|Avenue of the Spinxes in Luxor|
We spent the next a few days cleaning up and relaxing while organising our Nile Cruise and minibreak!! We were recommended the “Nile Admiral” ship and Cairo based GAT Tours and booked everything via internet and received excellent and prompt service. We were able to pay the 4 night cruise (USD76pp pn including all meals, tours, admissions, guides) at a local bank in Hurghada in either USD or EGP which suited us well and they also arranged our transfer to Luxor with the tourist convey to connect with the cruise. This was USD45pp which was much more than we paid for our other transfers we organised independently enroute but worked well for us at the time.
|Statues of Menom on Luxors West Bank|
Day 3 dawned hot and sunny yet again and there were more sights to see. A morning tour to the excellent Temple of Horus in Edfu followed by a short shopping excursion then it was back onboard for another restful afternoon as we headed further south. Our late afternoon stop was at Kom-Ombo Temple, positioned beautifully on a bend in the Nile overlooking the setting sun. Running the gauntlet through the stalls to get back onboard before sailing time was not an easy task. That evening onboard was fancy dress Egyptian style and many of the previous day’s purchases were worn in high spirits. Another early start on day 4 was not welcome after a late night but there was more to see.
|Temple of Edfu|
Next morning the 4 of us taxied to the local bus station and boarded the early Upper Egypt Bus Company bus to Abu Simbel. Big mistake, but we must all learn the hard way and it was an experience. All looked ok to start with but before we had even left Aswan we were diverted to the bus company depot and all changed onto a bus that would not have passed a safety inspection in most countries for at least 10 years. It had just been hosed out, so seats (which weren’t actually attached to the frames), floor, basically everything was wet so the only dry seats we could get were at the back, above the motor. Oh well, it was only 4 hours, it would be fine. But it got hotter, and hotter, and hotter, to the point where we couldn’t put our feet on the floor. This was combining nicely with the outside air temperature which was over 40 degrees and of course this bus didn’t have air-conditioning. Surprisingly we actually arrived safely and almost on time, way more by good luck than the drivers skills. We were escorted by a local military man to our overnight accommodation just 4 minutes walk away, the Eskaleh, ph 0020 (97) 340 1288, 40Euro double room. It sits lakeside in a quiet street and is a traditional Nubian mudbrick house. Our cute room had air-con, fan, ensuite and free wifi, (or free use of their computer) the owners and staff were absolute delights and the food very good, the only downside was no swimming pool which might have been good.
|Flat out on the Nile after another busy|
morning spent sightseeing
This was a big side trip almost back down to the Sudanese boarder, but a definite highlight of our Nile Valley minibreak. Next morning we did the wise thing and asked the hotel to organise a private car for us and we joined the 10am tourist convoy to Aswan. Our driver then organised another car to take us on the 2pm convoy to Luxor where we stayed the night at the St Joseph Hotel, on the Corniche. The room was comfortable with air con, ensuite with bathtub, lake views, balcony, rooftop swimming pool, free WIFI, and breakfast included for USD30. The staff were helpful and booked a private minivan for the 4 of us to join the following afternoon’s convoy back to Balvenie and Gone with the Wind in Hurghada. Our final mornings sightseeing included a ride on a horse and carriage with the obligatory stop at the papyrus market, and a leisurely look through the Luxor Museum which has been set out very well, with some excellent pieces recently discovered in Luxor Temple, a couple of mummies, some pieces from Tutankhamun’s Tomb and a host of other interesting artefacts, all displayed well and explained (in English). The transfer worked well and we arrived home to the marina before dark, having very much enjoyed our 8 day excursion. A new adventure awaited us, the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal.
See our web album for more photos http://picasaweb.google.com/yachtbalvenie/2008Egypt