Aswan High Dam
The 4-kilometre long embankment dam built across the Nile in Aswan created one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. With a surface area of more than 5,000 square kilometres, Lake Nasser spills across the border into Sudan and offer many Nile Cruise choices for another holiday. The dam was built with investment from the former USSR, with Russia lending Nasser $1.12 billion at 2% interest for the construction of the dam. As we approach a large concrete Lotus Flower rise from the landscape, a monument dedicated to the Arab-Soviet Friendship. Some hold the belief that the edifice is one of many Nasser-era architectural middle fingers to the U.S.A.
The Temples of Philae
The Temples of Philae spent seventy years mostly submerged in water until they started building the High Dam and the UNESCO Nubia project saved it, as well as other significant sites like Abu Simbel, 3 hours drive from here. I can’t quite fathom how they dismantled the huge temples into 40,000 units and relocated the monuments and buildings to the nearby Agilkia Island, which we reach by Nubian motorboat.
Ahmed shares way too many details for us to digest. I listen to his fascinating story of The Egyptian Goddess Isis, the divine mother of the pharaoh and wife of king Osiris, as I in breathless awe let the pink coloured, massive Roman columns and pylons engulf me under the bluest of skies. Over Cairo, the sky blends its blue hues with terracotta brown from pollution, dust and sand blowing in from the desert. Here, at Philae, I breathe freely.
I’m drawn to the art chiselled into the walls, brushing my palm against the work of artists living thousands of years ago. Midwife deities partly covered with sculptures representing the birth of Ptolemy Philometor, under the figure of God Horus. The story of Osiris is everywhere on the walls, with the inner chambers so rich in symbolic imagery it takes my breath away yet again.
Before we depart Ahmed leave us wandering about, taking pictures and selfies, and I do another Facebook Live for Mum, who would have loved to be here with me right now.
Sunset Cruise on The Nile
The sun is setting as we get back to Amwaj, which means waves in case you didn’t know. It’s too late for our planned felucca sail and instead, we enjoy a drink on the sundeck and take in the lights of Qubbet el-Hawa as they grow stronger in the mountain while flapping sails descend from many masts, so close we can nearly reach out and touch them, in the darkening night around us.
Tonight is a set menu, the dining room quietly awaiting more guests arriving. Nubian musicians entertain in the Tanya Lounge, we linger a short while before drifting back up on deck where stars shine above and the bustling sounds from the Kornish Al Nile mingle with riverboats around us.
I wake at 4:20, having anticipated our 4am departure. Wrapped in the complimentary bathrobe I head upstairs. Our suite a mere 10 steps from the sundeck, which now lies deep in darkness. The white foam on the water around Amwaj barely visible as we glide through its surface. I am not alone, someone sits in the glow of a laptop. I sit down in the deck chair facing the bow. Cooled by the breeze form our cruising speed I watch twinkles of lights on land glide by on either side. The Nile is wide here. We pass under a large bridge where a few heavy vehicles thunder across above me. Other cruise ships glide past in the opposite direction, their windows dark bar their glowing entrance deck. M/S Amwaj lies steadily in the river, barely vibrating, she’s built to comfort her passengers. Gently I’m being lulled back to sleep and back in our cabin let the bathrobe drop to the floor as I slide under the covers, seeking Shane’s sleepy heat to warm my cold skin.
Gina is doing her Egyptian Luxury Tour in November 2018. Visit Egypt Luxury Tour on Facebook to book and find out more.
Much Love and Light
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