Results tagged “Temples” from Eurasia 2012

Pretty quiet day today.

Slept in (til 9:18! gah!!). Had a slow start, then wandered up to the station. Got some breakfast at Lotteria, and activated Stu's JR pass.

Then we headed up to Kyoto. It was actually about midday by this point. On the way we looked out the window and it was *pouring* down rain. Great, we didn't bring wet weather gear because the weather forecast was for 10% chance of rain. hrmmmmm.

At Kyoto we actually had trouble finding the right station exit, which is a first, we've never had problems before. Then we needed to find a toiley. Then it was raining some more so we stopped for more coffee for the sweetie. After 1pm now.

At this point the sweetie thought we should catch a taxi to Kiyomizu-dera, rather than walk or (heaven forbid) negotiate the buses (the sweetie hates buses, and Kyoto buses are a special form of hell). Wasn't too bad, only ~1100 yen.

So Kiyomizu-dera. The rain had stopped so was a relatively pleasant, although slightly humid, wander around the place. Queued to have a drink from Otowa spring.

Then wandered back down the hill.

Walked up to Gion and by this point it was about to start raining again. We went looking for somewhere to eat but most things (that we saw) were closed, it being nearly 3:30pm. That and they hide restaurants in this place so they're not easy to find. After walking all the way through we gave up and walked all the way back to Starbucks and had a sandwich. Oh well.

We were tired so caught another taxi back to the station, and back to Osaka.

Rested for a while. I went out and got some random food from the place we got some food from in 2009 which is just a kitchen with a counter at the front.

Distance covered on the GPS: 91.9 km
Steps walked: 12534
Photos on the Canon: 56
Photos on the Sony: 26
Videos: 0

A day of tombs and temples today. And a 4:30am start :(

First stop, after a forty minute coach ride, was the Valley of the Kings. No cameras allowed in there (xray bag checks) so left them on the bus. The ticket gives you entry to three tombs of your choice (except for Tutenkamen which is extra). Our tour guide recommended doing Ramses III, IX and IV, so that's what we did. They were pretty awesome, although someone said they'd been restoring the paintwork on them to make them look shinier. Will need to see if that is true.

Next stop, round the side of the mountain, was the temple of Hatshepsut. This temple is a very unusual design with ramps and terraces. Unfortunately not much is original - about eighty percent has been restored by a Polish team. Quickly explored that one.

A short hop to our next temple - Habu Temple. This one had some very deep heiroglyphics, and some beautiful paintwork.

A very quick stop at a couple of statues, that I must look up the significance of (one of them was cracked in an earthquake and the wind passing through it made it sound like it was whistling).

Back across the Nile to Karnak Temple. This was by far the most crowded place we have been to on this trip. An avenue of rams head sphynxes, a one hundred and thirty four column room, and two whole obelisks were the highlights of this huge temple complex. At one point one of the armed guards of the place beckoned to Dad and me to follow him to see a part of the temple that was normally fenced off. We tried to tell him we had no change (well I had enough change for two more toilet trips in the country so was saving that) but he said come anyway. Of course he wanted a tip anyway didn't he, so I gave him and the other dude a few of the pens that I brought along.

Just before twelve we drove to the airport and off we went back to Cairo. Sadly on the wrong side of the plane to see anything in Luxor or Cairo (and the plane was pretty much completely full except for the seat next to me), but could see the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez off in the distance.

Got back to the hotel mid-late afternoon and did some photo backups for the parents. Also got all my videos and all my resized photos onto memory sticks that the parents will take home as a backup (my masters take up far too much space..hrmm).

Went with Jan and Howard to dinner at Thomas' again.

Then back here to blog and bed. Was going to wash my hair but think will leave that til London.

Distance covered on the GPS: 650.3 km
Steps walked: 17216
Photos on the Canon: 253
Photos on the Sony: 59
Videos: 3
EGP Spent: 17
USD Spent: 50

Today seemed like a relatively quiet day, yet I'm totally exhausted. What I thought was too much meat at lunch yesterday was probably slightly more serious as I had to clear the bowels a few times overnight :( Fortunately things settled down by the time it was time to go out. Turns out the parents had something similar, mum more so. But everyone else was ok. Took some imodium just in case.

Out the door by 7am this morning.

First item on the agenda was a horse and carriage ride around to the temple at Edfu.

It's fricken huge!!

A beautiful temple, that we wandered around for a while.

Then back on the horse and carriages back to our ship.

Set sail and continued north.

