Just recently I decided to explore Egypt through a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor. The boat spent the first night in Aswan and then sailed to other stops on it’s way to Luxor. I didn’t get to the Abu Simbel temple because it’s a 3 hour drive each way and I just didn’t want to make that trek.
Day 1 consisted of visit to the Philae temple where my guide Ahmed did a great job explaining the connection between the Gods Osiris and Isis who resurrected her dead husband for one day and got pregnant with and their child Horus🤔. I was fascinated by the drawings on the walls showing different scenes, that the people had curves, that these structures were built hundreds of years ago and that both the structures and the drawings have survived. To get to the Philae temple I had to take a boat over to the new location because the original location sunk and UNESCO had to move the temple piece by piece which took several years. My skipper asked my guide Ahmed if I was Nubian because of my dark skin. I also met a Nubian merchant who told me I looked like family. My driver Ahmed was entertaining and showed me his videos of the alligators in a wall cagesI would find in the Nubian Village.
I then took another boat ride this time to Nubian Village which was smaller and a lot different than I expected, even despite a warning by a friend who visited before. It really was just a couple of houses that tourists are given access to and a small area of mostly shops and merchants trying to sell you souvenirs, spices and soaps. Inside one of the houses there were couple of brick structures with crocodiles in them😳 😳. One guy was gracious enough to show me how to use the loom to make scarfs. I loved the blue of the buildings it added a nice touch. Bob Marley is very popular and so many thought I was Jamaican as you can see from the skipper of the boat below.
Day 2 consisted of a visit to the Nubian Museum where they really did a good job of showing the movement of collecting artefacts and taking pictures documenting the different excavations by UNESCO and Harvard. You weren’t supposed to take pictures inside but I got a couple before the guard told me to stop. I took a horse and buggy ride to the Museum through traffic and it took forever, it’s definitely not my preferred mode of transportation. My driver lamented the lack of tourists during this time and little work.
The Edfu temple was a short walk from where the boat docked next and since we were late leaving the last port, the tour started after the sunset which was unfortunate because you can see so much more when it is daylight. The top left picture shows how they counted numbers during those times and how they used the level of the water to determine the amount of taxes. The Ankh or the Egyptian cross or the key of life is used to life after death or immortality and it is held by the top part in many of the drawings. It was also used by the Ancient Egyptians to symbolize the 4 corners of Egypt – upper Egypt, lower Egypt eastern desert and western desert. My guide I have to say was patient and knowledgeable and took his time answering my questions so I learned a lot.
The ship sailed overnight next to Kom Ombo and I woke up for 6 a.m. trip to the temple. The trip to the Kom Ombo temple consisted of an early morning chilly ride on a horse and buggy ride for 15 minutes. While the temple and the drawings were beautiful, honestly I don’t remember much of what the guide said. He was unenthusiastic unlike my other guides maybe he was tired and cold too lol 🤪. It is considered one of the largest temples and it is almost completely preserved although most of the faces of the Gods were scratched off by the Christians who hid in the temples to avoid persecution because they didn’t believe in Gods.
I have to say Luxor was my favorite of the two cities, it is smaller and cleaner than Cairo and feels more like a small city than the concrete jungle of Cairo and Maadi where I live. I especially enjoyed visited Karnak and the Luxor temples. Karnak temple to me was so big, so interesting, it has several statues of the King, 134 gigantic columns, lots of gigantic statues, sphinx versions with ram heads and 2 and a half obelisks one which had been knocked down by a flood. Everything was huge which led me to wonder how long it took them to complete. Just look at me standing next to the gigantic column. Ahmed my guide from the first day rejoined me in Luxor where he lives and he was gracious enough to oblige me by taking photos of me. I was able to style and profile and be a #FlyGoodess in my #Livingmybestlife BTM t-shirt.
The Valley of the Kings and Queens to me was like the Nubian Village smaller than I expected, and different than I expected yet interesting still. The tombs were small but I was blown away by the fact that these paintings on the walls that depicted interactions with the Gods and the Kings could still be intact with color after thousands of years. Because they are underground the stairs down were steep and it involved lots of climbing. Egyptians have figured out the best way to capitalize off the history and mythology and they do this by charging a fee to take pictures inside and granting access to certain tombs with the ticket but charging extra for the more popular ones. For instance King Tut’s and Queen Nefertari’s tombs were an extra charge so I chose not to go inside🤷🏾♀️.
The Temple of Hatshepsut was a new one for me; I had never heard of her before but what was most interesting to me was this woman chose to declare herself a King instead of Queen after she usurped the throne from her young nephew. She then commissioned an architect to design and build a temple in honor of her so that she should go about about fraudulently trying to forge a connection with a God to prove that she was meant to be King as is shown by the drawings. She was determined y’all. Her nephew who she exiled so she could be King grew up returned to the country killed her and went about erasing her drawings and destroyed parts of the temple. UNESCO is now in the process of rebuilding it #Familydrama #Ambitiousanddevious I loved seeing the statues doing what we now describe as the #Wakanda pose.
Luxor temple like Karnak temple was very interesting to me even though it was much smaller and had about 33 columns and one obelisk that were much smaller. The statues at the Luxor temple were just as large as the ones at Karnak. The pictures don’t do justice to show how big they are. In the lower right picture you can see that I took the picture while people were standing by them and you can see the statue from above their heads. Although I did this tour after sunset, the Luxor Temple had better lighting so you see all the drawings.
As it relates the Nile cruising I wouldn’t do it again. I’m not a cruise person because I don’t like being trapped on a boat; this boat had no activities and the food was mediocre. If I were to have someone visit I would recommend flying from Cairo to Aswan visit Abu Simbel, the Philae temple, the Nubian Museum and Nubian village then flying into Luxor to see the Karnak Temple, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of the Kings and Queens is worth the trip and then exploring the Luxor temple. The Luxor Museum I think would be a great addition instead of staying on a cruise ship 3 days. The Edfu temple and Kom Ombo temples can be skipped.
All in all it was a great educational trip, I learned quite a bit about Egyptian mythology and history. I was amazed by the paintings and drawing on the walls and the huge structures that have withstood the test of time. And I got to take some nice photos which is always a win for me💃🏾.
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