Cairo to Aswan: The Long Cruise: Aswan, Kalabsha and Moulid El Nabi

Arriving in Aswan we were amazed at the number of cruise boats docked two, three and four deep all the way along the Corniche.

Such a surge in tourism since our last visit four years ago.

The idyllic scene of faluccas sailing serenely and ferry boats buzzing across the river however doesn’t change,

other than there seem to be a lot more of them.

No sooner had we docked than we were whisked away for our tour. We had managed to change from visiting Philae, which I love but we have seen before, to Kalabsha which I visited forty years ago and can remember little of it, and Amr has not visited. The tour guide didn’t seem too happy with the change, waxing lyrical about the beauty of Philae as he explained the unfinished obelisk to us.

Undeterred we headed for Kalabsha, passing Philae in the distance we could see all the boats sailing back and forth to the island.

We boarded our own boat, no one else around, and had the temple and island to ourselves and the guardians, who seemed delighted someone had remembered them!

The temple was moved from destruction by the building of the high dam and subsequent flooding of the valley to form Lake Nasser, an incredible feat in itself.

The temple itself is small,

and decor unfinished, in nubianstyle,

but still fascinating to see.

Walking the granite walkway to an adjoining island is the temple of Ramses II,

a very small and compact temple with reliefs which still retain their colour but are quite rudimentary in style.

There are a couple of monuments around the temple which were saved at the same time which make interesting viewing,

while the sun was hot there was a refreshingly cool breeze all around the island, and no humidity which draws the energy from you.

Returning to the town we took a falluca ride back to the ship.

So relaxing just gliding across the water, watching the other craft crisscrossing and managing not to become tangled.

The boat crew and guide had a discussion around the times, the guide getting political and the boatmen not understanding what his issue was… so long as they have food to eat and wind in their sails nothing else seems to concern them.

Getting off and back to our ship was an event in itself. The cruise boats taking up all of the available spaces, we ended up walking across two other fallucas, climbing up onto the top of the last one and leaping onto a docked cruise ship, passing through another one before hitting land!

The Corniche was alive with crowds waiting for the Moulid el Nabi (Prophet Mohamed birthday) parade.

Flags waving, horns blasting, trumpets being blown, suddenly seeing kids running from all directions someone had thrown money into the air for them to catch. Sweets and candies were being thrown everywhere for the kids to catch.

A family stood next to us were looking in amazement at us, till I spoke in Arabic to them and they went into shock!!! Then absolutely delighted with us they wanted to share the sweets they had collected with us. Part of the parade passed, then we walked along the Corniche where just about everyone in town and probably the villages around, were on the street enjoying the event. No one bothered about us, no hassle just lots of smile, lots of trumpets blown and we had great fun. The noise carried on until well into the night, way after we had gone to sleep.

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