I had an attempt at sleep, not sure if successfully. Also tried to do some photo selection for the blog.

Came up on deck a bit before 12pm so we could watch the ship going through the locks at Esna dam. I don't think I've ever been through a lock so that was pretty fun. There were some brazen vendors on row boats throwing things up for stories to the deck of our ship trying to get people to buy things. Some of them were attaching themselves to the ship and going through the locks with us - craziness! I wonder if any of them ever get squished..

Lunch then another siesta attempt.

Coming into Luxor it was amazing how many cruise boats there are. Of course the majority of them are probably sitting idle at the moment. Along with the other Movenpick ship we were travelling together with, we parked next to five ships! So to get off and on our ship we had to walk through the foyers of a total of seven ships!

In Luxor we got a bus to the temple of Luxor. oK so *this* is where they got the inspiration for the city in The Ten Commandments. There's a row of something like eighty sphinxes outside the temple! And this was only a small part of what was once a much longer street. Another beautiful temple, this one having had to be restored significantly. Light was a bit bad (it was very late in the day) so not the best for photos, but did get some nice ones at some angles.

Back to the boat, then dinner, then photos and blog. Annoyingly they won't let you settle your bill til 9pm, which is a bit dumb because I plan to be in bed by then (or at least on the way to it!)

Edit. Just as I was about to start brushing my teeth reception called and asked me to come settle the bill. Pity it wasn't a couple of minutes later, I would have said no, I'll do it in the morning. Don't mess with tired people dammit!!

Distance covered on the GPS: 127 km
Steps walked: 9604
Photos on the Canon: 268
Photos on the Sony: 27
Videos: 16
EGP Spent: 56

Another fairly quiet day today.

Another 5:30 wakeup to be off the boat at 7am.

First up was a minibus ride to the unfinished obelisk (ha, I accidently typed obelix there, must be those years of reading Asterix ;) ). That was pretty cool, and amazing that they never used the granite for anything else. Leaving the place you're channelled through an arcade of vendors that all step in your path and say "come look, no hassle".. umm, dude, you're hassling me now! They just don't get this. So I pretty much bolted through and didn't look at anything. Buttheads.

Then back in the minibus to a motorboat to go to the temples of Philae. These structures were actually partially submerged by the first Aswan dam, and were going to be completely submerged by its extension. So they moved it all to an island, but they had to rearrange a few things to get it all to fit on the island.

The flies were particularly bad when we got off the boat to wait for the minibus. Quite bothersome really.

So back to the big boat with a little time before lunch. I ate way too much meat at lunch, that is still fermenting in my stomach hours later :(

Watched as they cast off from Aswan.

Sat up on the top deck for a while, but some Germans kept smoking upwind from us, so gave up on that and retired to my cabin for the afternoon. Didn't really do anything apart from play games on my phone and rest (couldn't even sleep :( ).

Sunset was viewed from my cabin tonight. I thought about going up on deck and having a drink, but in the end just did my washing. Yay. Still, that should be the last lot of handwashing I have to do in a long time, probably a couple of weeks. Yay for knowing where the laundromat is in Earl's Court! (let's hope it's still operational heh)

For dinner I just had some soup and some salad and a bit of dessert.

While eating we arrived in Edfu.

In Aswan my window faced the dock which was a little boring. During the cruise I just got the hot afternoon sun so couldn't open the blind. When we arrived in Edfu we pulled up with the other side of the ship facing the dock, so I thought I'd have a nice morning view of the Nile. Yeah right. Another ship has pulled up parallel to us and my view is of the next ship :( The next window is literally a metre away from mine :(

I couldn't stay awake for the Egyptian "party" downstairs. It was meant to be dressup. Yeah right. Hrmmm.

Going to bed.

After I clear the bowels. Multiple times. Hope this is done by tomorrow morning :(

Distance covered on the GPS: 138.1 km
Steps walked: 9004
Photos on the Canon: 180
Photos on the Sony: 29
Videos: 4
EGP Spent: 6

5:30 wake up today, although I preempted that and woke up at 5:00.

Last of the Prince Abbas breakfasts today, then we headed out to the Temple of Kalabsha, and the other temples that had also been rescued from rising lake waters and put there.

Came back and then left the Prince Abbas for good.

Got a minivan over the Aswan High Dam and stopped on top for some photos.

Then down to through Aswan to the Nile where we had a felucca boat ride down the Nile. That was pretty amazing and very peaceful.

