A luxury Earth River Cruise has long been on this bucket list here at Our Itchy Travel Feet. I actually imagine gliding along the Earth on a Dahabiya, stopping to learn temples that become more and much more grand. For me, it would be the journey dream come true .
Showcased writer, Debi Lander, ByLanderSea , gives her experience on a Dahabiya Nile Cruise. Yes, exactly what sounds like a dream of a vacation can actually come true.
Ancient Egypt’s pyramids , mummies, tombs, and temples or wats have long mystified the general public, gaining heightened interest following the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s intact tomb in 1922. When Master Carnarvon, financier of the ancient dig, died shortly after the opening, rumors arose from the tomb carrying a problem.
My captivation with Egypt goes back to my elementary school times. Of course , I wondered the way the pyramids were built together a ghoulish fascination with mummies, but a story in Our Weekly Reader about the creating of the Aswan Dam sustained my curiosity.
A project had been underway to save a forehead from the rising water within new Lake Nassar , the world’s largest man-made lake. The shrine will be cautiously cut apart plus moved to higher ground. I guaranteed myself, “Someday I’ll visit Egypt and see those pieces. ”
That will someday took about 6 decades, but finally happened. I actually signed on for a visit of the country starting within Cairo .
The Sphinx on the dusty day in Giza
Like all very first time visitors, I wanted to look upon the 4, 500-year-old pyramids of Giza , the Sphinx, and the pieces in the National Archeological Art gallery. They’ve stood the test of time plus demonstrate the astonishing abilities of the ancient craftsmen.
My schedule included more than Giza’s miracles, I would cruise the Earth River to see the sacred temples or wats and the Pharaohs tombs within the Valley of the Kings, accompanied by a camel trek within the rocky South Sinai area.
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The Nile Fantasy
Nile cruises generally start in Aswan and result in Luxor or vice versa. I flew from Cairo to Aswan ( research plane tickets here ) plus recommend that route. The first temples or wats will lack color yet gradually intensify to lively hues in the Valley from the Kings, rather than the other method around.
My tour number of seven persons cruised on the small sailboat called the dahabiya, appropriately named the Nile Dream . Though the boat has sails, it was pulled by a tether off a tugboat.
This method ensures that tourists on smaller boats, such as dahabiyas or feluccas – traditional fishing boats, keep to the planned itinerary. Larger cruise ships securing average 100 persons would be the most popular, but I am content I experienced a small personal boat.
As expected, my cabin or even stateroom felt tight along with two single beds and also a compact, but adequate restroom. The ship offered 8 cabins on the main outdoor patio plus the kitchen.
Lounge area on a Dahabiya cruise
The eating area and relaxing community hall filled the open-air top deck along with the off-limits region for steering. The motorboat was extremely comfortable, the particular Nile waters calm, as well as the staff gracious and useful.
Meals showcased bountiful Mediterranean cuisine made out of fresh ingredients. My team ate together at a big table on the upper outdoor patio, boat flaps lowered during the night when the temperature dropped. Espresso and tea were continually available upon request, also for early risers.
Lunch time and dinner started along with soup and a generous distribute of appetizers like baba ghanoush, tzatziki, vegetable racks, bread and salad. I was offered two choices for the primary course and always treat and tea. Most Egyptians don’t drink alcohol, but all of us purchased wine in Aswan and held for happy-hour.
Such as ancient times, the Nile Water remains the lifeline within Egypt, with plenty of vessel traffic near the major slots. The temple sites came about along the shores, so they best seen and certainly the majority of enjoyed from a cruise.
My group reached the Aswan airport, fulfilled our guide and went off for a closer go through the High Aswan Dam. The particular guide explained its require and importance: to prevent yearly floods and to provide necessary hydroelectric power. We ended at the dam’s 2 . five mile-long wall and at the particular monument erected to say thanks to the Soviet government meant for helping finance the task.
Philae Temple since seen from the Nile Lake
The Philae Temple came next , a structure now sleeping on an island reached with a short boat ride. The particular temple was built in the very first century B. C. in order to honor Isis, goddess associated with beauty and love, the particular wife of Osiris, lord of heaven and the master of the underground world.
The stately colonnade, lined with intricately created columns feature female deals with. Large etched drawings associated with gods cover the exterior entry, and smaller drawings show on the interior of the sanctuary. The tiny island feels peaceful, possibly due to the presence of Isis.
Intricately carved focus on the walls.
