Two Weeks in Egypt - October 2012

Day Eleven: Aswan: dams, the Temple of Isis and sailing a falucca

After returning to our ship at Kom Ombo, we continued on to Aswan in the dark. We awoke the next morning to see Aswan and the big new hotel still under construction on the island. After breakfast, we boarded the coach to drove over the lower dame and on to the High Dam, then back to the small boat harbour for the trip out to Agilkia Island and the Temple of Isis. From there we returned to the ship for lunch and then an afternoon "sail" in a falucca, going up the Nile and around the island and back to our ship.

Aswan - the low and high dams

After the usual breakfast we boarded a coach and headed into Aswan to find a bank as a few people were running short of cash. Found the bank - but it was shut. Of course, today was a public holiday. So on to the low dam. This was built at the site of the first cataract by the British, mostly as a flood protection measure. It was completed in 1902 but proved inadequate and was raised twice, being completed in 1912 and 1933. It was nearly overtopped in 1946, leading to the High Dam. We drove on to the High Dam with views of Lake Nassar.

Looking out from our boat in the early morning to the new hotel that will never be finished....
Tour boats all in a line.
Early morning and the baots and faluccas are already at work
The Movenick Hotel on the Island
Across the Nile with burial caves.
This boat was a straggler from last night....
Faluccas drift past.
The road into Luxor in the early morning. Strangely quiet - it was a national holiday!
Heading out of town
Approaching the Low Dam built by the British in 1902
The road to the airport goes over the dam.
Looking down on the lake there seem to be a lot of boats here.
Luxor from the dam.
Looking down on the old river valley.
This was part of the First Cataract
The spillway with the old shipping canal beside it..
The road to the airport - power pylons everywhere....
Pylons marching across the desert
So that's where the river cruisers come from....
Lake Nassar from the top of the High Dam.
The Nile below the High Dam.
Part of the Lake.
Looking along the dam and power station
The quarry that supplied the material for the dam
The Information site with helpful sign boards
Across the dam to the friendship memorial built by the Russians
A crowd from a local school
milled around....
and got excited by small things.
The Friendship Memorial
Local security

The Temple of Isis and Philae

From the High Dam we drove back across the low dam to a small village where tour boats take visitors out to the island of Gilkia. When the low dam was raised many temples and other features were flooded. The Temple of Isis at Philae had been one of the best preserved but was soon threatened by the rising waters especially when in flood. In 1960 UNESCO sponsored a project to move the temple 500m to the nearby island to save it from ruin. There were dozens of small tour boats tied up in the bay - evidence of the downturn in tourists. There were only about 10 boats being used.

The water boatman...
Running the gauntlet of hawkers
But these were Nubians
and they were very polite
But there were not many people either.
Very quiet.....
Must be American - carrying a lifejacket !
Locally made jewellery
And crocodiles....!
Lovely painted dolls.
Down to the boats
That's our one!
Looking back up the ramp with the trinket sellers waiting patiently.....
On to our boat....
All seated.
Follow those boats.
Out past the crowd....
of unwanted boats that we saw from the top of the Low Dam earlier.
Who needs lifejackets in this weather.
Out past the isalnds that wre once part of the First Cataract.
The Low Dam in the background
The pylons of Philae come into view
A few boats moored here
or across at the rocky island
More dolls and corcodiles
Boats with canopies.
The start of the temple complex.
The main pylons
and the columns. Note the water damage on the lower parts.
Detail of a column top
Approaching the main entrance.
Figure at the entrance
Columns with water damage
At the entrance
The granite eagle with his faced smashed off by the Coptics.
Detail of the carving in the granite.
Inside the Temple
Carvings in relief
Part of the temple complex
A more distant view of the whole temple
Addel pointing out the last hieroglyph ever carved - it overlapped with the Roman Empire
Looking out to the lake
The temple from the lake
Looking towards Aswan
Heading back to the landing ramp....
Past the tied up tourist boats....
Past the crocodiles basking in the sun....
Past the shops adn hawkers.....
And back onto our boat.

Sailing in a falucca

It was later in the afternoon before we returned to our boat - time for a quick change and a drink before heading out again into a sailing craft for a leisurely sail around the island. It proved to be a pleasant trip but took much longer than planned because of one small factor - the wind died and we were left becalmed. So out came the oars, but that was difficult against the current so a motor launch was called up (another benefit of mobile phones!) and we were towed back home.

Not much freeboard here-What are they up to????..
They are chasing us - what do they have to sell??
Singing!! They sang in high-pitched voices all the songs they had learned at school - such as Happy Birthday!!
The temple and home of the Aga Khan.
Drifting around the island the wind died.
The papyrus was still
and the sun set.....
on the Ibis.
No wind at all.
So we broke out the oars.
Carved pillars.
Turn to port - that means I push to the right.....?????
How embarrassing - a tug boat.
The Old Cataract Hotel.
Past the Memnon Hotel.
The rock covered with roosting birds
and back to our ship for the last night.

Back to previous dayback button--------- forward buttonForward to next day

Return to Trip Index

Last updated: 02/07/2017