Thursday, 9 February 2012

Luxor to Kom Ombo

This turned out to be a long, gentle run with all the life of the river going on around us.

Along the banks are hills and palms that bring the closeness of the desert to mind.

The river is full of fish and provides a living for many of those who live in the villages along its banks.

There are some very elegant craft on the river

And the domesticated oxen are common

Traditional lateen rigged feluccas are the most elegant

There were lots of happy children and, indeed, everyone we met was happy to see us, in Luxor, Kom Ombo, Philae, Aswan, Abu Simbel, etc. The fall off in tourism has been catastrophic for those who depend, directly or indirectly, on it for a living. Our guide had not worked for a month and his assistant would not work again until March. The revolution, as much as it HAS to happen, has meant great difficulties for those in the South particularly, though they are far from any trouble.

Spearing fish

Nubian houses

Cave dwellings

The river approach to Kom Ombo is supposed to be spectacular, but with so many boats laid up for lack of trade, the view was rather obscured. Kom Ombo's reputation is that of being only an introduction to Edfu, but as we were not stopping there, it would have to do.


The hypostyle hall

Thoth, Horus, Ra-Horakhty

Sunset through the pylon
In the event, it was rather good. Its location high above the river though close enough to walk to gives it a more stately setting, especially as the sun starts to set across the river. The carvings are good and the hypostyle hall, though nothing to compare with Karnak, has some great columns and capitals.

As we left to return to the boat, the temple was beautifully lit up in the warm night.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Return of the blog ... Egypt: cruising up the Nile

I know... I've been a bit remiss, but now, I thought I'd bring you EGYPT! Well, not all of it, plainly but just a bit about our cruise up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan.

This is our boat, the MS Hamees. It has capacity for about 140 but we were only 42 on board, a sign of the huge drop off in tourism since the revolution.

It has the sort of elegance one would expect for a 5star boat. So much so that I decided to download Death on the Nile to my Kindle to read while we were on board.

On our first full day, Marea and I decided to take ourselves off to one of the food markets in Luxor (always a sucker for a good market) so we took a taxi and off we went.

The local produce is magnificent - if I said cabbages and cauliflowers like footballs it would be inadequate - they were bigger than medicine balls and the tomatoes were fresh and juicy but not unblemished like those in an English supermarket - all image and no taste.

We were tired after flying from UK so went back to the boat for lunch and then we set off upriver towards Om Kombo. I love the sight of passing villages, palm trees and mountains behind.

Already the traders were out, selling cloths. This looks a dangerous trade to me; they hitched themselves to our boat and were pulled along at about 15knots. I think they must have drifted far downriver during the day's trading so it was getting them home as well.

Then, the sunset and it was the first day (to almost quote another book).

There's lots more to tell, but at least I've made a start.