This brought us to our new ship, the Giselle, a couple of kilometres down the river.

Checked in and had lunch. This ship does buffet style meals instead of off a menu, but the buffets looked amazing. Also a lot more people on this boat (forty - seems a lot to us after the last boat of twenty one, but till nowhere near the boat's full capacity).

After lunch I lay down for a little while and attempted to sleep.

Then we headed out again to see a "Nubian Village". Actually the boat trip up the Nile I enjoyed more, getting to see some sights and lots of different birds. The village itself is a mudbrick village on an island in the Nile made up of people that were displaced by the filling of the dam. We were with some other groups, so it was like taking all these rich white people to see how the poor people lived, which made me feel a bit weird. Lots of little kids coming up with their hands out too asking for "baksheesh". At this point I was kicking myself that I'd forgotten the little bundle of pens that I brought for just this purpose. We stopped in one of the houses and went upstairs for some tea, which was nice.

Hopped on the boat again to go further down the same island to the Movenpick hotel for high tea at the top. The little restaurant area has three sixty degree views of Aswan and the river so had some nibblies and some yummy lemon drink and watched the sunset.

Back on another boat to get back to our big boat. They said we could sit on the roof if we wanted so I jumped at the chance (since the sun had set). There wasn't actually any seats so I stood there, but it was really pretty cruising down the Nile in the twilight.

Dinner was spectacular, but then we've come to expect that ;) But I actually ate very little (been eating far too much!).

Then to blog and bed.

Distance covered on the GPS: 51.2 km
Steps walked: 9584
Photos on the Canon: 317
Photos on the Sony: 36
Videos: 8
EGP Spent: 245

Very quiet day today.

Started early (up at 5:30). Buffet breakfast, then off the boat at 7:00 to head over to the Sebua temples.

Firstly the Sebua temple. I'm guessing this is where they got the inspiration for the city in The Ten Commandments with its gate and sphinx-lined entrance. (edit: probably not - see a later entry)

Then the Dakka temple.

And finally the Maharraqa temple.

So we were all hot and sweaty but back on the boat by 9am.

I didn't do much all morning. Attempted to sleep (given that it seems I've finally succumbed to the colds my parents have had for the past couple of week - epic grunt), but mostly failed. Did a bit of computer stuff and sorted out paperwork for the past few weeks and tidied that part of my suitcase. And fixed the strap on the little bag I bought a few days ago.

Lunch was pretty huge considering we were doing nothing all afternoon.

After lunch we circumnavigated all the floors on the boat to try and get our step count up.

Then I just vegged out and backed up photos and attempted to sleep (failed again :( ). I was going to have a go at getting some photos ready to blog, but I left my perl scripts that I use to make the process easier at home and couldn't be bothered rewriting them.

Went up to watch the sunset (not as good as last night). And then hung around to watch the moonrise. And could see Aswan in the distance.

We arrived at Aswan just on 7:30pm, so a bunch of us watched the mooring and were a bit late for dinner.

Dinner was lovely as always.

And then it's photos, blog, and bed.

Distance covered on the GPS: 158.5 km
Steps walked: 7782
Photos on the Canon: 196
Photos on the Sony: 22
Videos: 2
EGP Spent: 28

So I did something today that I think I've only ever done once before in my life - watch the sunrise and the sunset on the same day!

So our wakeup call this morning was at 4:15am.


Yes, apparently there *is* a 4:15 in the morning.. who knew!

We were off the boat at 4:45 to walk around to the temples of Abu Simbel.

This was the best idea ever (the orginal itinerary has you going there at like three in the afternoon - when it's crazy hot and the lighting is all wrong). So we were sitting in front of the temples as the sun rose which was way cool. Had a look inside both temples. It's just amazing the amount of work that went into not only the original creation of the monuments, but also to move them to higher ground when the lake started filling up behind Aswan High Dam. The larger temple has not only the main passage, but also a series of little side rooms. We had the place almost entirely to ourselves. There was just one other couple that came and went.

So we had a couple of hours there, and were back on the boat a little before seven.

Cast off from our mooring and motored around to see the temples from the lake which was great as well. People on coach trips from Aswan were arriving as we left. They had to get up at like 2am or something silly to make it down for the early morning. Craziness!

Then we had breakfast - buffet style.

And then I attempted to get a little more sleep. Not sure how successful I was.

Our next stop was Qasr Ibrim. Although we didn't actually get off the boat, just had a look at the fortress and then moved on.

Lunch was off a menu again. Very swishy.

