Saturday, October 27, 2012


You cannot visit Egypt without traveling along the Nile River. The mighty empires of Egypt's past, all travelled along this mighty waterway. Their most important temples, are located on the banks. Local Egyptians today still use it as a way of life. Nubians still fish from the waters and sail using hand made sail boats.

One of the most beautiful places to spend time relaxing on the Nile is in the southern town of Aswan. Here the mighty Nile meets huge granite rock formations, which divide the Nile and make for a beautiful setting and stunning Nile experience.

The granite rock formations in Aswan have been sought after for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs had their workers cut the huge blocks that they used to built their temples and pyramids, from these granite formations.   Most of the blocks used to build the giant Pyramids of Giza, were cut from this area, and transported hundreds of miles down the Nile.  An impressive feat, when you see how large the blocks were.

Before the construction of the High Dam, just south of Aswan, which created Lake Nasser, this section of the Nile river was more turbulent. Flood waters racing down the Nile from the head waters of a wetter part of Africa,  washed into the huge granite boulders and created huge rapids. Today this section is a calm and relaxing place to be transported by felucca or small motorized river boat up the Nile to experience Nubian villages and soak up their culture.    Ancient hieroglyphics can still be seen carved in the granite as you pass though towering granite walls. 

It didn't take long for tour companies to cash in,on this spot on the Nile. Huge river boats the size of small cruise ships are docked up along the bank.  They depart just below the granite formations and take tourist for multi night river cruises to the town of Luxor.

Usually these boats are full of cruise line passengers, but since the revolution, recent attacks on embassies, and a decrease in safety for tourists, these huge boats are sitting empty. Their paint cracking and peeling away, their railings rusting. Tourism in Egypt is 1/20th what it normally is.

So when tourism increases and people return to the banks of the Nile and you find yourself  in Aswan don't jump on the modern cruise boats, with swimming pools on their decks and restaurants beneath. Hire a local to sail you towards Luxor on a homemade felucca, which has been in their family for many years. You might travel a bit slower, pushed along by the warm winds of the Sahara, but
 you will spend the days soaking up the sun, the nights camping under the stars, entertained by song and dance, still served three meals a day, and you still have a swimming pool. The entire waters of the Nile.

For the next two nights that exactly what I will be doing. 

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