Philae gave me my first look at historic hieroglyphics and an introduction for some of the many gods and goddesses. They can be confusing but the knowledge increased each day.
The particular Philae Temple was one which became partially submerged with the dam’s construction, causing the coated areas of the artwork in order to fade. Fortunately, it was preserved before suffering major harm. If you weren’t told, you will never know the buildings have been moved and reconstructed.
The entry to Abu Simbel
We all went to bed earlier to make a pre-dawn, three-hour generate to Abu Simbel , the temple I ‘d read about as a child. Back in the earlier 1960s, 51 nations decided to help save Abu Simbel on the cost of $50 million. That will sounds low, but if revalued, the figure would operate about $450 million nowadays.
Abu Simbel was built simply by and for Ramses II, generally known as Ramses the Great who dominated for 67 years, within the 13th-century B. C. You can not help feeling small close to the four gigantic figurines, all of them Ramses, seated on the temple entrance.
Each one is approximately 65-feet higher, essentially forcing his energy and ego upon a person. (FYI: Ramses II had taken many wives and was the dad of about 111 sons plus 51 daughters. )
When I entered the particular doorway between the middle 2 statues, I stood spellbound. I gazed upon the truly amazing Hall, not surprisingly, lined with increased statues each about 30-feet tall, and a maze associated with beautifully carved rooms along with scenes etched into the wall space. The artwork depicts main events in Ramses the particular Great’s lifetime or the grave possibilities.
The inner-most chamber contains four sitting down statues, aligned so the sunlight shines directly on them two times a year. However , even within my visit, I captured the particular morning sunlight glowing from the heads of the figures.
A second, smaller sized temple dedicated to Nefertari, Ramses’ favorite wife, stands close by. The temple is flanked by 38-foot tall figurines of both the king plus queen. The interior is similar in fashion just not as grand.
The website also includes a small art gallery with photographs and video clips about the miraculous engineering task. The temple was properly marked and supported, after that cut apart.
Once a giant cliff had been fashioned to hold and replicate the original terrain, the parts were reassembled. The amazing result overwhelms.
On the three-hour return ride, visitors got a nap and appreciated the complete barrenness of the huge Libyan Desert, miles plus miles of flat brown sand, or bare nothingness. Even though the shrine sits in the center of nowhere, don’t miss Abu Simbel.
Kom Ombo illuminated at night.
Finally, the joy associated with relaxing and floating throughout the Nile began. The thrill, in my opinion, was seeing the greenery of sugar cane, palms and bushes flourishing together with the edge of the river, just like I had imagined them. Sometimes, colorful little villages, college children, fishermen and ladies carrying baskets appeared off-shore.
At sunset, we docked and explored Kom Ombo, a temple dedicated to the particular Egyptian gods Horas plus Sobek, the crocodile our god. Being a Floridian, I know alligators, so found the is definitely the figures familiar. The Egyptians thought if they transformed the particular reptiles into religious gods, the animals wouldn’t assault.
After, I stopped in the next to museum to see mummified crocodiles dating from the first millennium B. C. Egyptians mummified many creatures along with their proprietors. I walked back to the Nile Dream as night fell, admiring Kom Obo in radiant nighttime lighting.
Courtyard at Edfu Temple
In the morning we docked on the small village of Esna and took an equine and carriage ride in order to Edfu Temple. Edfu had been covered in silt plus sand for almost 2, 1000 years and is, therefore , the very best preserved, although it’s more recent with a finish date associated with 57 B. C. Within 1789, a French journey discovered the upper parts of house, but work to totally free it from the sands did not begin until 1860.
On entering the complex, the thing is two statues guarding the primary temple entrance. One granitic falcon god, Horus, appears in mint condition, the alternative only slightly chipped. The particular structure’s massive strength could be felt especially when you glance at the height and depth from the walls.
The Collosi at Thebes
I used to be beyond excited when it has been time to go to the Valley of the Kings , burial ground for Historic Egyptian royalty between the 16th and 11th century BC. The towering arid, rugged mountains easily disguise the particular hidden tombs. Even in The month of january, the air felt hot amongst these scorched limestone coves.
Following a short tram ride, we all entered the tomb associated with Ramses IV. I in no way imagined the corridors will be so wide and lengthy, no claustrophobic anxiety right here.
Beautifully coated hieroglyphics and scenes informing stories of gods as well as other characters covered the wall space and ceilings. Incredibly, they may be still in near ideal condition, my eyes didn’t understand where to focus with the physical overload.
