If you want a table in the shade when travelling with a group you need to get up early! No one in sight but towels and books reserve everything!!
A heavy haze makes visibility, and photography, difficult but there is a cool breeze which keeps us cool while we while away our time waiting for the next meal.
Banana plantations line the side of the river.
Churches rather than mosques dominate the skyline, middle Egypt being very much Coptic population,
although in the towns we pass there looks to be a competition as to who can built the highest minaret!
Gamal el Teir or mountain of the birds, rises in the near distance and the church of The Blessed Virgin Mary built atop the rocks is clear to view.
Apparently the holy family rested here during their flight from Egypt and there are five churches within the monastery complex, built by Empress Helena in 328.
The Coptic faithful make pilgrimages here between January 29th and August 22nd each year. There are 166 steps leading up the rock from the river to reach the church which can clearly be seen from a distance.
Watching the fishermen,
not so much casting their nets more laying the nets in the water,
then splashing the water to frighten the fish into swimming into the nets is fascinating.
Arriving after sunset in El Minya we learned that the group were to be taken on a walk around the town, surrounded by security and armed guards after dinner. Not appealing to us we set out for a walk on our own. That was the plan! The police and tourist police had other ideas! We had a discussion….. of course being a white haired foreigner, regardless of residence, marriage certificate or polite husband being an issue for them…. which ended with us going for a walk accompanied by a plainclothes security guard. He was actually quite a pleasant young man, who we insisted walked with us not behind us. The Corniche which apparently has recently been renovated is very nice, lively with young families as it is a Thursday night, number of brides and grooms were having their photo shoots in the gardens.
Walking into the main town we chose to walk the ‘old market’ rather than the modernised streets. The people were lovely, no one bothered us or to be honest even noticed us.
The sweet shops have the tents up displaying the sweets and goodies in preparation for Moulid el Nabi, the prophets birthday on 9th November.
The sugar dolls and horses seem to have been taken over by toy ones, such a pity but then I guess much better for the dental health of the nation!