Edfu Temple And An Afternoon On The Nile

by Dave on January 8, 2009 · 1 comment

Horse and carts await cruise passengers in Edfu

“Some countries are just perfect for tourists. Italy is. So are Mexico and Spain. Turkey, too. Egypt, of course. Pretty big. Not too dirty. Nice food. Courteous people. Sunshine. Lots of masterpieces. Ruins all over the place. Names that ring a bell. Long vague history. The guide says, ‘Papyrus’ or ‘Hieroglyphic’ or ‘Tutankhamen,’ or ‘one of the Ptolemaies,’ and you say, ‘Yup.'” — Paul Theroux in “Dark Star Safari”

Edfu Temple

On our first morning of the cruise, we met at reception at 9am and boarded horse-drawn carriages to the Temple of Horus in Edfu – the best preserved temple in Egypt. Indeed, it was massive, covered in hieroglyphic carvings. These spaces are amazing now so they must’ve been stunning in their heyday. I got to know a few people on the cruise during the tour.

Exterior walls covered in hieroglyphics

After the tour, I sat on the roof of the MS Beau Soleil for an hour, first writing for the blog, then chatting with the American couple, Darcie and Gary, from Wisconsin. Their daughter, Amy, and her boyfriend, Joe, soon joined us. When the lunch buffet was ready, we descended and devoured as is the status quo on cruises.

Our local guide explains the mythical history of relavent gods

To make money, the ships all charge for drinks, whether it be bottle water or beer. The smart people smuggle drinks aboard, while the lazy (like me) suck it up and pay the piper at the end. I enjoyed a post-lunch cappuccino on the mid-level lounge before returning to a shady section of the roof to watch the Nile River Valley float by.

Our cruise ship awaits

Since getting a minimal itinerary from the travel agent in Cairo was like pulling teeth, I was operating on a need to know basis. It turned out I wasn’t alone, and took solace with others, in this Egyptian approach to tourism. On the roof, I realized the boat would reach Aswan on the second night, so the third night would be stationary. I knew my room was nicer than whatever awaited me on shore, so this didn’t bother me though I did wish we had more time to cruise along the river. I decided to make the most of the afternoon.

Learning Egyptian rules backgammon

Since getting a minimal itinerary from the travel agent in Cairo was like pulling teeth, I was operating on a need to know basis. It turned out I wasn’t alone, and took solace with others, in this Egyptian approach to tourism. On the roof, I realized the boat would reach Aswan on the second night, so the third night would be stationary. I knew my room was nicer than whatever awaited me on shore, so this didn’t bother me though I did wish we had more time to cruise along the river. I decided to make the most of the afternoon.

View from the top deck

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is the author of 1736 posts on Go Backpacking.

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Categories: Egypt
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