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Cruising down the Nile (part 4)


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.

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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.

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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"...

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In the temple frieze below we see, on the left, Anthony and Cleopatra presenting themselves to the Gods.

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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.

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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.

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Part 1  Part 2 Part 3 of this adventure appeared on Travel Gumbo recently.


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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller

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I've really enjoyed this journey...thanks! For anyone who hasn't, I'd suggest checking out the first 3 parts as well. It's amazing to realize how varied the architecture and the wildlife and even the river itself seem at different points along the way.


Some of the variation serves to remind us, as well, how many many years went into all this; all of our civilizations are young by comparison, no matter how old they seem to us!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

What a fabulous conclusion to a delightful series, Mac.  Thanks so much for sharing this journey with all of us.


I've wanted to visit Egypt for some time, but have always been a little reluctant to go somewhere I might get targeted for extermination simply because I'm a visitor from the west.  But your series has made me want to see this sooner, rather than later.



Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Although I've wanted to go to Egypt most of my life, to Egypt and Japan, for some reason I haven't made it to either place (except through the Suez canal, which hardly counts).  Your pictures of the colonial-era hotels, though, may be the encouragement I need to finally get there.  It's probably less crowded now than it will ever be, also an encouragement.

Thank you kindly fellow Gumbo-ists. You have rightly detected that we greatly enjoyed our trip and it is so photogenic and endlessly fascinating. I always feel a total dullard when going to the tombs and temples and hear all the lists of Pharaohs, dynasties, goddesses and gods - all doing fantastic things at the same time as us Brits were living in mud huts....


I do encourage you all to go and visit now. You will never get better deals than now (but go in the cooler period). You will be well looked after and protected and being on the boat gives you your own personal 'haven'.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller amazing journey, Mac, thanks for sharing it with us...and for anyone who hasn't been to Egypt, forget all the bad publicity you've heard and make this a priority on your adventure list; as someone who has been there, I can highly recommend it

The journey starts with you. Just open that door and start walking!


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