nile we boarded our boat. We finally reached our boat and it was lovely. It was only small but the decor was really homely with oak panels, marble floors and plenty of windows giving us lots of natural light.
Once we were all settled and been given our cabins we were shown around the boat which had a sun deck, a lounge and a formal dining room all which were again beautifully decorated. Once we had our tour we all went to the top deck where we had a welcome drink of hibiscus and chatted to the other 100 or so passengers whilst taking in the breath taking view of the Nile We then had lunch which was amazing lots of great buffet style food. After lunch we were pretty tired so we went for a quick nap and we were soon woken by the sound of calls for afternoon tea which was served on the sun deck… So far we hadn’t left port and I had already consumed enough food to last me the rest of the cruise.
The next morning we went and visited the Nubian Museum in Aswan. I had heard a lot about the Nubian people and couldn’t wait to see the museum. The Nubian people were the very first Egyptian people and the ones from whom the civilisation was born. The outside of the museums building is fantastic. It is built of rose granite, which is all over this area of Egypt. The Museum is a beautiful architectural structure with an ancient yet modern look. The exhibits are equally beautiful and I can’t begin to explain how much history is in the museum.
After spending a good few hours at the museum we headed back to the boat and upon arrival were immediately served lunch !!!
After lunch we decided to go and see the spice market in Aswan which we had heard a lot about. Instead of walking there as we had intended to we were quickly accosted by a young gentleman who offered to take us there in his horse drawn carriage for a very small cost ( which was negotiated before leaving ) So we hopped into the carriage and went for a tour around this lovely city. As we drove through the city we rode through the market and through a little village with chickens and goats roaming about freely it was amazing how the local people survive on practically nothing but yet they always have a smile on their faces. We finally reached the Spice Market where some great smells of the different spices and hot food drifts through the air. The area is a lively place where you can hear live Nubian music and the vendors are located everywhere.
We wandered around the market and ended up spending over an hour in one shop sipping tea and haggling with the vendor for some fragrances and some spices we ended up buying some Cinnamon, Saffron and some Chamomile however I could have bought plenty more.
The following morning we set sail early and headed for the city of Edfu (Ed – foo) to visit a temple that I can not recall the name off however it was very interesting and after that we set sail for Luxor which is another large city along the Nile. The cruise was very relaxing as we drifted down the river we were able to to take in the wonderful sites and see how life really is along its banks.
That morning we headed out to visit another temple the Karnak Temple. This is the largest temple complex in the world. It is very impressive, with enormous columns and several secret passageways.
We then set sail to the nearby city of Qena (Keena). The city of Qena is quite clean apparently it is one of the three cleanest cities in the entire world. We decided to take a short bus tour around the city and the tour guide explained that this area is going to become a major stop for tourists within the next few years due to the change of attitude of the cities residents and how they’re becoming more accepting of tourists. We then headed back to the ship and lounged on the sun deck, had a few glass of wine before departing for a slow cruise back to Luxor.
Once we were back in Luxor we visited the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Situated in the dry hillside were over 80 holes in the ground designated as tombs for the ancient Egyptian kings. We only managed to visit three, and I was surprised at how detailed and colourful the markings were after so many years. The paint that they used to colour the hieroglyphs still looked as bright as if it was paintings were done only a few days ago. After seeing these ancient tombs we then made our way to the Valley of the Queens, a similar site devoted to other Egyptian rulers. Here we visited only two tombs which were both equally impressive
We spent another day just visiting local markets and doing some shopping before we boarded a flight that took us back to Cairo where we were staying for a few more days before heading home.
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It was great to see Southern Egypt and I cant wait to come back and visit some more of this amazing country.