Blog Posts

Egyptian adventure – the end


Our very last early morning call came at 3:00am… we were heading off for a sunrise  balloon flight over the Valley of the Kings. Needing match sticks to prop open our eyelids, ten adventurers left the ship to make our way to the airfield. On the way we were required to fill in some important information to help balance the basket – our weight in kgs. Well I had an idea of what I was in stones at the beginning of the holiday. But now I’d enjoyed a whole week of all-inclusive food and drinks and I never have any idea of what I am in kg. In the end did some rough mental arithmetic and added a couple of kg just to be sure. I hoped nobody would read the weights out loud!

As we neared the airfield we passed the Valley of the Kings, tombs lit, casting eerie shadows over the land up into the mountainside. I was more than happy to observe from ground level but Mr D really wanted us to experience a balloon flight together. It’s a measure of how much I love him that I got into the basket, smile fixed in place. As our balloon inflated the basket left the ground, hovering a little to allow the ground crew to move us around to distribute our weight evenly. Satisfied that all was well, they cast us loose and up we floated. Four gas burners supplied the hot air. So powerful and loud were they that I named them The Dragons!


Our pilot was great at pointing out major features as we slowly floated skyward. Every so often he would let us know our current height. This might have been welcome information for other passengers, but for me it was disconcerting – he finally stopped calling out the height at 950m. By this time I have a death grip on the handles and am unable to take photos. Mr D, on the other hand, was having the time of his life. Borrowing some courage from him, I managed to peer over the edge and pick out various tombs and temples. As my ears popped again I realised we were on the way back to earth. Praying for a gentle landing I adopted the landing position which is more like the thigh-workout from hell. Fortunately we were blessed with a gentle landing, kissing the desert. All we had to do was stay put while the ground crew found us and began the process of deflating the balloon and packing it away. Phew! I survived.

A little later we rejoined our tour team who’d been watching us from the ground, and they brought packed breakfasts for us. What a lovely thought. Munching on a croissant and some fruit, we toured round the Valley of the Queens. The tombs don’t look like much from the outside but were amazing inside. Like the Tardis, they are deceptively large inside. The carvings and decoration still looked as fresh as the day they were completed. Same for the Valley of the Kings. The unfinished tombs indicated that their occupants died before the craftsmen had time to finish their work.

Onwards to the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. What a woman. She did a power grab for the throne and held on to it for over twenty years. Most of her statues show her dressed as a Pharaoh, complete with false beard. When she passed away, her usurped nephew was so incensed with her that he tried to erase her image wherever possible, outdoing the fleeing Christians in destruction!

On to our very last temple – Ramesses 3rd. Again the carvings and decoration are still in remarkable condition. By this time, Mr D and I were footsore and quite tired. We’d been on our feet for 12 hours without a coffee!! For this first time on this trip, I was more than glad to be back on board, even if it was to pack our cases and make ready for a few days in Makadi Bay to rest and recover.

I cannot put it into words just how amazing it has been to see the wonders of the ancient world with my own eyes. The Egyptian people are so warm and welcoming, and our security was their highest priority. Wherever you come from, dear readers, if Egypt was on your list of places to visit, please go. You’ll not regret it and will come back with amazing memories.

Thank you all for reading this little series. I wonder where we will travel to next?

Happy travels everyone xx

Blog Posts

Egyptian adventure – pt 4

Edfu at sunrise

If I thought 6:30 was an early call it was nothing compared to this morning’s 5:20am call! Some restful holiday this is turning out to be.
Washing and dressing quickly before opening the curtains (remembering we had another ship berthed next to us) we were delighted to see the Nile again, our neighbour having departed without us being aware.

Our bleary-eyed tour group met in the lounge for coffee before departing on foot for the first temple of the day – Esna.

The colours inside are still as vivid as the day they were painted. That’s mineral paint for you. Much more durable than I thought. Again we witnessed much destruction by hammer and chisel but only on the upper levels. As luck would have it, the majority of the temple was buried up to the capitals of the columns, minimising the damage. Currently the temple lies 10m below ground level. The surrounding grounds of the temple still lie buried under modern-day housing. The inhabitants will be moved to new housing to allow excavation of the rest of the site. I wonder what they’ll uncover.


As our tour ended we wandered, less bleary-eyed, back to our ship and breakfast. The ship set sail for Edfu. The British tour operators are currently not running tours to this temple. It is only reachable by horse and cart and the health of the horses is shocking. The German tour group on board were scheduled to visit but we would remain on board.

As we arrived at Edfu it became all to apparent why the UK operators refused to stop. I’ve never seen such poor, thin, dejected beasts. Out of twenty I counted only one in reasonable shape to work. It’s a bit of a vicious circle. The horses will not be fed properly if the owners do not earn enough to feed them.

I was glad to set sail again. Settling underneath a sun canopy, books and crossword puzzles to hand, a new form of entertainment appeared.

“Hello!” came a voice from seemingly nowhere.


Getting up from my comfy chair, I wandered to the edge of the deck and peered over the rail. To my surprise a small rowing boat was keeping pace with our ship. How come these guys do not win rowing competitions? We were going at a fair speed and upstream too! They spotted me.

“Hello lady. I have towels and table cloths. Cheap as chips!”

What UK tv programmes have these guys been watching? By now I was joined by other passengers and the little boat crew had an audience. Luckily for the traders, they also carried Egyptian Galabeyas (traditional Egyptian clothes) and we have a fancy dress evening later this week. Soon the air was full of flying packages as the traders threw samples up to us, 5 decks up. Again I wondered why we don’t see more Egyptian medallists in throwing competitions. After much haggling and hilarious sales banter (“I give you good ASDA price!”), a price was agreed. I can honestly say I’ve never had a more entertaining haggling experience ever. And most of us ended up kitted out for the party.

Tomorrow I’ll cover our visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo and the last part of our travels to Aswan – pt 5.