Saturday 21 October 2017

Afternoon tea

Lovely family afternoon tea with mum and dad, E and M at Papplewick Tea Rooms today.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Last day in Egypt

We are heading home later today, so had one final snorkel.
The sea was much calmer and the sea was really clear. I spotted a giant blue fish and got quite a few shots before it surfaced and swam away. 

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Back on the coast

We drove back from Luxor to Hurghada yesterday, and today we walked to the end of the pier at the hotel next door to go snorkeling.
It was very windy and the sea was a bit rough, but there was loads of fish. I also saw two large sting rays swimming underneath me which was a bit disconcerting. 
I had a bit of trouble with my mask, so Mr A let me use his brand new, fancy full face one. It was a revelation, miles better than the old design with a much wider view and no need to bite on to the snorkel bit.
He is being very nice to me though and I think that he is going to let me use it next time too.
We also saw more rays, this time lazing about in ankle deep water really close to the pier and the beach, but I am guessing that they would swim away before anyone trod on them by mistake. 

Sunday 15 October 2017

Luxor and Karnak

Last day on the Nile today and we visited the temples at Luxor and Karnak. They really are incredible places and this is the third time that we have been here.
It is amazing how time flies, and I think that we were here about 15 and 6 years ago.
You learn something new every time, and today's snippet is that there used to be two obelisks in front of the Luxor Temple, but one of them was given to the French people and is now on display in Paris. 
Apparently they sent a clock in exchange and our guide was most disgusted that it stopped working after only three days! 

Saturday 14 October 2017

Queen Hatshepsut's Temple

Early start today with a visit to the Valley of the Kings. We went down into three of the tombs and the colours and paintings were amazing.
Next we went to the temple of the only Queen to rule ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, she often had to pretend to be a man and there are statues with her wearing a fake beard.
The trip was greatly enhanced by the presence of dozens of local ladies who were dressed beautifully. They all wore brightly coloured outfits, matching headscarves and wide brimmed hats with loads of trimmings.
They were taking hundreds of selfies and then one of them came over to me to ask for a picture together. Suddenly I was surrounded and we had a lovely time taking photos and trying to chat to each other.
Also, the driver of the mini train asked us to sit with him in the cab, and before I knew it he was letting me drive while he took selfies through the window!
Obviously he has never seen my driving, but we all made it safely back to the mini bazaar.
Finally, a quick stop at the Colossus of Nemnon and then back to the boat. 

Friday 13 October 2017

Mirage in the desert

On the drive back from Abu Simbel we stopped in the desert to look at what looked like a large lake in the distance.
Actually it turned out to be a mirage!
It had both of us fooled and if we had been lost and dying of thirst, then we definitely would have raced towards it.
Apparently it is caused by the sun's rays being reflected off the sand, but it even had reflections of the far bank in it.
Fortunately though we made it safely back to the boat, and went to visit Esna temple this morning.
It had been buried under metres of sand for many centuries and is now located in a deep hole beneath the surrounding city in Esna.
Very interesting visit and then we had to run the gauntlet of the shop keepers on the way back to the boat.
I made the mistake of being interested in a dress and the price came down from £40 to £2. By that time though I so keen to escape his aggressive sales technique that I ended up not buying it. 

Thursday 12 October 2017

Abu Simbel

4.30 am start today as we were taken 300 kilometres by coach to see the unbelievable Abu Simbel. It is on the shore of lake Nasser, which was created by the Aswan High Dam.
Unfortunately, Abu Simbel would have been submerged under the new lake, so it was moved to nearby higher land and a new mountain created behind it.
The statues are of the Pharaoh called Rameses ll, the most powerful Pharaoh ever to rule Egypt. There is also a temple next door dedicated to Nefertari, who was his favourite out of his 65 wives. 
He also had 110 sons and 78 daughters! 

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Philae Temple

We are at Aswan and caught a boat to Philae Temple, which was is on a little island in the river. 
The old Aswan dam was built over 100 years ago, and the water level rose to  about half way up the temple. For about 70 years visitors then used to view it by rowing boat. 
However, in the 1970's it was moved about 300 metres to the island where it is now and is completely dry and secure. 
We also drove up to the new High Aswan dam which is a couple of miles further upstream and raises the water level many metres higher still. 

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Kom Ombo

We stopped in the late afternoon to visit the temple called Kom Ombo. It is dedicated both to the Crocodile God and Horus, the hawk God.
It was very interesting, but I must write it down quickly before I forget it all. Probably the best bit was a small museum that was attached to it with lots of mummified giant crocodiles.
We also watched the sunset and then sailed away into the darkness. 

Cruising down the Nile

Started our cruise down the Nile this morning. The flood plain is really green and the hills behind are completely barren, but the overall effect is amazing.
We are chilling out on the deck and when we returned to our cabin we found that it had been turned into a romantic boudoir! 

Monday 9 October 2017

Transfer to Luxor

We were up early this morning for our six hour bus transfer to Luxor. The time passed quickly on our journey through the desert though, and we were here in time for lunch.
The boat is nicer than we expected and we have a lovely cabin on the fourth floor, which is the one directly under the sun deck.
There is a whole nest of cruise boats here and you have to walk through them to get to the boat. We are currently the third one from the dock, but there is another beyond us.
We have a huge picture window, although at the moment all we can see is the window opposite to us.
The sun deck is great and has a fancy paddling pool as well as loads of sun loungers and a bar.
We set off at 7pm for our first stop, and it is all very exciting. 

Sunday 8 October 2017

Hurghada town tour

The thing about a tour is that it can only show you the sights that it has.
Hurghada town tour showed us that it is not a very scenic place, so we just had to make the most of what it had.
We went to a mosque where I was given a very nice outfit to wear while we went inside. The outfit was very hot indeed, but fortunately it was quite cool and relaxing in the mosque.
We also drove to the highest point for a view of the rooftops, had a quick trip to a cathedral, and saw the inside of a market with lots of live chickens. 
Finally we went to a local shop where they served us mint tea and we bought some eucalyptus oil that was so strong it almost blew my nose off. 

Saturday 7 October 2017

Underwater adventures

Today we went on a glass bottomed boat trip with five friendly German holidaymakers.
After viewing the reef the glass, which was excellent although started to make me feel a little queasy, we got the chance to jump in.
Our captain took us on a very long swim around the reef, and we got to see lots of brightly coloured fish, but unfortunately nothing too big or scary.
After that he took us to an 'island' although it was actually about six inches underwater at it's shallowest point. Maybe it is above sea level at low tide which in my view, would actually make it an island. 
It was really pretty as the sea was all different colours from dark blue to the palest turquoise and Daz relaxed on the sand without drowning. 

Friday 6 October 2017

Quad biking and camel riding

Quiet, package holiday style day yesterday - Mega Safari today.
This was the title of our day trip and it really was never ending.
It started and ended with a terrifying jeep ride along the local roads and then up into the desert. The driver was constantly on the phone, drove at high speed and had no regard for our safety as we bounced along in the cramped rear with no seat belts. However, we made it, although I am not keen on booking any more trips with them.
Once started though the day was great and we also had little regard for our own safety.
We charged over the sand on quad bikes in our headscarves and glasses, although Mr A was faster and overtook me easily.
We also went on a camel ride at a Bedouin camp and tried the hookah pipe. I had great trouble getting any smoke out of it and am not going to take up smoking, which is probably a good thing. 
We also watched a belly dancer and whirling dervish and then viewed the moon through a telescope.