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Christmas on the Nile – Part 2 – Nile Cruising and Karnak

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Oh, to be back floating along the Nile. It was just bliss and one of the most beautiful places in the world. I just long to feel the warm sun on my skin again and that sense of freedom. Our trip was only 6 weeks ago, but it feels like a lifetime in the bleak February lull we seem to have found ourselves in. I’ve finally got round to taking the photos off the camera, and have spent the morning flicking through over a thousand pictures of such happy memories, amazing places and good times.

So, I thought I would write part 2 of our Egypt Travel Diaries. If you are just reading this for the first time, we visited Egypt in December and spent Christmas Day in quite an unusual setting! In my first post we visited Cairo and the Pyramids, we then flew down to Luxor where we visited Karnak Temple and then we board our Cruise ship and set sail along the Nile.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Ram-headed Sphinx Avenue

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple dates back to 2500 BC, it’s amazing to think some of these structures, statues and obelisks are over 4000 years old and are still standing. It is just breathtaking and also so much bigger than I expected (in terms of area, rather than height). Walking around the temple, there is something to see around every corner. I don’t think any of our photographs do it justice, it has to be seen to be believed. From ornate pylons, pillars and statues, to one of the tallest obelisks in Egypt. Made from a single piece of stone, you just can’t image this was made all by hand and still looks unbelievable today.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Hidden from the sun, the underside of the structure still shows the original bright colours of red, blue and gold 

We spent quite some time exploring the enormous area that Karnak Temple covers. In Egyptian times, Karnak was one of the most religious sites in Egypt for over 2000 years, so at the time was a highly important place of pilgrimage. It also meant, each Pharaoh in power wanted to leave their mark and add to the temple in ways bigger and better than the previous, so this is a site that has grown and changed over many many years and it’s interesting to see some of the changes that had gone on at the time, and the ‘fashions’ at the time. There are even parts where Pharaohs and God’s have been erased from the wall, leaving large silhouettes of uneven chippings in human shape, where there was obviously a falling out or two and the Pharaoh would have instructed the architects to chip the said-person from the wall. I guess thats the Egyptian way of deleting photos of an ex or friend you’ve now fallen out with.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Standing next to this Statue of Rameses II just to show the sheer size | Original colours and hieroglyphics | Obelisk made from one piece of rock, stands at 97 feet tall

It wasn’t just the history that made visiting Karnak fun. There were also groups of local school children on school trips around every corner. Many of them come from areas where they don’t see tourists or people with blonde hair, blue eyes and lighter skin. I didn’t expect this, but many of the children approached us, wanting to practice their English and shouting ‘Selfie, selfie’ – they all wanted photos of us, it was quite bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many photos taken of me, they were like mini-paparazzi. We obliged and posed for photos with them, speaking basic English to them to help them practice, until their teacher came racing over and shouted at them for all surrounding us, but we of course, didn’t mind at all.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

We can’t go anywhere without finding cuttteee puppies 

Nile Cruise

I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of Karnak. It is such a fascinating place and I could have spent all day there. However by mid-morning we were due to set sail down the Nile, so we headed to our cruise ship by horse and carriage and boarded the ship.

Having never been on a cruise, I was more than excited to get onboard. Our ship, the Mirage was just the right size, with three floors and an upper deck it was big enough but still felt quite intimate and had a low-key relaxed vibe. Our cabin had a large double bed and panoramic window so we could take in all the sites without even leaving the comfort of our bed. It was just perfect and such a fun and different place to wake up on Christmas Day!

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Afternoon Tea on the Top Deck | Swimming Pool and Sun loungers | Waiting to set sail 

The afternoon was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a long time. We set sail from Luxor with a few toots of our horn, we were off. Relaxing music drifted from the speakers and the Egyptian scenery began to pass by. We sat on the top deck, basking in the sunshine, but as the sun began to cool, afternoon tea was served and we sat looking out as the sun set over the horizon.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Locals making rafts from reeds

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Washing and drying rugs in the sunshine

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

As the sun sets, the moon appears

Evenings on the cruise ship were just as relaxing. Dinner was served in the main restaurant, with drinks in the bar afterwards. Most evenings we went to bed early and I slept so well, with the gentle movement of the ship beneath us, thinking of what might be waiting for us outside the window when we woke up.

 

Next time, join me as we visit Aswan Dam, Abu Simbel and eat our Christmas Dinner sitting on the floor with the Nubians…. 

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4 Comments

  1. 14 February, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    Ah this sounds totally amazing! I would love to do the same cruise, sounds like the perfect mix of big but still intimate. Christmas feels like an age ago now!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  2. Brianna
    16 February, 2016 / 12:50 am

    I’d love to hear more about your experience traveling in Egypt as a female. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about how conservatively to dress and how aggressive the touts are.