Us with Mohamed
The Nile cruise is fairly unique as it travels only about 200 km (124 miles) which is an interesting feat when you are on a 4 night cruise. Actually, we were on board for 4 nights but the first night was spent in Aswan where we boarded and the last two were in Luxor where we ended. The one other night was in the Edfu Temple area. Our ship was the Moon Goddess which was quite nice--pretty laid back and comfortable.
This was another instance of how decimated tourism is right now. We were there at high season when normally there are hundreds (so I am told ) of cruise ships sailing the Nile. What we saw were untold ships tied up along the shore with curtains drawn and no sign of life. When we docked, there were only 6 or 7 other ships when normally there would be a long shore line of ships docked 6 deep. Even then, the Moon Goddess was less than half full. Some friends we made on board who had just traveled the opposite way from Luxor to Aswan told us there had only been 8 people on board then. We were glad that there were more going our direction--they were, too. It was more fun--particularly as they had a 13 year old daughter who became Casey's constant companion. Problem being that they are from Singapore. He always has these long distance interests, it seems.
For those of you who know Casey, it may make you smile that his friend's name is Camille
Of course having fewer ships plying the waterways made our cruise much nicer, having the river almost to ourselves. Rarely would we pass or see another ship. We could sit on our balcony watching the banks of the Nile pass by imaging we were seeing what Ramses or Cleopatra or Caesar had seen millenia ago. We could watch the fishermen in their tiny boats, beating the water trying to scare fish into their nets. Surely much like as has been done for centuries.
Once we went back to the boat it was time to dress for dinner (well, dress meant a clean pair of jeans and shirt) and go to the pre-dinner show which was pretty not good. Can't even remember what it was; however, I am certain it was better than the belly dancer the next night. Dinner was good and then it was time to relax with books before bedding down.
The next morning, we were trundled off by Mohamed and the driver to board the little boat to take us to the island of the ancient Temple of Philae--dedicated to Isis. This temple is similar to Abu Simbel in that it was moved from one location to another--from an island very close to where it now is. After the construction of the first Aswan dam at the beginning of the 20th century, the waters slowly took over Philae and for many years it was pretty well submerged. In the 1960's the effort began to move the temple, block by block, to where it is now--another marvel of 20th century know-how.
Philae, like all the temples, is impressive in size, carvings, doorways, pillars and stories spelled out in pictures and hyroplyphics. Again, no crowds, no people--strange places these days. In years gone by, only the gods and royalty could come here. That must have been somewhat like it is these days--except now gods and royalty have become rare tourists from far away places.
Pyramids, temples, tombs---these folks sure did things big. Next: Kom Ombo and Edfu.