And so we arrive in Aswan, the furthest navigable point before the High Dam. From here some courageous souls can continue to the beautiful temple at Abu Simbel which was relocated with fantastic precision prior to the construction of the High Dam. The trip to Abu Simbel requires an army convoy to protect the coaches in their 3 hour trip south across the desert. The convoy will usually assemble in the early morning - probably 3-4am arriving at Abu Simbel in the cool of the early morning.
The more lazy of us (we had visited Abu Simbel previously) preferred to investigate Aswan which has much to offer. The highlight is probably the tomb of the Aga Khan beautifully built on the West bank (west being where the sun sets and hence the bank of death and the afterlife).
However, for the Brits a real feature here is the Old Cataract Hotel close by the Low Dam where the British author Agatha Christie wrote many of her detective novels including many of her novels featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Today the hotel still presents a wonderful image of faded elegance and maintains the "Agatha Christie Suite" as a point of pilgrimage for her fans where if you are sufficiently 'well heeled' you may also stay.
After Aswan, the cruise turns north once again and travelling with the Nile's current swiftly takes us back to the north and Luxor where we can investigate the Valley of the Kings and Queens which may be the subject of a later addition to the Gumbo blogs.
Currently the waters of the Nile are sufficiently deep to allow us to progress north of Luxor to my personal favourite temple of Horus at Edfu where restoration work has revealed some of the most beautiful ceilings to be seen in Egypt.
On the Edfu temple can be seen extensive astrological designs of the horoscope as we know it today. Shown below is that of Taurus. Not surprisingly the God "Horus" is the root of the word "Horoscope"...
In the temple frieze below we see, on the left, Anthony and Cleopatra presenting themselves to the Gods.
The little chap, below, is variously known by his Roman name as the God Bacchus, god of wine, intoxication and general fun. Any resemblance to your Gumbo correspondent Mac is purely coincidental.
Finally, upon return to Luxor, a brief trip should be made to the old Winter Palace hotel perched on the banks of the Nile. Built in 1886 it has been the hotel of choice for many Kings, Presidents, artists and celebrities over the years. Now in a state of elegant decline, its grounds remain beautiful and wonderful to visit for a few brief hours.