Cruisin' Down the Nile
It's 220 kilometers by river from Aswan to Luxor, our next destination. The most entrancing way to travel there was by boat, and the thought of spending two nights rocked to sleep by the Nile and days of watching the slender riverine corridor glide past certainly had appeal.
We made arrangements with Monti and the next day boarded the Tower Prestige, checking into our quite luxurious en suite cabin. The boat had several decks, lounges with soft chairs and large windows, a sun deck with pool on top, and a dining room where generous buffet meals were served.
As the boat glided down river, heading north, the blue waters, slim green riparian edges and golden brown barren desert hills beyond slowly slipped past. In between watching, we read, and wrote in our journals. We could get used to this!
Late in the afternoon, the boat moored near the Temple of Kom Ombu. Everyone disembarked to walk to the temple, its great pylons and papyrus capital topped columns glowing in afternoon light. We wandered through the Hypostyle Hall, the walls and columns richly inscribed with friezes and reliefs of gods and pharaohs, hieroglyphics and cartouches dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile headed god of fertility, and Haroeris, the falcon god. This was our first exposure to such a temple building and we were amazed by the scale and skillful construction as well as the artwork.
Back on board, we ate well and after dinner, relaxed in our cabin, soon falling asleep. Next day, more river views engaged us between meals, researching Luxor, and just hanging out. Passing under a high bridge and the passage through the lock at Esna provided diversion, too.
Observing the slender green edges of fertile land along the Nile, we were reminded that this river is truly Egypt's life line. The area along the Nile is a significant part of the 3.5% of Egypt's land that is cultivated and permanently settled and the needs of their burgeoning population of 83 million is stretching the limits of its carrying capacity.
One more night and then, in the morning, we had arrived at Luxor. A phone call brought a driver from the Venus Hotel, our new home, so we waved goodbye to the friendly crew and walked up the gangplank to our next adventure.
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