Day 13 (October 18, 2011)   Nile cruise: Kom Ombo and Edfu


Cruise's first stage: Aswan-Esna

   As cruise’s program explains, this day we set sail early to Kom Ombo, where we will visit the unusual double Temple of Sobek, the crocodile god, and Haroeris. After lunching on board, we will be able of admire the beautiful scenery of Nile while sailing to Edfu, where we will explore the huge temple dedicated to god Horus. We will visit the colorful local bazaars just before dinner and sleep.


Nyle Style boat
   On despite all I’ve read about it, we’re sleeping great in the boat: no problem with noises. Our guide gave us a little paper with today’s plan written on it and it says clear our first visit is at 9:30, so we’re getting the breakfast at 8:30 where we can see through the window, which is showing half below water surface and half above it, we’re sailing to our first destination: Kom Ombo.

   Our guide – what strange is being for me this “our guide” thing as I use to take this role -, Ayman, is getting his breakfast here too and he will wait patiently for us to be ready. I wait with him, smoking a cigarette. What strange is for me too this smoking in a boat thing!

   What is not strange is being chased by vendors of… anything. Temple is just there, on quay, so we start with our photos immediately. I’m surprised about the parts of the temple, usually the higher, where you can still see the original colors. This helps to imagination on creating the pictures of how the temples were when they were used for other tasks but touristic, with white as main color.

Vendors pressure at Kom OmboTemple of Kom Ombo

   The guide is offering his rehearsed explanations about specific hieroglyphics at walls. It’s clear they’re the same for all the people here as the guide for other languages have the same route and stop in the same spots in a row. We’re the last ones and are following them in their itinerary but, at least, we’ve got a guide exclusively for the four of us. When they’ve finished their well-worn, but interesting, speech we are free to explore this small symmetric temple by our own. There is a Nilometer here which we can watch in detail. Its importance is more historical than esthetic as it is basically a well with stairs. Since Aswan High Dam was built, the Nile has completely changed: the annual floods disappeared as well as the utility of this Nilometers. The famous crocodiles are gone too; Ayman explains they kept on the other side of the Dam.

Temple of Kom Ombo
Temple of Kom Ombo

Nilometer at Kom Ombo

   After a well-spent hour, we come back to the boat and, finally, we get spare time for swimming, reading or simply laying on deckchairs for a sunbath or a nap. We take some time watching the particular Nile riversides, with lush, but only limited to the very shore, because, as a magical cut, the huge desert seems to be kept after that imaginary border as the wizard drawing a line in floor that beast cannot cross.

Nile cruisingNile riverside

  Rooms are ready and they’ve set a couple of swans made by towels. We’ve seen this before, but it is always a nice touch.

Sailing Nile   We go downstairs for lunching knowing we will have the second and last visit of the day when finishing: Edfu temple. I already know it is a big temple dedicated to Horus, the god represented by the falcon, and therefore, we will find several stone hawks in there. Ayman interrupted his explanation of the mythological legend of Osiris, his brother Seth, his wife Osiris and their son Horus with a “to be continued in Horus’ temple of Edfu”.

   Just after the after-lunch cigarette the ship starts the maneuver for tying up and we’re getting ready for the tour.

   On disembarking, our guide has already got a calash for going to Edfu temple across the city. This temple is one of the best preserved in the country.

   In our way we could see misery. Edfu, which is the name of the city too, has looked poor and we’ve been touched by the state of the calash’s horse: an absolute skeleton with bleeding ulcers in its skin .

Temple of EdfuEdfu 

  For some reason I don’t understand we’re completely alone. I would expect to see, at least, the rest of the tourists in our boat here. The temple is huge and we go round its courtyards, halls and rooms after hearing the end of Osiris legend: I cannot see it’s a happy ending, but it’s not bad either.

   We first make our pictures with the big falcons flanking the entrance, but Ayman states there are better sculptures inside, and he is right .

Horus at Edfu
Temple of Edfu

   There are lights for the halls and rooms inside and, in one of them, we can find the divine boat, which we could see before on the images in the walls, although Egyptians had exaggerated a little bit with its real size (or they were really tiny, which is the other option).

Divine ship at Edfu

   We’re plenty of time exploring every corner of the temple and, when leaving, sun is quite down telling us night is close. When we’re back at boat, our guide receives some complaints from the staff about the arrival time. It seems they’ve been waiting for us to sail off. I keep wondering what has the rest of the people done as it’s been a complete – and very appreciated - loneliness in the temple. Our room’s big window let us enjoy the sunset from bed.

Temple of EdfuNile sunset

   Tonight is the most typical party of these kinds of cruises: galabia party. This was the reason we bought a galabia for each of us in Khan el Kalili, so we are more than ready for it. Somehow, I read it was an abuse on boats for the price of galabia rents being even more expensive than buying a new one outside in some market. I haven’t found this in Nile Style, prices were fair.

   It’s clear for us the party starts after dinner, at 21:00, but we start doubting when seeing almost all the people already dressed up at restaurant. When we go downstairs in costumes later, we’re received by a group picture and join the party. Ayman is here and explains the details to us. The party consists in some group games in a row which, in most of the cases, are played by countries. Therefore, we participate a lot as we’re just four persons for Spain. First is a dancing game, similar to musical chairs, only with no chairs. Then, Eva competes against the other countries (German, Holland …) in a belly dance demonstration. I play a strange game with one potato hanging in my crotch where I don’t understand what I must do until I see the others. I finish the last and with my legs hurting.

Dancing game in cruisePotato game in cruise

   Our guide accompanies during the whole evening and makes his best for we enjoy the party. He helps me too dancing with my wife.

   When games end you can going on with the disco, but we go to our rooms for rest.