We began our trip in Esna, after leaving from Luxor by car. We visited the Temple of Khnum to meditate before we begin our journey up the Nile visiting Temples of Ancient times past. The temple in Esna is quiet and it is often that you can have this temple to yourself without the crowds of the buses. It is the perfect place for quiet contemplation.
From Esna Temple we board the Dahabieh for lunch and then set sail to the beautiful and ancient city of Nekheb, now called El Kab which is situated across the Nile from the city of Nekhen (Herakonpolis), and was the site of temples to Thoth and Nebket. The city has been dated back to predynastic times.
We can hardly believe that we are here on this magnificent boat in such tranquillity being served on by such a polite and honouring crew.
It’s hard to believe that we have this all to ourselves. The Dahabieh sleeps 20/30 and all cabins are air-conditioned and have their own private bathrooms. What luxury! We have a private suite with floor to ceiling windows to lie in bed and look out over the Nile, or lay on the daybed on the private balcony and enjoy the closeness to the water’s edge listening to the birds and admiring the scenery: the water buffalo, lazing on the river bank, the many birds, of which I can only pick out the ibis, but I’m sure birdwatchers would be in heaven here.
On arrival in Edfu we visit the Temple of Horus and once again we are so lucky, as we arrive in the afternoon and we had the whole time in the temple to ourselves. After our time wandering in the quietude of the temple we took a calash to a little coffee house and then on to our boat.
The Dahabieh moored at an island for the evening which we couldn’t really see because it was dark, but we could make out the white sandy beach and commented to each other that we were looking forward to morning so we could go for a walk on the island.
Dinner was beyond description as usual and we spent the evening talking and then went out onto the balcony to relax and meditate on the day’s events and the energies of Temple Edfu before moving back up to the deck for a cup of tea and to enjoy the evening. We have been so lucky, as the weather has been fantastic. Of course it has been hot during the day, but not unbearable. The evenings have been rather pleasant and have meant that we have enjoyed our evenings on the deck just talking and enjoying the magic of the night.
Saturday arrives, another special day. We have breakfast and then take a walk with onto the beach and through the farming area nestled here on the bank of the Nile. So beautiful, we are awestruck with the natural beauty and the simplicity of the life here. It is so peaceful. We walk through the banana plantation, chat to the cows, talk to the children who are picking peanuts and we stop to eat some fresh peanuts and some guava straight off the tree. We pick some fresh Hibiscus on the way back to make some fresh hibiscus tea, better known as Karkadi. I begin to wonder if I have another life, I certainly wish this was my life full time right now, but blessed are we for this time we have.
We have only just had breakfast not long ago and Samir has prepared a magnificent lunch to keep us sustained for the next leg of our journey. Wow, this is a wonderful experience. I had known this trip had something special about it, but I had no idea how special.
The temples along the Nile were frequented by spiritual adepts that undertook certain initiations, and this gave us an added interest of being able to visit some of the old mysteries of those times, while imagining how it used to be and having an idea of what used to take place and why.
Day three and I was so excited as we arrived at Silsila to visit the Temple of Horemheb tonight as well as tomorrow. The Temple guards greeted us and invited us back for tea after our dinner.
We ate our meal that Samir had lovingly prepared once again and took photos of the Turkish chicken dish he had prepared that had a foil bird holding the chicken that was smoking as it was served!!!!!! We feel like royalty every moment on this trip, the crew are simply the best and we could not want for anything…. except maybe a magic formula to remove the weight I have gained dining like a King!
It’s late but the temple guards are working 24 hours, they do not sleep as they must keep watch over the temples and the tombs. They work 24 hours from 7pm to 7am so we decided to take them up on their offer and visit for a cup of tea. Two guards wandered the quarry and two came back to the museum area and made us tea with fresh mint and we took photos and chatted in with the limited Arabic we have.
We are docked just a hop skip and a jump from the temple so when we returned to the boat, we sat on deck chatting as we gazed upon the temple of Horemheb before retiring to our comfy cabins.
Horemheb was the commander of the army under Akhenaton and was claimant to the throne when Ay became Pharoah. Silsila was a very famous quarrying area throughout all of ancient Egypt due to the quality of the building stone quarried here. The site is a rich archaeological area having temples cut directly on the hills. There are statues inside the temple of Horemheb include Amun, Amun Ra, Ptah, Ramesses 2, Hatshepsut, Amenhotep 2nd and Ramesses 3..
Sleep is easy once again, and after breakfast we went over to the temple for our official visit.
We left the temple after paying our baksheesh to the temple guards and walked up into the quarry. This was at this point my highlight, because while I love the Temple of Horemheb, I have been there last year, but we have not walked through the quarry before. This is new to us. The Master builders came here for their stone; this is a quarry for building the ancient temples. The boat sailed ahead and met us further up the Nile past the quarry and the temple of Seti I.
On board for a shower to cool off and lunch again, yes more food! We don’t sail very far before we pull up on a beach and spend some time swimming in the Nile. It was so hot, and the Nile was so cool and refreshing. The water was so cold and refreshing neither of us wanted to get out. We have sailed on and moored at a really pretty spot on a beach with palm trees and fruit trees, it will be another magic morning tomorrow.
The last two days on the Dahabieh were just as magnificent as the previous days. We moored at Kom Ombo to visit the Temple of the crocodile god Sobek. Again we were so very lucky to have the temple in a quiet state with very few tourists wandering the grounds. We had time to meditate and enjoy the smiles of a visiting Egyptian family that were celebrating a wedding. The crocodile pit was my highlight here as I imagined what it would have been like being sent down there for an initiation of facing your fears in a pit of live crocodiles!
We moored at another quiet beach for a swim as it was hot and the crew needed to get some supplies from the town: a welcome treat in the heat of the day, and then on to Aswan to complete our journey.
Our last night was fun and yet sad at the same time. What a magical time we had enjoyed. I felt the tears well up inside me knowing that the specialness of the last 6 days was now about to end, but this is my second trip on the Nile onboard one of Abdul’s dahabiehs, and it will not be the last!