After lunch I washed three tshirts, then we stopped at Amada to see the temples. It was *hot* here! Got to the beach on lighters and saw the Amada temple. This temple they brought up the hill in one piece by reinforcing it and separating it from the bedrock and dragging the whole thing up the hill on railway tracks.

Also saw the smaller Derr temple and Pennut's tomb. Sadly a good chunk of the wall carvings in the tomb had been stolen in the 1960s after it was moved so there's great gouges in the walls where the carvings had been taken :(

Did a bit of computer stuff before afternoon tea, then I had a swim in the pool on the top deck. It's a bit of a silly shaped pool, either too deep or too shallow, but it was certainly refreshing!

Got out and watched the sunset. And then walked across to the other side of the boat and saw the moonrise! (well it had already risen) I think it's a perigee full moon tomorrow night. Must remember to try and see it.

Before dinner there were cocktails - there was a tequila sunrise, and a whiskey sour (I had that one - it was really nice), and a couple of non-alcoholic ones.

Dinner was a buffet of Egyptian food, which was pretty good.

Then back to the room to do photo and blog stuff.

Distance covered on the GPS: 149 km
Steps walked: 12333 (6000 before 7am!)
Photos on the Canon: 220
Photos on the Sony: 20
Videos: 11
EGP Spent: 23

Pretty light day today.

The beef bacon was back today :)

Left the hotel at 7:30 and went to the airport.

Like Jordan there is an xray to get into the airport before checkin. Checkin was a bit stressful because I didn't get a window seat on one of my flights so had to try and get it changed and it was all just messy and stressful :(

So go through that and found that Cairo airport has free wifi!

Then down to the "gate" (through security, which bans liquids over 100mL, even on domestic flights). We got driven all around the airport to our plane which was parked in the middle of nowhere.

The first flight was from Cairo to Aswan. I was sitting on the right side of the plane so could see a bit of the lake when we turned around and came in from the south, but not the dam :(

Went to the terminal in Aswan and it was basically time to board the next flight to Abu Simbel. Since everyone was there (it was just an Embraer 170, and not full) they said we could depart early! So we actually departed twenty five minutes early which was pretty awesome.

Bad luck with seating prevailed. We took off to the north but turned around to the left very quickly, before the dam, so I didn't see anything much from my right hand side seat. Dad again got better photos from the left side of the plane. However noone was in a window seat on the left side so I moved over there after the seatbelt sign turned off. This is because when you fly into Abu Simbel, if you fly in from the south east, you get a great view of the temples as you come into land. So did that and got my view - hurrah!!

Got the Egypt Air courtesy bus down the road to the entrance to Abu Simbel, and we walked the rest of the way down the hill to our boat.

It's a pretty cool boat. It's like a little hotel on water. There's something like seventy rooms, as well as various lounges, bars and even a small pool.

All for twenty one tourists.


Yup, twenty one people on the ship plus guides. There's more crew than guests! Seems like a bit of a waste to be running the ship plus having all these bored staff. But on the other hand it's kinda cool to have the ship mostly deserted, and know half the people here.

So anyway, as soon as we arrived we went straight to lunch. It was a full four course fine dining meal!! Craziness. Of course I'd had a big breakfast. So this is not going to end well. Diet starts in a week when I get to London .. hrmmm

After lunch we watched a documentary on the moving of the Abu Simbel temples to higher ground which was necessary when they built the Aswan High Dam.

Then we had afternoon tea, but it felt like we'd only just had lunch, so didn't feel like much.

And then a little time to spare before going around to the temples for the sound and light show. Have I ever mentioned my bad luck with seating. So as to try and avoid heads in the way I said can we sit in the front row. The guide said if we wanted to. But there was a chain in the way there so decided to move and the guide said "I tried to tell you but you wouldn't believe me". *sigh*. So grumpy about the whole thing. Did find a spot with no heads in front, but then got a big block of some thing blocking part of it. But I wasn't going to move again. *sigh*. So didn't enjoy it as much as I might have. Plus being sick and tired certainly didn't help.

Got back to the boat for another four course meal. But I just had an entree and main, and skipped the soup and dessert. Came back here to type this up, but haven't even downloaded my photos from today - need to get to bed - getting up at stoopid o'clock tomorrow to see the temples in the sunrise.

Distance covered on the GPS: 1050 km
Steps walked: 11378
Photos on the Canon: 190
Photos on the Sony: 91
Videos: 0
EGP Spent: 36