Nile Cruise and Luxor

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October 16th 2008
Published: August 27th 2012
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16th Oct: We had a pretty lazy morning following our big day that we had yesterday. Jodie Mel and I went for breakfast at an outdoor cafe on a square near to our hotel. We had an amazing breakfast of these pancake type things, but they were more like pasty, filled with jam or chocolate spread. We got a different one each strawberry, honey and chocolate. They were all delicious and we all shared them, however we were all unable to finish them due to their size.

Later in the day, I think early afternoon we boarded our felucca, which was to be our home for the next two nights. We went down to the docks, the same place we had been yesterday and boarded our boat. It was interesting to watch the Egyptian peopel getting on to other boats and going about their normal lives, as this trip was a novelty for us. The felucca was pretty small and basic. If you were expecting deluxe cruising you were gonna be in for a big shock. A felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat that was used in the past to transport goods on the Nile, however they are not used for that purpose anymore and are mainly used for tourists to cruise along the Nile. The felucca was pretty small but there was enough room for us to spread out a bit. We each lay down and watched the world pass us by as we sailed slowly down the Nile. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing this, relaxing, reading and chatting, it was really nice to do nothing and have a little holiday within a holiday. There were no facilities on board the boat and we all just slept on the deck in our sleeping bags.

In the evening we docked along the banks of the Nile and set up our lovely toilet. It was basically a toilet seat on a metal frame and our cook on the boat made us a wonderful dinner. The food that this guy made with limited resources was amazing, I wish I had his skills. Then it was time for our evening entertainment. There were a couple of other feluccas staying in the same spot as us, and the crews all got together and put on a drumming show for us. They were excellent apart from one of the white guys from one of the other boats joining in, grr! After listening to their preformance it was hookah time. They had brought some shisha pipes on the boats and we all sat around talking, laughing, smoking, and drinking. Another great evening.

17th Oct: We were up early this morning, basically as it started to get light. There ain't no curtains on the felucca. The day was pretty uneventful, we just sailed down the Nile. It was another nice relaxing day. The only problem was I had a gyppy belly. I'm very sorry to the random restaurant that we stopped at to use the toilet. It was already blocked before I got there and I certainly didn't help matters. Back on the boat after a few shit pills my belly stopped gurgling. That night everyone was much more subdued and most of us had an early night although a few did still party.

18th Oct: I was definitely ready to get off the boat today, it had been great but I hate feeling dirty and greasy and couldn't wait to have a shower and use a proper toilet. Lol! The things we take for granted. I think one night on the boat would of been enough and I noticed that the tour agency did make this alteration a few months later, with longer in Alexandria, which I would also of liked.

When we first got off the boat we drove to a temple, which I cannot remember the name of now. Not that many of the group could be bothered to go. But I'm glad I did, after lazing around on the felucca it was nice to be doing something again. Despite sailing for two days we hadn't got very far at all. It all depends on the winds. So it was still a couple of hours drive to reach Luxor. I think we went to our hotel first so that we could all shower, yay! Then we sorted out our activities for the next day, hot air balloon ride and a visit to the Valley of the Kings. Then we headed off to Karnak Temple.

Karnak Temple is a big complex of different temples and other building. It takes its name from the nearby village. It is the largest religious site in the world and the second most visited site in Egypt after the pyramids. However not all of it is open to visitors. The temple complex was started during the reign of Sesostris I in the Middle Kingdom and was completed in Ptolemaic period. the temple was amazing and it was great to wander around it. The walls were covered with loads of heiroglyphics. The amount of detail was amazing. I was also fascinated that some parts were coloured. I wonder if it had all been coloured and it had all faded or if only some of it had been coloured. Anyway, another beautiful temple. I think the temple has also been used in some films, but I can't remember which ones.

That night we headed into the centre of Luxor and had a wander around the shops. Lots of blokes trying to get us in to buy stuff, but we weren't really interested. However we did go to a jewellery shop and got some pieces made with hieroglyphics on and another place that Wahid recommended to buy some papyrus pictures. We had dinner in a lovely rooftop restaurant, before taking one of the local mini bus things back to the hotel.

19th Oct: Yet another early morning and once again I was
Nubian DrummersNubian DrummersNubian Drummers

And a random westerner.
happy about this as we were off on a balloon ride. From our group there was only me, Jodie and Mel, who wanted to do it. I hope everyone else enjoyed their lie-ins. First off we were picked up and driven to the Nile. There we boarded a boat, which was quite big and filled with other people taking balloon rides. Balloon rides are big business in Luxor, they are pretty cheap and loads of people do them. Our boat along with a lot of others saiiled to the other side of the Nile. The journey was pretty short, but we had breakfast on the way. We got off the boat on the other side of the Nile and we drove to the balloon site. It was a great sight to see all the balloon coming up and down as the sun broke through the sky. A beautiful sunrise. When we were at the balloon launching site, we did not stay still we had to chase our balloon through the field and catch it, as the direction it goes is dependent on the wind. So we had fun driving up and down tracks and in to fields until we got

The Nile
to our balloon.

Luckily we had a small balloon so there were only 6 of us in the basket and the pilot, too. It was fuuny because as one person was hefted out another was hefted in. When we all got in the pilot took us up into the air. It was amazing. I hate flying but this was completely different, I think because of the slower pace. The views were great we got to look down on Luxor and The Valley of The Kings below us. The balloon ride was about 45 minutes I think, if I remember correctly. The views were beautiful. We landed in a field and began the same process as before one in and one out. There was a load of commotion at the landing site.

Back on terra firma we headed off to meet up with the rest of the group at The Valley of The Kings. The Valley of The Kings was the resting place for many Egyptian Pharaohs. The site is massive and we had to take a little train type thing from the entrance gate to the actual tombs. We had a lovely guide there and she told us lots about the tombs and the Pharaohs. The site was pretty busy but we got to go into a few tombs, an amazing experience. It is a massive site and yet again shows how ahead of their time the Egyptians were. Me and Mel managed to get lost from the group, so we missed out on one of the tombs because of that. Our lovely guide did give us the offer of going in, but we felt too guilty that everybody would be waiting even longer for us.

After that eventful morning we had a special lunch planned, we were going to our guide, Shamia's house for lunch. I'm sure that they look on it as a way to make extra money, but for us it was much more exciting as we got to eat some real home cooked food and see what an Egyptian home is like. We went to her sister and brother in law's apartment. It was really nice inside, the outside was a bit dodgy. We were welcomed by Shamia's mother and sister and were given this lovely pink tea to drink, I think it was hibiscus. The tea was lovely I wish I knew

We nearly crashed into this!
what it was so I could have it again. The apartment was really nice and a good size. The food was amazing, they made us a huge feast. There was so much food. Also Shamia's brother in law popped in to say hi, which was really nice and we all got to thank them for their hospitality. The brother in law was a bank manager, I think and it was lovely of him to take the time to come and meet us.

After lunch we went back to the hotel. We had a lazy afternoon spent lounging around and chatting. I think we went up to the roof top pool and dipped our feet in. That evening we wandered around unsuccessfully looking for somewhere to eat. Then it was time to get back on the night train.

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