After taking a sleeping pill and waking up on the train, we were excited to find ourselves in Aswan, Egypt.
Since we avoided all the food on the train, here’s the breakfast of champions!
Aswan was far less crowded than Cairo and very beautiful.
Our first stop of the day was seeing the ‘little dam’ and the ‘big dam’.
A few decades ago, the Egyptians decided to build a dam to stop the yearly flooding of the Nile.
This then created the largest man-made lake in the world. Lake Nasser.
Then we headed to Egyptian-Russian friendship monument. It was constructed by the Egyptians to thank the Russians for helping them build the Dam. The top is shaped like a Lotus Flower.
Our tour continued through the village of Aswan. These are some old mud tombs of local families.
Next, we visited the unfinished obelisk. The Egyptians started carving this out of a granite quarry thousands of years ago. They used crude rocks to chip away at the stone.
Unfortunately, when they were almost done with it, the stone cracked and they abandoned the project.
If they had finished this project, it would have been the largest obelisk in the world at 137 feet (even beating the Roman ones that were constructed years later).
This would have been the top of the obelisk:
Posing in the quarry… (PS, those are the new sketchers I bought for the trip. I LOVED them!)
Next was one of favorite parts of the trip… a ride on a felucca.
The Nile River runs south to north, but the wind blows north to south. This is how the ancient Egyptians were able to travel BOTH ways up and down the river (thus the reason their civilization thrived). Feluccas are a type of sailboat.
As we were cruising, we passed the Cataract Hotel. It was built by Thomas Cook, but made famous by Agatha Christie’s novel, Death on the Nile.
The views were amazing from the river. You can see the lush river banks shadowed by the dry Sahara desert.
Up on this hill was a mausoleum of Aga Khan.
We then docked at the Aswan Botanical Garden, a lush oasis rich with exotic plants.
This looked like a scene we saw in Cairo Time but then we heard it wasn’t. Still beautiful though.
Then we took our Felucca back to the mainland.
The Ride was almost an hour and it was SO relaxing and peaceful. There are no engines on the bat, so you just quietly sail along the calm waters.
Our sailors entertained us later with traditional music and dance.
Then we arrived at our destination… our cruiseship!! This is where we’ll be staying for the next three nights!
Our room was very big, and pretty comfortable (a nice change from sleeping on the train!)
After a relaxing afternoon on the boat, we went to a local perfume shop to see how they make them.
Then we braved the Aswan Market after dark.
It was crowded and noisy. The vendors are very aggressive and you have to know going in it will be like this. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re not prepared. It was definitely an experience.
We enjoyed dinner on the ship and slept like babies on the boat.
Stay tuned for the next post… we’re heading to Abu Simbel!