Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nile Cruise Day 3


We were on tour in the morning and then in the afternoon we sailed to Aswan. Our morning tour consisted of the Valley of the Kings, the Colossi of Memnon, the temple of Hapshepsut and another alabaster workshop. There was also an optional balloon ride across the Nile at sunrise which Geoff assures me I can do next time.

The Valley of the Kings was the first stop on our itinerary and it was fairly deserted according to our guide, under normal circumstances there would be 1000 buses a day, at present they are lucky to get 100! The tombs here are much larger than the Valley of the Queens, 4 people could stand abreast of each other in the main corridors quite comfortably. The colours are still quite vibrant and a lot of detail has gone into them, right down to the men having different shaped ears! You get to visit 3 tombs on the ordinary ticket and can buy tickets to 2 optional tombs as well. The tombs are opened on a rotational basis to help preserve them. Once again it was a no photo zone so I took a picture from the car park of the pyramid shaped mountain they are under. Pyramids are important because they look like the sun’s rays spreading out and the sun is a symbol of life and the father of their gods Amun – Ra.

The Temple of Hapshepsut was awesome from a distance but the glyphs were not all that well preserved. She ruled Egypt instead of her stepson and died in mysterious circumstances at which point her stepson scratched her image off.

At the Alabaster workshop the talk was pure entertainment with singing and dancing and scarab beetles for good luck for the ladies. There was the obligatory free drink and a tour of the goods for sale. As we had bought a vase yesterday we didn’t feel obliged to buy.

Our final stop was the colossi of Memnon, which also had a legend attached to if about a Greek mother who toured the Valleys mush as we had been doing. When she reached the Colossi she could hear them whispering the name of her son to her. The locals were so impressed with this they renamed the Colossi after her son. The wind no longer makes a noise as it passes through the blocks as the ministry of antiquities took the monument apart and then put it back together properly! (There was an earthquake in 27AD? and the locals rebuilt it).

We were back in time for lunch and then spent a restful afternoon cruising the  Nile south towards Aswan. Around 6pm we reached Edfu lock where the water level needs to be raised 7m, waiting for us at the lock were some entrepreneurial locals. The technique is to shout very loudly to get peoples attention then throw their goods onto the boat whereupon the bargaining begins. If you are happy with the price money is exchanged if not you return the goods!

Dinner and sleep followed.

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