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Archive for May 2007

Nile Cruise

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Our family holiday this year was a 7 day Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan and Back. We flew out at the end of March and returned in April.

We had been driving for about half an hour before we discovered that Joan (Mother-in-Law) did not have her travel insurance details with here – despite having been diagnosed with diabetes since the holiday had been booked and not controlling it as well as she might. Too late to turn back to get them!

We flew out from Gatwick through the new improved security procedures which lead to some not very entertaining antics from Stephen and the Mother-in-Law (M-i-L). I had to buy Mathew a belt in the airport since his trousers were at risk of falling down at any moment. Despite having had belts bought for him at regular intervals he never seems able to attach one to his trousers.

Flight uneventful; not even any vomiting from Stephen. Children very impressed by the beach as we crossed the Egyptian coast.

At Luxor airport we got our first brush with the main negative aspect of a holiday in Egypt. The first encounter (which I did not realise) was when getting off the plane one of the airport staff insisted in helping the M-i-L to an empty coach to the terminal. I managed to piss him and his associates off as I insisted in keeping everyone together so our whole party of 6(and some others) ended up on an empty coach before the first one was filled. Also I did not realise that the guy expected baksheesh.

We were told by the travel company staff not to give any money to the men loading our luggage onto the coaches, but the degree to which they persisted in asking for baksheesh was depressingly incredible but soon to be the expected norm..

Arrived at ship Magic II which was moored third ship out in a group of cruise ships four deep, and probably three or four groups along the quay. Rooms nicely done out,The_boat_Magic_II.jpg air conditioned three star hotel standard, but no tea/coffee making kit. Dragged bags into cabins (they had been delivered) and headed for the dinning room. As we were a party of six we got a table to ourselves which we kept for our entire stay (full board- breakfast, lunch and dinner).

The basic organisation of the cruise was that we set out form Luxor and proceed up river to Aswan visiting a selection of ancient and modern sites, at Aswan we stay for about a day and a half (two days?) then return to Luxor. In the morning generally there was a visit to a site the cost of which was included in the price of the cruise. In the afternoon/evening there would be an optional visit that was extra.

The basic set of visits were:

  • Edfu visit the Temple of Horus
  • Visit the High Dam and Old Dam at Aswan.
  • An afternoon sailing on a Felucca on the Nile and visit of the Botanical Gardens.
  • Kom Ombo, visit Temple of Sobek
  • West Bank of the Nile at Luxor, including Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Temple of Queen Hatsheput and the Colossi of Memnon
  • East Bank of the Nile at Luxor, Karnak and Luxor Temples

CaptainBlack with Horus at Edfu TempleIn addition Helen and Joan took the shopping tour in Aswan, and we all attended the Son-et-Lumière at the Karnak temple. There were numerous other trips that we did not go on as we felt the itinerary was already crowded, and the additional cost could not be justified.

What did I think of the holiday? Well I enjoyed it, the boat was pleasant and the service was good. The sights were well worth seeing.

The negative aspects:

  • the “Egyptologist”/guide had a slightly perverse view to my mind of the Ptolemaic period, and was concerned about giving an official line on Islam and terrorism.
  • Every where we went we were hassled to buy stuff (which we may have been interested in if we wern’t hassled)
  • If somebody helped you for any reason they wanted backseesh

Written by CaptainBlack

May 19, 2007 at 15:32

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