Monday, June 7, 2010

Trip to Egypt Segment Four

This morning (Wednesday) we were able to sleep until six-thirty, be ready to leave the ship at eight for an hour and a half drive in a coach bus to Dendera for a tour of the Temple of Hathor. The sailing on the Nile had been delayed for two days, because the water level was too low in the Nile.  During the ride to the temple we were able to see farmers and their fields of cabbages, pumpkins, sesame, cauliflower, etc. We saw the irrigation canals and diesel pumps used to dispense water. We saw the mud brick houses. We saw animals such as cows, donkeys, and horses. The donkeys were pulling small wagons of vegetation and were ridden by people.
Ride Down the Nile River to Dendera to the Temple of Hathor
Observe the mud brick houses.

The Temple of Hathor is magnificent, but everything had been blackened by smoke on the interior of the Temple. An ancient times many temples had become hiding places and the occupant fires caused blackening of all the interior surfaces. Today there are people in the process of trying to remove the black layers. The small areas that have been cleaned  and restored reveal spectacular colors.
Exterior of the Temple of Hathor
Observe the Hathor headed columns to the left.
Observe a well just above.

Exterior of the Temple of Hathor
Observe the engraving of Cleopatra and her son  in the upper right.

Smoke Blackened interior of the Temple of Hathor
Observe the Hathor headed columns.

Smoke Blackened interior of the Temple of Hathor

During lunch today we finally set sail up the Nile. The Nile is one of a few rivers in the world that flows North. Though we were sailing south, thus we were sailing up the Nile. We were able to spend sometime on the deck today taking in the sites as we sailed towards Kom Ombo. When the sun sat the temperature became very cool and chilly. We knew that sometime soon we should be going through Locks at Esna. While we are waiting our ships turn to go through the Locks, we should have an opportunity to participate in the floating market. The vendors throw an object they are selling up on the ship deck. It was very interesting seeing the floating market. Vendors in boats came up to our boat and threw their merchandise on board our boat. Than we were able to look at the item and barter a price. They would throw a pouch on board for us to put in our money. The items we didn’t want we threw back to them. They continued to try and sell their wares until they can no longer reach the boat safely because it is starting to go through the Locks.

Sailing up the Nile towards the Esna Locks

Up to this point the temperature so far has been very pleasant. The highest it has been so far is the very low 80s one day. Outside of all the places we have toured the vendors are a bit pushy at times, the worst was the market on the exit from the Temple of Hatshepsut. They were lined up the whole length and tried to trap you from moving, so you have to keep walking and say no (laa shokran). It is fun haggling and getting a good bargain.

Egypt Trip Segment One

Egypt Trip Segment Two

Egypt Trip Segment Three

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trip to Egypt Segment Three

We were up early again (Tuesday) at five thirty to leave for a tour of the West bank of the Nile. You might say to yourself, 'I thought they were on vacation so why are they getting up so early everyday'. I will tell you now, it was everyday. This gave us a chance to have a nice buffet breakfast on the boat before we left every morning. It also gave us a jump on the crowds that were coming from further distances. And it gave us enough time to see the sights before the sun was too hot and be back on the boat for a great buffet lunch and time to relax on the boat. On our way to the Valley of the Kings which is on the west bank of the Nile we saw some hot air balloons.

Today we visited the Valley of the Kings and were able to go into three of the tombs. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures. The tombs we entered were Ramses IV KV2, Ramses IX KV6,  and Ramses III KV11. SPECTACULAR is the one word that describes it the best. The surprising things to me : the passage ways were not narrow and low; the paintings, drawings, colors and size of the tombs were spectacular, The yellows, blues, and reds the guide informed us that only one man was responsible for one color. And that is why there is a consistency in the colors. Inside the tomb of Ramses IV, as we entered on the right hand wall  there is evidence of Christian occupancy by the crosses and Coptic language engraved in the wall. At the Valley of the Kings there is still a lot of excavation going on to find more tombs We also saw some pieces of pottery that had recently been discovered.

We than boarded our touring coach to visit the Temple of Hatshepsut. First we arrived at the welcoming building and took an open vehicle ride to the area of the Temple. Once at the Temple we walked up the ramps to experience all the levels. Here I saw  the Pillars of Hathor and Statues of Ramses. Along with engravings and paintings. It is amazing how this Temple is built at the base of a high  limestone cliff ( As a side it reminded of the Basilica at Monserrat in Spain with the high cliffs surrounding it.)

