Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple & Falucca Boat Ride

Day 6

Finally got to sleep a bit this morning, I only had to get up at 7 and had to be ready for 8. Lisa was feeling a little ill again but decided to join me at breakfast; she only had half a slice of toast, but at least it was something.

Our group was a little late leaving the boat because Nancy and Ron from our group didn’t get a wakeup call and only woke up around 8.

8:15 we left the boat and boarded our bus; then took off to see the small and big Aswan Dam. The first 20 minutes of our drive was along the dock were there must have been a 100+ cruise ships docked, it was absolutely crazy. Another 5 minutes later we arrived at the first dam which was small. We just ended up driving across it and continued on our way to the high dam.

At the high dam we were warned not to use our zoom on the cameras or to use a video camera, I’m not really sure how they police this, but Lisa and I didn’t want to find out so we didn’t take any videos, however I did use the zoom on my camera.

Tour Group Picture on Aswan High Dam

Tour Group Picture on Aswan High Dam

We hopped off the bus and took a few quick photos of either side of the dam. On one side is the Nile River and the other is Lake Nasser, the largest manmade lake in the world. Just before we hopped back on the bus our group got together and Magic took a group photo using everyone’s cameras.

After the high dam we drove to the Philae Temple. The Philae Temple was originally located on one island and then was moved to another island when the Nile was flooded. To get to the temple we had to take a boat to the island. Once we entered the gates we walked down to the water side where there were a few 100 boats, one of which was waiting to take us across. Magic our tour guide grabbed us a boat and we all hopped aboard.

There were a few other groups leaving at the same time as us and we ended up playing bumper boats with them as we were leaving the dock; it was pretty crazy. We managed to bump our way out of the bay and took a short 10 minute cruise ride out to the island, it was really nice. On the way to the island, one of the guys aboard the boat pulled out his necklaces and gave us a short sales pitch; not nearly as bad as all the other Egyptians we had met along the way.

Boat Ride to Philae Temple

Boat Ride to Philae Temple

Arriving at the island wasn’t quite as crazy as leaving the dock. Once we arrived we jumped out of the boat and made our way up the ramp and onto the island. Magic took our group like he had done for every temple before and explained some of the drawings we would be seeing and the history behind the temple. We followed Magic around the temple for 30 minutes or more and then he gave us some free time to take photos and walk around on our own. Lisa and I wandered around for a while but I think we were both kind of getting board of seeing all the temples and we headed back to the Coca Cola temple a little earlier than we had to. Most of the group ended up being there as well; I guess they were starting to feel the same way.

Lisa wanted me to get a Nile map she had seen while getting off the boat so I wandered around the Coca Cola temple seeing if I could find one; I wasn’t able to.

Not long after Magic gathered up the group and we headed back to the docks to board the boat back to the main land. I found an Egyptian guy on the dock selling the maps Lisa wanted so I bartered with him and got the price I was actually aiming for, my first conquer – it felt great!

Philae Temple, Aswan Egypt

Philae Temple, Aswan Egypt

Back on the boat we took a nice relaxing ride to the main land. Back on land we boarded the bus once again and headed to a rock quarry located in the city of Aswan to see an obelisk that Queen Nefertiti had ordered to build, but never completed because it was sabotaged by (kings name). So the obelisk is sitting unfinished in the rock quarry. We made our way to the quarry which was located in the city before we got off the bus, Magic said that anyone with bad knees and couldn’t walk should stay behind; I think there only ended up being one out of our group that stayed behind.

The rest of us got off the bus and passed through the entrance into the quarry. The ground in the quarry was quite uneven and we had to climb several sets of stairs to get to the highest point where the unfinished obelisk was located. Along the way Magic found a few spots of shade and stopped the group to give us the history behind the unfinished obelisk. He described the process and tools the ancient Egyptians would have used to carve the obelisk out of the stone.

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan Rock Quarry

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan Rock Quarry

Once at the top of the quarry we had a great view of the unfinished obelisk, it was huge! If it had been completed it would have been the largest obelisk ever created. Everyone took a few snapshots and we headed back to the bus.

Before returning to the ship, Magic gave us the option to visit an Egyptian cotton store and an Egyptian perfume store before. Those who raised their hands were dropped on at the store and the rest of us were driven back to the boat. Lisa and I decided that we wanted to go back to the boat and relax, most of the group ended up doing this as well.

Back on the ship Lisa and I went to our cabin, dropped of our gear and we headed to the top deck to enjoy the afternoon sun. Some of the top deck was being worked on, so we sat at one of the tables that were away from the ongoing work.

I then worked on my travel journal and Lisa went for a little cat nap.

Falucca Sail Boat Ride, Aswan Egypt

Falucca Sail Boat Ride, Aswan Egypt

A little after 3 we headed back to our cabin and got ready for the Falucca boat ride at 3:30. We met the group in the lounge at 3:30. Magic lead us off the boat and a few hundred yards down the ship dock, then to a Falucca that was waiting at the water’s edge. Our group hopped aboard the Falucca and we set sail. We first headed up river where we saw some ancient caves along the river side and a famous hotel where (someone) stayed and wrote about the Nile. About 30 minutes into the ride we turned around and headed down river back towards the boat. We were given a very low pressure sales pitch again for some necklaces and a few other things; I don’t think anyone ended up buying anything. I really enjoyed the ride as it was really peaceful sailing along without having to hear the humming of an engine.

We exited the Falucca about an hour after we had started and tipped the driver for the great ride of which I gave him 2 US dollars. Back on the boat we had quite a bit of time to kill before supper. So Lisa and I headed up to the sundeck where most of the group already was. We sat along the pool with our feet in the water and talked for a few hours until it was close to supper time.

Falucca Boat, Aswan Egypt

Falucca Boat, Aswan Egypt

Lisa and I quickly showered and headed down for our last supper of the cruise.

At supper time, Magic came around with a piece of paper that everyone wrote their name and email address on. Magic made photocopies and gave everyone a copy before we left the supper table.

After supper we headed to the main lounge where there was a belly dancer and a (name of dancer / Egyptian Turkish dance) performing. Lisa and I sat further back from the stage as to avoid being dragged onto the stage. Marc, one of the younger guys in the group was selected to go up with the belly dancer and put on a great show. The belly dancer was great; I believe it was the first time that either Lisa or I had seen a belly dancer. She went around selecting people from the different tour groups and doing a little dance with them. After the belly dancer a (dancer / type of dance) came out and put on quite a show. He spun around in the same direction for a solid 10 – 15 minutes doing a bunch of different things with a parachute like object – it was really pretty interesting and entertaining.

After all the dancing, Lisa and a few of the other group said their goodbyes as this was going to be the last time that a few of us would see each other.

Lisa and I headed back up to our room and set the alarm for 3:45, in order to catch our flight to the Abu Simbel Temple the following morning.

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