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Floating in a Felucca

Aswan to Edfu

sunny 30 °C

I'm writing this post as we drift lazily down the Nile on day three of our four day Felucca cruise. At the moment there is no wind so we are barely moving. Matt and our Captain Abdullah are playing Backgammon. Abdullah is winning, hands down (in a twist of fate, Matt actually won that game). We have already decided to buy ourselves a little Backgammon board to take with us in the van.
The Felucca is a beautiful 10 metre long single sail ship. The deck is laid out with mattresses for lazing and sleeping and there is a canopy above us to stop the sun. At night Abudullah or his first mate, Salim, pull a long piece of striped red cloth all around the sides to create a cosy little cubby house for sleeping. It was the most peaceful and relaxing travelling I have ever done. This is definitely the way to travel.
The first day, we arrived at the dock around 10am to set out on the Felucca and in true Egyptian style didn't set out for over an hour, but it didn't matter. We just relaxed on the deck and chatted to an English couple who were joining us for the first night. As always seems to happen on these trips they were a couple we'd already met. They were on our flight and stayed in the same hotel in Hurghada.
Becs and Tom were great fun and it only took a couple of minutes for Matt and I to decide splurge a little a get a case of beer to share on the Nile.

As we prepared to set off, Abdullah gave us all a job to help get the ship under sail (more for our enjoyment than for any real practical help). It was great fun, and we were off.... very, very slowly.
We stopped for lunch on our first day at a small island in the middle of the Nile with Aswan still in site. Did I mention it's a slow way to travel? : )
We cracked our first beers and decided to brave the cold of the Nile for a swim. The days are incredibly hot, even though it's winter and while the Nile is definitely chilly, it was a lot of fun. We set out again after a dip and spent the afternoon having a few beers and asking Abudullah far too often to pull in for a wee stop (oh, yeah, there are no bathroom facilities on the boat). We spent the afternoon dipping in the water and chatting and having a few drinks. It was a great start to our little cruise.
Tom and Becs were only there for one night but we made the most of our time with them. We all found that even though we'd done nothing all day, it had been a very exhausting nothing, and were all fast asleep by 8:30pm/9pm.
We were up around 7am and decided on an invigorating morning swim. Which in reality was us inching our way into the water tiny step by tiny step until we got used to it. We set out again towards Kom Ombo and the temple of Sobek and Haroeris (Horus the elder). Becs convinced Abdullah to take us right up to the temple rather than stop further upstream where we'd have to get a taxi. We didn't understand his reluctance until we discovered there was a good chance he would get charged 300EP to wait for us at the temple. Thankfully it was Friday and the controller wasn't there.
We had a really lovely lazy morning sailing along, we stopped for a wee break dodging some goats and cattle to make it to the few scattered trees. The ever-indulgent Abdullah let us go for a final swim as a group. So we jumped in the water and shared a last beer with our British friends around Midday and had a lovely time swimming and sipping beer on the banks of the Nile. Matt and Tom opted for the dive, Matt arcing in from the boat and Tom jumping from the bank, Abdullah even joined in!
We had some lunch on the boat and arrived at Kom Ombo temple around 3pm or 4pm. The temple was beautiful, some of the columns and outer areas still had some of their paint and the huge lines of columns inside the temple were impressive by anyone's standards. It was here we realised just how hot it really was when you couldn't take a dip every few hours. While we'd only spent a couple of days with Tom and Becs it had felt much longer due to the lovely lazy pace. We agreed to meet up again in London and said our goodbyes.
Matt and I hopped back on the boat and made a nice quiet trip down the Nile. While we only had a couple of hours of daylight left it felt gloriously long. We pulled out Abdullah's Backgammon board and muddled our way through a game, though we're pretty sure we got some of the rules wrong (it's ok, Abdullah is teaching Matt the proper rules again as I write this).
We stopped slightly earlier in the evening and enjoyed sunset and dusk which was truly magical.
Again I was exhausted and ready for bed about 8pm (I really cannot come up with a reason why). Matt enjoyed Abdullah and Salim's company on the beach with a fire for a little while before also crashing out quite early.
We lazed about in the morning and didn't get up until around 8am. We went for another morning dip (these really are dips, inch in, plunge down to your shoulders quickly and then make for the shore and the sun!) and had a lovely breakfast before setting off.
This morning we've been watching the lovely scenery slowly slip by, Matt's been reading up on a spare lonely planet Tom and Becs left us and I've been catching up on this blog. Intermittently, we pause to take some photos or to stare for a while at a particularly beautiful setting for a while. I expect our day will continue very much in this vein with some swims and perhaps some beers later. This is definitely the way travelling should be.
….I'm back. Our final afternoon on the boat we barely moved. There was no wind and so we stalled. Ultimately Abdubllah and Salim turned the gang plank and pole used in shallow water into makeshift paddles, to get us to the bank so we could swim and chill out. Of course within 30 minutes of making the beach the wind picked up again. Still they didn't hassle us to get going and Abdullah even headed up the road to grab some fresh chicken and some delicious sweet (like nougat only flakier). We did a bit more sailing that afternoon right up until the last rays of the sun to make the most of the returning wind.
The next morning we were up bright and early for a final swim. It was sad to say goodbye. Abdullah offered to take us on the way back for a fraction of the cost, but it would have meant missing the temple at Edfu that day. We really should have taken him up on it. We had a few spare days in the calendar and it wouldn't have been hard to catch the train to Edfu and go from there. So silly. Anyway, we turned him down and spent a few hours sailing up the Nile for the last time. We were speeding along. The wind was the best it had been. We stopped relatively early and Abdullah arranged for a taxi to pick us up to take us to the temple. It was about a 30 minute drive. I'm sure if we'd pushed he would have taken us up further but after the previous day's becalming we realised how quickly the money we paid could not be worth the trip if Abdullah and Salim got stuck like that for a few days, particularly with the current heading in the wrong direction. Half an hour's drive was likely to be a couple of hours on the Felucca and given the great wind would make a much bigger difference to their trip home than to our final day.
We road in the back of a closed in pickup truck which worked a bit like a micro in this area of Egypt, usually crammed full of Egyptians who got picked up wherever on the side of the road. We had it to ourselves however as we'd hired the guy to take us to the temple, wait and take us back to the train station.
The temple was absolutely huge! It was really cool. This was the main cult temple dedicated to Horus. There were staircases that headed to blocked off roof sections and just room after room of hieroglyphs and reliefs. There was a giant open courtyard when you entered with huge columns and statues. It was just an amazing temple.

We waited at the train station for over an hour but we had a pretty good idea of where we were going when we got to Luxor so we weren't too worried.

Posted by Addy21 03:38 Archived in Egypt Tagged temple sailing felucca edfu

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