Monday, April 5, 2010

Wake up time was 2am this morning for our flight to Aswan, bags had to be out at 2:15am and we met in the foyer at 3am after a quick hot chocolate in the Terrace restaurant. We were given breakfast boxes to take with us.

We had such a laugh at Walter this morning. Apparently he had a shower and then wrapped his towel around him and took his suitcase out at 2:15am and the door shut behind him!! He couldn’t get back into his room, so had to catch the lift down to reception to get another key, clothed only in a towel! Can you imagine?! Hee, hee…..

The flight was quick, just over an hour. On arrival in Aswan we were immediately driven to the High Dam. Very impressive. The expanse of water is just HUGE.

We then continued to Philae Temple. We were taken to the island on which Philae Temple stands by motor boat. It was a lovely boat ride there and back. A local chap brought some of their locally made jewellery with and we had the opportunity to buy some without being hassled by vendors. In retrospect I should have bought more from him as we didn’t have many opportunities to buy this type of jewellery.

I fell a little in love with Philae Temple, the setting is SO beautiful, very much what I imagine Greece to be like. Charming oleander bushes, rocks and water and of course the beautiful, ancient temple watching over it all. Philae temple was in fact moved from it’s original site on Philae island to the nearby Agilika island in the 1960s, because of perpetual flooding caused by the building of the dam. Imagine the logistics of moving an ancient temple?!

We then drove to a perfumery. We were totally taken in by the sales speel and ended up buying rather more than we had anticipated. Typical tourist suckers, that’s us!

Finally we made it to the boat in time for lunch. There were numerous cruise boats berthed along the river. Our boat, the MS Sapphire, is berthed between two others.

The food is really good on the boat, more local flavour, which is nice. We’re sitting at a table with 3 Canadians from our tour, and will keep this table for the remainder of the cruise.

Our cabin is very nice. A room with a double bed, side tables, 2 chairs, a large dressing table and a chest for our suit cases. There’s a big built-in cupboard too. The bathroom is small with a loo, shower and basin.

We’re on the 3rd floor and above us is the pool deck. The pool deck is really lovely with lots of loungers under canvas as well as tables and chairs around the bar area.

The Nile is gorgeous, very wide, with a narrow strip of green along the banks and then the desert takes over. Aswan is much cleaner than Cairo and far more peaceful too.

This afternoon we were taken on a felucca as far as the Botanical Gardens and Aga Khan’s mausoleum. We then transferred to a motor-boat for the return trip to our boat. It took about 1 ½ hours in total. It was very relaxing and a wonderful opportunity to see life along the Nile up close.

This evening after supper there were performances by a belly dancer and a whirling dervish in the lounge. Shame, young and lovely the belly dancer was not, but she got a few of the girls up and taught them some moves which was fun to watch! The whirling dervish was something to see though.

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