Day 4

Wednesday 26th May 2010 Edfu

I was woken at 4.30am by the muezzin calling despite the fact that I had earplugs in. I didn’t want to have to wear them as I’ve had a slight ear ache and didn’t want to aggravate it but the party music was loud last night and they helped me get off to sleep. Now I’m suffering as my ear now hurts so obviously I have aggravated it!
Back to sleep until woken by traffic outside window, it seems we are moored in a busy part of town judging by the noise. Tina stirred so I wished her a happy birthday but she went back to sleep. My ear still hurts; I hope it doesn’t get any worse. I think I’ll take some neurofen when I get up.

Birthday Cards (and loo roll for later in the week!)

Eventually got up at 7.30am for a shave and shower, with Tina sleeping through it, having a birthday lie in. I woke her at quarter to and she opened her cards and presents. The boat is docked in Edfu and outside there are a number of tourists getting into horse and carriages, I later found out they were on their way to Edfu temple. Our tour operator used to use them too but so many people complained about the welfare of the horses (yes they are very thin) they stopping using them. They now use coaches instead.
After Tina showered we went for breakfast, I chose cornflakes (which I’m not sure are gluten-free) and an omelette. On our table were Stuart and Barbara from Hook who both seem a nice couple. Whilst I was queuing for my omelette Sabry came up to me and said that they were going to do a special thing for Tina tonight at dinner. That’ll please her 🙂
Back to the cabin for a while before leaving for our first excursion of the day to the Edfu temple for the Falcon god Horus. The coach leaves at 9.30am.

Boat docked at Edfu

Pylons of Edfu Temple

We left promptly, being warned beforehand that the traders of Edfu were very ‘bloody’ pushy and not to get stuck in any shops. The journey to the temple was short and we arrived soon after leaving. Salwa said it looked busy and sure enough it was. Salwa explained the purpose of the temple which was different to the one we saw yesterday. Firstly it was Greco-Roman and was built as a temple of the living.

Graham sporting nifty hat next to Horus

The structure was very impressive with various sections where different levels of priests lived. The inner temple was the sacred part where the statue of the god Horus remained on his boat. The crowds made it difficult to fully listen to Salwa but eventually they disappeared and we were able to wander around freely.

Hieroglyphics

After the tour we asked Salwa to explain the hieroglyphics and she gave us a mini explanation. The temple has miles of text that has helped Egyptologists understand the purpose of the temple and also is able to explain hieroglyphics elsewhere too. The symbols are a mixture of letters, direct meanings and phonetic sounds. For example a wavy zigzag line represents an N for Nile, yet a falcon is an A. We bought a couple of cans of drink from the cafeteria and then boarded the coach, not before running the gauntlet of traders outside the temple.

We arrived back on board ready to set sail for Kom Ombo and sat up on the sundeck with Stuart, Barbara, Catherine and Santosh from our table until lunchtime. The tour guides run a little scheme whereby they can get some jewellery tailor made in hieroglyphics of your name. Tina bought a necklace and Egyptian cartouche in silver which will be delivered on Friday. Lunch was later than yesterday at 1pm.

As is usual by now, I didn’t need to queue for the buffet lunch; Sabry delivering my chicken, rice and vegetables direct to me. I topped up with salad from the buffet bar.
After dinner we got changed and relaxed by the pool, firstly in the sun but then in the shade under the sun deck. It was very relaxing watching the Egyptian Nile from a swimming pool.

Lots of palm trees

Kom Ombo viewed from boat

The rest of the afternoon was spent under the shade until the bell sounded to indicate it was teatime. Considering lunch was only three hours ago, it’s amazing how there is a rush for the counter as soon as the snacks are served.
We had our drinks and then retired back to our cabin for a rest (not that we’d been doing anything energetic all afternoon, it’s just so tiring sun bathing!)
We decided to go up on deck as it got closer to Kom Ombo to see the temple.

The boat docked alongside the harbour, with many other boats either docked or leaving. The boat drivers seem very organised and are able to dock and undock very simply and without too much drama. It was interesting to watch though.
The temple could be seen above the harbour, a five minute walk away. Also on the harbour were lots and lots of street traders waiting for their prey as they left the safety of their boats.
We assembled in reception and crossed the plank but fortunately there was a set of steps leading up to the temple path which was guarded by police stopping the traders from getting to you. We ran the gauntlet of the few that got through and walked the short distance to the temple.

Kom Ombo with traders in the foreground

At the Temple of Crocodile God Sobek Salwa spent an hour explaining the different rooms, referring to the Edfu temple which helped as this one was in poorer condition than the earlier one. We were shown some pictures of medical instruments, indicating that the Ancient Egyptians were very advanced. She also showed us the different versions of murals on the walls; some carved into the Walls and some raised. As this building was in a poorer state, we were also shown the dovetail joints used to keep the blocks of stone together. Another interesting fact was when Salwa pointed out a hole called a Nilometer which was used to measure the depth of the Nile in order to be able to tax the farmers. Apparently the height of the river determined the amount that was paid. I took a few more photos as the light faded then we boarded the boat, showered ready for dinner at 9pm.

Once we had got ready for dinner, we went up on top deck and chatted with Barbara and Stuart, ordering a bottle of wine in the process, then the bell rang so we went down for our meal.
It seems all those on the table are becoming more relaxed and enjoying each others company. At lunch we were asked what main course we wanted; I had plumped for fish, which I understand was barracuda whereas Tina went for the safety of chicken. After dessert, Sabry came up and said we needed to go up the front. The chefs and waiters then proceeded to sing a song for Tina’s birthday and got us to dance in front of the dinning guests They then got her to blow out a candle on a cake with Christina written on it (well it actually said ‘Christ’ on the top half and ‘ina’ on the bottom as they couldn’t fit all the name on one line).. Our table then enjoyed the cake as an extra course. We sat and chatted for some more; I chatted with Catherine and Santosh about Nepal. Then off to bed ready for our early start in the morning.

Click here for Day 5