Now, my wife will watch anything that has a mention of Egypt in the title and
will read endlessly about their past civilizations,
so where better to take her on holiday for a quick break?
Throw in a birthday that only comes once in every four years for her,
and I didn't really have an option, did I?
Please be aware how graphics heavy this article is, I'd find it
extremely hard to document this holiday without all the pictures!
A Nile cruise seems fairly exotic, and so it turned out.
We flew into Luxor airport and were then taken to the ship.
The cruise itself goes from Luxor.
One of the many misconceptions I had was that the Nile would be fairly
Above one of the hundreds of ships that traverse the route.
Boats are actually docked up to 4 in a row from the bank, meaning you
cross through each one until you reach your own one.
A word of warning, the natives are desperate for any currency and any
scam can and will be implemented to relieve you of cash.
These include the "sorry , you gave me the wrong note" where they
a high denomination note for one much lower.
It starts at the airport where mistakenly you believe a porter has been
provided as he rushes forward harrying you to the coach.
It's only when the case gets dropped halfway to the coach and the hand
comes out that you realise you've been conned.
The reason that he only goes halfway is that the staff try and protect
you from the scammers and chase them without mercy.
Leave the protection of your guide for an instant to discover the
hordes waiting just for you!
I should stress there is absolutely no malice in the attentions, but I
wish they would learn that tourists are delighted to part with cash
without any of the hassling that occurs.
From the area we seen around Luxor, the country appears to be very poor
with the majority living as in feudal times.
There is a wide contrast, though, with large colonial hotels, shining
new buildings mixed alongside poor areas.
The Nile itself is impressive, with varying widths.
As an electrician, I was impressed by the height of the electricity
pylons crossing it,
I realise they have to be that high due to the sag of the cables
crossing such a distance, but, still, they are huge!
Going at the end of February (you had figured that out, hadn't you),
the weather was only up to around 30 degrees.
Hot enough for Scots but cold for the Egyptians.
One of the guides explained that if we didn't like someone, we should
recommend they came in Summertime.
He estimated that by mid March the temperature would reach 50.
Once on the boat, everyone is assigned to a group, with each group
having a guide for the excursions.
The guides are superb, with , it seems, knowledge of all things Egyptian , in
For instance, above you can see the slots where wood was cut and placed
between the slabs forming the walls of the temples.
This was to provide movement if an earthquake struck and minimize the chance
of the building crumbling.
This is a fairly rambling account of the holiday which was only a week
As with any cruise, it can be anything you want it to be.
Since my wife is enraptured by Egypt, we signed up for any tours we
I couldn't persuade her to take the balloon trip over Luxor, but I went
The boat is basically a floating hotel.
And a fairly nice hotel it is.
Entertainment is at a premium, since most times, you can't go off the
There are games, evening entertainment, the bars and the
The restaurant normally provided buffet meals.
The food on our boat was plentiful, with a good mix of dishes.
Once you have wandered the boat, the first day is practically over.
Second day starts with the Valley of the Kings, on the West Bank
Because of the temperatures, all trips tend to start early or near dusk.
Valley of the kings is by ticket, where you get to choose which tombs
The ticket limits you to 3 tombs.
Guess which ones we did, I'd check the pictures ...........
Photographs are not allowed inside the tombs, and your camera is taken
from you at King Tut's tomb.
Notice the way his name is spelt in the first picture.
This is the correct way to say his name. All Pharaohs had 3 names.
The tour then moves to Queen Hatchepsut. She was actually a King as women were
not allowed to rule.
Listen, I'm repeating the guide here!
Picture of the temple is shown later.
There was still time to take in an alabaster factory after this.
Alabaster is very expensive, and still hand made.
Considering examples of it are still around after 3500 years means it
is also hard wearing.
One of the many cruise boats.
The one above is the last paddle steamer still operating, and dates
back to the first World war.
Then, back to the boat for a shower, and food.
There's always time to look around and take pictures, though.
Sun burn is an optional extra.
The Nile is still used by a large fraternity of people to ferry goods
around, even in fellucas .
Cabin staff clean the room, sorry, cabin, at least twice a day.
While they're in the cabin, they tend to get bored and make things,
usually out of any clothes they find, although anything that comes to
One of the many things that struck me was that I always believed
everything Egyptian was sand coloured.
Valley of the kings relieved me of that impression, and yet, every time
I noticed colours in any of the engraving,
it reminded me that we can't paint something and the colour will last
for 3000 years.
So much for dulux and the others!
Next day the boat moves to Kom Ombo.
More temples to see and listen to the guide.
The good thing is the wonder never died for me , or my wife.
I found it totally fascinating.
The guides were very good at bringing the subject to life, and all the
architecture was amazing.
It is worth noting that all the temples were moved, when the dam was
Abu Simbal and the rest were moved to preserve them from the water.
They only chose a select few, so think how many are under the waters of
the Aswan Dam.
This is not turning out to be all that relaxing.
We are up early in the morning, and it is amazing how much energy you
use up in the heat wandering round the temples and tombs.
When you do get back to the boat, you're usually quite keen to sit with
your feet up and a few cold drinks.
The Philae temple is out on an island.
We visited it during the day by going out in small boats.
Another impressive monument.
At night, an optional excursion takes you back out in the dark, for the
sound and light show.
Picture above shows the temple before the show started.
The show , although plain by modern standards, having only backlit
buildings and a soundtrack of the history,
is absolutely awesome.
The whole atmosphere is electric while the show runs.
Above, one of the type of small boat used to ferry you to the island
for the Philae tour.
Even the crows look different in Egypt!
Either that or the ones I saw had gone prematurely grey......
You see quite a few of these types of house near the banks of the Nile.
One of the tourists asked why a house she saw had no roof.
The guide replied that they didn't need one, it never rained.