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Published: October 25th 2019
Queen of Hansa
Leaving Aswan. So happy to have caught the amazing sunrise.
The ship left Aswan very early in the morning, on our way to our first stop for the day, the Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek. Awaken by the engines, a peak out the window rewarded me with a gorgeous sunrise as we left Aswan on our way to Luxor.
This temple is conveniently located a short distance from where the ship had docked so it was an easy walk.
Kom Ombo is one of the more unusual temples in Egypt. It was dedicated to Horus and Sobek but, because Sobek was considered an ally of Seth and therefore enemy of Horus, the builders separated their temple spaces within one temple. One side for each god.
The main court has 16 columns, eight on each side, and five lotus-shaped columns on the rear wall with two entrances to the first Hypostyle hall. One for each god. There are ten lotus-shaped columns here with the middle two separating the two halves of the hall, one side for each god.
Much of the temple has been destroyed by earthquakes, erosion from the Nile, and looters stealing stone for other projects. Only the portion dedicated to
Sobek, the House of the Crocodile, was cleared and restored in 1893. The eastern portion, the Castle of the Falcon, is only rubble.
This is one of the temples where the Coptic Church took over the temple and many of the ancient reliefs were defaced and removed. Curse them!
On the way out of the temple there is a free museum containing mummified crocodiles. This area of the Nile was once infected with crocodiles. No wonder the residents wished to appease them by dedicating a temple to Sobek right on the bank of the Nile.
Although the ship was docked practically across the exit from the temple, we were still within a schedule to continue sailing to Edfu for our visit that afternoon.
After another sumptuous lunch, many people took the chance to enjoy a nap, but we chose instead to settle at the bar on the top deck and order Margaritas while we watched the banks of the River Nile go by. The scene is fascinating, with the contrast of the greenery close to the water, and the desert not too distant. That view never got old for me.
We saw many scenes of
rural life in Egypt, passing what seemed like small farms. I wondered, looking at some of the mud structures, if the lifestyle for these people has actually changed hat much since ancient times.
We also saw signs of modernization, like new bridge construction that will facilitate expansion.
The Temple of Edfu is across the city from the ship, so the chosen transportation was by horse carriages, two persons per cart. Ours was a pitiful specimen, both the driver and the hapless horse by the name of ... RAMBO! Our driver was quite diligent in pointing out all the attractions around town, like the bank, or a school, although I got the impression that his English consisted of barely a few words. Soon we arrived at the area where the horses have their own stalls, covered thank goodness!
The Temple of Edfu, dedicated to Horus, is the second largest in Egypt, and considered the most beautiful. It took close to 180 years to complete the construction which began began in 237 BC and was completed by 57 BC. It is situated in the traditional location of the battle between Horus and Seth.
This temple contains passage after
passage, and room after room, all covered in beautiful scenes. I could have spent hours at this temple but, unfortunately, we had a ship deadline. The ship was continuing the trip to arrive in Luxor that evening for an overnight, so I had to content myself with trying to walk through as many nooks as I could find, and admire as many of the decorated columns in the Hypostyle Hall as I could.
Our tour guide had been very specific on each of us tipping only $1 at the end of the ride back to the ship, but our driver's eagerness to entertain us arose my sympathy. I gave him $2 whole dollars for his efforts! The tour paid them, I knew, but it just seemed so minimal.
That evening, after the captain's reception, we were treated to dinner on the top deck, to be able to enjoy our passage through the Esna lock. It was very interesting to watch although it was marred by one enterprising salesman yelling from the shore and waving his wares to get our attention, but it was something impossible to avoid anywhere around sites in Egypt. I do know these people are
A Horus and Sobek inscription.
poor so I could not really blame them, and tried to tolerate their efforts.
The entrance to every temple had a crafts area that we had to walk through. Some were merely blankets on the ground covered with goods, others were better organized mini souks with permanent stalls. I soon learned to walk without showing any particular interest in any of the offered good, or making eye contact.
However, I did fall victim to one of the more enterprising store owners earlier. He had followed me to the entrance of the temple and given me his card, which appears to make them think you have some obligation towards them, but I found myself in need of a Galabeya for the Egyptian style party on board that evening. Some people thrive in haggling, I do not. I know I paid too much for what I bought, but it is cute and will make a very comfortable housecoat in summer. And, not to be forgotten, I got some jingly coin trimmed head scarf to go with it. I have no idea what to do with it.
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