Leaving the Temple to catch the open ride back to the welcoming building we had to go through one of the many markets we saw during our time in Egypt. The vendors were very aggressive, so it helped to be able to say no thank you in Arabic. It gave us a good time to practice our bartering to get some great bargains.

Once again we boarded the tour bus one more time for a stop at the Colossi of Memnon for a photo shoot on our way back to the boat for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing on the boat.

Our scenic ride back to the boat took us past some of the housing and Nile river farmers with their donkey and cart.

During the morning the sun was shining brightly, the air was very dry and the temperature that started out rather cool at 6am had warmed up to approximately 80F by 11:30am.

That evening the dinner was buffet style with very delicious all Egyptian foods. And the passengers and crew were dressed in Galabeya attire. We were entertained during dinner by the crew singing Egyptian and Nubian songs. Later we were entertained by a Swirling Dervish and Nubian dancers. They even got us up to dance with them and to form a conga like line. It was a whole lot of fun.

Egypt Trip Segment One

Egypt Trip Segment Two

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trip to Egypt Segment Two

The next morning (Monday) we had a three AM wakeup call to leave the hotel at four AM for the trip to the Cairo airport for a six AM flight to Luxor, Egypt. Our group consisted of sixteen people from throughout the United States and Canada plus our tour guide/cruise director. Once we arrived in Luxor, after gathering all our luggage, we boarded a Tour coach bus and went to visit the Temple of Karnak. Late in the afternoon we went to see the Temple of Luxor which was lit. Both of these Temples are spectacular sites to see. In between visiting the temples we boarded the brand new Uniworld riverboat named the River Tosca. We  found the ship a bit disappointing, because the workmanship was shoddy. However the service had been great and the food was very good. Note: Uniworld took the boat out of service for repairs and the boat is now sailing again.

Karnak: Temple of Amun


We were told if we walked three times counterclockwise around the statue of the Scarab Beetle our wishes would come true. The height of the pillars are unbelievable even when you are there standing among them. All the engravings on the wall, pillars and obelisk are breathtaking.

Luxor Temple

The Luxor temple is smaller than Karnak, but it was no less impressive. Seeing it in the late afternoon lit up with lightening made it even a more spectacular sight.

Egypt Trip Segment One

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trip to Egypt Segment One

This is an adventure I was going to blog as a traveling journal in real time as it was taking place. That did not happen, even though I had written the text in advance and only had to add the pictures once I accessed the internet. Frustratingly after having bought internet time on the boat more than once I gave up the idea. They didn't have enough signal on the boat to stay connected to the internet long enough.

Our flight finally left JFK a little after midnight on Saturday November 14th for an eleven hour flight to Cairo, Egypt. We flew on a Delta plane that had us packed in the smallest seats that must exist. We were served dinner, yes dinner at one am in the morning. The flight was long and miserable. Than about what is equivalent to eight-thirty AM EST we were served a salty pizza, salad and cookies for breakfast.

Cairo was interesting to see and the Marriott Hotel were we stayed for two nights is very large. It was very interesting to see people from the Middle East, some dressed in the long robes and others in ‘Western' dress.
The many languages that can be heard catches ones attention.

Cairo Marriott

In the morning  (Sunday) we met our tour guide also known as the tour director who would be with us throughout the entire vacation. In the morning we went to the Citadel and Mohammed Ali  Mosque. In the afternoon we went to the Egyptian Museum. At the museum we saw the treasures of Tutankhamen, as well as many other interesting objects from Ancient Egypt.

View of Cairo from the Citadel

The Citadel

Mosque of Mohammed Ali

Interior of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali

Mosque of Sultan Hassan

One of the numerous Minarets seen throughout Cairo

                                             Cairo Tower                                                                                    

Monday, April 5, 2010

It Has Been Awhile

It has been awhile since I have written anything on this blog. I have a lot to write about the travels I have taken since October, but I haven't had the time. The first thing I am going to write about is the fabulous trip I took to Egypt in November. I had intended to do a journal blog at the time, but we didn't have enough signal on the boat.

In the meantime, I have been reading a lot of scrap book blogs and they were taking up a lot of room on the sidebar of this blog. Yesterday I started a new blog just about scrapbooking. The new blog is