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Published: June 11th 2017
Old Cataract Hotel
Where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile
We were up about 6 this morning, finished packing up and checked out of our riverboat cabin. We had a leisurely breakfast, then we said good bye to the MS Dolphin and headed out at 8 am for our tour of Philae Temple. I woke up about 4:30 this morning which a churning stomach, but my friend Immodium has done the trick. Susan has also had similar issues over the past few days which seem to have cleared up now. These types of gastrointestinal upsets are very common in Egypt and hard to avoid.
Philae temple (the Temple of Isis at Philae) is dedicated to the goddess Isis. It is a very nice small temple in a very pretty location, perched on Agilika island. It was one of the last pagan temples to operate in Egypt after the arrival of Christianity. The temple was dismantled and reconstructed 20 metres higher on nearby Agilika Island (from the original location on Philae Island). Following the construction of the old Aswan Dam, the temple was flooded for six months of each year. After the completion of the Aswan High Dam the temple would have disappeared completely, so between 1972 and 1980 it was
disassembled and reconstructed in its current location.
The temple was used as a church in the 7th C, and the Christians defaced some of the pagan reliefs. Too bad they just didn't plaster over like the Muslims did at The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
We got to the island on a small boat which was enjoyable. The boat operators also sell Nubian crafts (necklaces and bracelets) from the boat so we bought a few little things.
We checked into the Hotel Basma about 10:45. Our room is spacious and has a nice view of the hotel pool and the Nile. We had a scare in the room when I decided to wear my cartouche and asked Susan where the jewellery we had purchased on the boat was (we left it in the small paper bag it had come in). She said she didn't have it and I must have it. We dismantled our suitcases and knapsacks to no avail, then Susan said "there's one place I didn't look", and found the bag in a pouch in her suitcase. We were so relieved - that was a stressful few minutes of searching!
We met a few others
View from the terrace
Of the Old Cataract Hotel. We had gin and tonics.
in the group and headed off to the nearby Nubian Museum. It is a very well laid out and informative museum, all about Nubian history. Nubia is an area of southern Egypt and Sudan. The Nubian history is closely entwined with that of the Egyptians, but Nubians have their own language and culture.
We had lunch in the hotel (nothing else is open right now because it is Friday prayer time), and I'm relaxing in our air conditioned room working on the blog and admiring the view right now. I will add photos, then post later tonight after we get back from the Nubian village where we will have dinner with a local Nubian family. I'm not feeling too well right now, I started feeling unwell earlier today at the museum. I think maybe the heat is getting to me. It is very hot in this area of Egypt. I hope I will perk up soon.
It's now around 9 pm and we are back from our dinner at a Nubian village. We took a short van ride to the dock and then a pleasant boat ride for about 25 minutes down the Nile to the Nubian village.
Tombs of the Nobles
Taken from our cabin
We walked up a fairly steep hill to the home where we were welcomed by the husband and shown the home. It consisted of the children's room for the winter (the sun warms up the room), and the children's room for the summer (air conditioned and with a TV), the master bedroom, a living room area, and a pretty spacious kitchen. Stairs lead up to the roof where we admired the view, sat down on cushions and listened to a brief talk by the husband, who told us about the village and answered our questions. The wife brought out some Nubian necklaces and bracelets, some of which she had made, which were for sale. Many of the women in our group, including us, bought a few things. I think this is a way the family augment their income. There are three children in the family, two boys and one girl.
We had an excellent dinner consisting of lentil soup, two vegetable dishes (one mainly potato and one a particularly tasty kind of veggie stew), rice, chicken, salad, bread, and bananas. The food was very tasty (the lentil soup, the bread, and the veggie stew were particularly good). We finished
Tombs of the Nobles
During the day. See the tombs cut into the hillside.
with a mint tea.
We walked back down the hill to the dock and took the boat back and were soon back at the hotel. There was a nice cooling breeze on boat ride back. I mentioned I felt a bit unwell earlier but I did perk up after a little rest. I do think it was the heat. Southern Egypt is extremely hot.
We have ANOTHER crazy early start tomorrow. We have to be ready to leave the hotel at 4 am, for our 6 am flight to Cairo. In Cairo we will visit the Ibn Tulun Mosque, the Gayer-Anderson museum, and the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. Then we have lunch with a local family, and have the rest of the afternoon free. We'll be back at the Novotel (party boat central!)
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