As I sit writing this Blog entry I have to reflect a little. A little over a week ago I enjoyed my visit to Egypt to do the usual tourist things, but at the time I was oblivious to the peoples conflict below the surface. In my defence I didn’t venture far from the safe haven of our boat or security guarded temples. Perhaps I should have and realised a little more of the troubles of the people.
So, would writing up my experience in Egypt be out of place during these troubled times abroad? To be honest, I don’t think so. You see I can’t fault my time in Egypt, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to return one day. Our guide did explain a little about Egyptian life and how it differs dramatically from ours. So, although still unable to help, I think this little Blog on my short adventure in Egypt should be seen as my respect for the very hard working people that made my stay in Egypt both comfortable and enjoyable. That’s everyone from the Viking Princess, the locations we visited, the security officers that were there for our protection and even the little guys that tried to sell us stuff at ridiculous prices!
We left the Viking Princess by coach and arrived after about ten minutes ad Edfu Temple. I guess the journey through town, brief as it was should have highlighted the state of play, but as tourists we peered out from our coach only concerned with our next visit. The streets had a mixture of cars and trucks as anywhere, but also horse drawn carts and on occasions donkeys could be seen. Just seeing livestock on the streets of a town was odd, but I guess this outlined the poverty us as tourists were overlooking.
However, these scenes were quickly dismissed, blurred over for the massive Edfu Temple which soon became visible. Even from a distance it was an impressive structure, with its entrance pylons towering high into the sky.
The entrance to the area surrounding the Temple was flanked either side by a bazar. At the time we sighed and pushed through saying ‘no’ to all that came our way, but I guess now I can understand their persistence. This isn’t just a way of life its a means to survival for these guys.
Our guide explained some of the history and Ancient Egyptian stories surrounding the temple. Adding the odd fact in regards to the original excavation of the temple which was quite interesting. In fact the Edfu Temple had originally been destroyed, but it was rebuilt in Greek / Roman times, still remarkable given its size and age. During its original excavation in the 1800’s it was found half buried under sand, which is hard to believe given its size. It then took a further 50 years to clear the sand. Up to that point it had been home to many local families and their livestock, evidence of which can be found within the temple.
Edfu is dedicated to Horus and our guide told us of a story about him and his battle with Seth, which was quite amusing. It would seem that some of these Ancient Egyptian stories draw many similarities with Christian stories too. We moved into the courtyard of the temple where the Greek / Roman influence could be seen on the columns. Our guide then explained the use of the inner sanctuary between the High Priest and the King. He then took us into the Hypostyle Hall where the roof was still intact, unlike Karnak Temple.
We were then given free time to head off and investigate the temple by ourselves. Dad and I headed off, photographing and videoing as we went. At one point we found a small narrow staircase that was a lot like a scene out of an Indiana Jones film. It must have been amazing to find such a complex temple with the additional chambers and corridors. Almost every part of the temple was decorated with pictures and hieroglyphics too which was amazing to see.
We left through the bazar, Dad and I thought ourselves rather clever for making it through without making a purchase or being hassled much. However, looking back I can’t help, but feel a little out of order for this. I don’t know why really, just seems our enjoyment may have been at the expense of the locals.
We returned to the boat for lunch and we cast off heading down the Nile to Kom Ombo Temple.
Half four saw us dock at Kom Ombo, just outside the temple, so we practically walked into the temple area as the sun began to set. The temple itself looked stunning on the hill overlooking the Nile, especially with the setting sun.
The temple itself dates back to Ptolemies time when it was built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, which would have been wider then. Started by Ptolemy VI Philometer in the early second century BC, Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle walls. Then the outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, but have now mostly gone. Sorry, a little bit of history there!
The temple is actually two temples, one for Sobek and one for Haroesis (I think those names are right). We were told its the only temple in Egypt that combines two temples and represents two triads. With this in mind it has two of everything, entrances, courts, colonnades, hypostyle halls and sanctuaries.
We then had a little free time, so as ever we ran around taking some pictures as the sun dropped below the horizon. I time at the temple was also shortened by the fact our boat was due to sail at 6pm too. So, we made our way back to the Viking Princess as soon as to ensure we didn’t miss it, although I don’t think that really happens.
We had dinner on board, then chilled out in the lounge before heading to bed as we headed along the Nile to Aswan..