The beauty within the tomb of Ramses 4
My heartbeat boomed to epic proportions as we neared King Tut’s tomb. I tried to visualize the exhilaration archeologist Howard Carter must have experienced on his monumental discovery.
The chambers, packed to the ceiling, contained a good immense wealth of pieces for the pharaoh to use within the afterlife. It took many years to properly catalog and take them off from the tomb. (Some take display in the Cairo art gallery and will now be moved to the particular GEM- Grand Egyptian Art gallery. )
Whilst Tutankhamen’s tomb is the littlest in the valley, the amazing discovery greatly increased the particular collective knowledge of the historic world. I stood within awe of the boy ruler and the timeless beauty within this space.
Slowly, I transferred vibrantly painted frescoes that will looked like they were painted last night. The guard permitted all of us to take cell phone photos, types I now cherish.
Tut’s empty marbled sarcophagus remains in the funeral chamber and his mummy is based on one of the antechambers. The limited time I spent in his burial place are moments I will always remember, and yes, worth a visit to Egypt.
We also performe across the country Ramses IX’s tomb stuffed with even more saturated color to the walls and symbols. Our guide explained many of the truth is, but it takes deep research to understand and recall.
Nonetheless, I drenched in the magic as I walked back to ancient times imaging priests assembling deep below the planet earth. I envisioned a memorial procession carrying treasures for that pharaohs and the smell associated with incense filling the air. Such a sight it must have already been.
Queen Hatshepsut’s forehead
We moved on in order to Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, the structure very different and almost contemporary looking with Romanesque content. I was intrigued by the girl story and, as vacation often inspires, want to learn read more about the famous queen.
All of us also toured an complex tomb in the Valley from the Queens belonging to a kid Ramses III. We failed to visit Queen Nefertari’s burial place, considered the most beautiful.
Tip: Her tomb needs reservations, entrance fees about $90, and a time-limited go to. But , if I am actually lucky enough to return to Thebes , I’ll not skip it.
We finished the day in the Colossi of Memnon, 2 imposing but decaying figurines standing in an open field regarding 40 feet tall. We felt exhausted but exhilarated; my lifelong dreams achieved.
The boat staff defeat rhythms on drums, did and danced for us on this last night. The following morning, all of us left to explore Luxor previously known as Thebes.
Luxor became the religious funds of Egypt during the elevation of the Pharaonic period. The particular temple complexes were started around 1390 B. Chemical. and later pharaohs purchased mega-additions.
The Temple associated with Karnak covers over two hundred acres and contains the important forehead of Amun, king from the gods. The site overwhelms guests with endless courtyards, halls, colonnades and a sacred river.
At one time 800, 000 guys worked in the temple since laborers, guards, priests, plus servants. The temple has been buried under sand to get more than 1, 000 yrs before excavation work started in the mid 19th hundred years. It continues today.
The method of the sphinxes links the particular temple of Luxor using the Karnak Temple and had been one of my favorite sites. Most of the 1, 350 human-headed sphinxes with the bodies of elephants that once lined the particular avenue have been restored. In the annual Opet festival, priests paraded from Karnak in order to Luxor Temple bearing the particular statues of the deities: Amun-Re, his wife Mut plus their son Khonsu.
At Karnak, Also i loved the row associated with criosphinxes, sphinxes with ram’s heads instead of the traditional human being head.
Luxor Temple, too, astounds along with huge statues near the entry. It also features colonnades, courtyards and a garden.
I was beginning to get brow overload when we moved to the particular nearby mosque with a great spot to overlook the complicated. I tried to hold that will memory in my brain.
It was time for you to take to the skies once again, but I think my head had been in the clouds. Egypt houses one-third of the world’s antiquities and travels there has been an exotic adventure. The Nile cruise was definitely an once in a lifetime experience along with a must for any world tourist.
Soon, the new GEM (Grand Egyptian Museum) will open up – currently set for your end of 2020. This particular fabulous building will display never before seen priceless artefacts and alone is cause enough to plan a visit. After the revolution in 2011, travel and leisure fell dramatically but is constantly on the rise and the GEM will certainly increase the numbers.
My trip to Egypt was completely self-financed. I arrived in Cairo as a solo female tourist and later met plan others for a private little group tour. I experienced safe during the early 2020 trip. Please contact me personally for additional details at: [email protected]