Nancy’s 1997 Dream Vacation – Pt 2

    

Their dream vacation continuing, Nancy Willson Gokey and Monica Johnson seated aboard a British Airlines 320 having fulfilled a lasting memory in the historic Austrian city of Salzburg.  A late night arrival at Cairo Egypt’s International Airport, the two provided transportation by Cross Country Tours to the Indiana Hotel, their two week journey into the anamnesis of  Egypt having begun.

 

A view of the Nile from the Hotels roof top garden restaurant was only surpassed with their morning visit to the Cairo Tower.  the towers appearance constructed to evoke a pharaonic lotus plant, an iconic symbol of Ancient Egypt.  It is crowned by a circular observation deck, and a rotating restaurant with a view of greater Cairo, making a rotation  every 70 minutes.  The two crossing over the 4,130 mile north eastern flowing  Nile, the longest river in Africa.  It’s Cairo banks projecting a park like setting, flourishing tree line gardens with horse and carriage tours available.

 

Their anticipation heighten with an afternoon visit to the acclaimed Cairo Egypt Museum, built in 1901, one of the largest museums in the region.  Entering the museums main room, Nancy and Monica were awed by the artifact’s and exhibits, a residing display of the historical past and culture of the land,  and in one respect, projecting a presence of  familiarity,  a probability, the two having viewed a lifetime of Hollywood movies scripted about ancient Egypt.

 

T

he early morning found them boarding a compartmental European style train to Luxor and the Emilio Hotel to meet with the Adventure Center Tour group.  Luxor constructed in 1400 BC on the east bank of the Nile,  characterized as the world’s greatest open-air museum,  it includes the ruins of  several temple complexes.  The tour groups adventure beginning with the Luxor Temple, where many pharaohs of Egypt were crowned.  It’s Temple of  and the columns of sun court being commissioned by King Amenhotep the third.    The Mortuary Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Ramses III also remain.   The Mosque of Abu Haggag stands atop the ruins of Luxor Temple,  Abu Haggag was a descendant of the prophet Muhammad.

      

The two returning from the history laden temple to what they thought would be the 20th century, but finding the hubbub of street vendors and an open-air markets, their endeavors and everyday presence having remained the same for the past millennium.  Still an ongoing public market place, not only for visitors, but frequented by the city’s population.  The afternoon traveling to The Karnak Temple Complex,  1.5 miles from Luxor. The temple comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. Construction beginning around 2000 to 1700 B.C.  Approximately thirty pharaohs through the millennia contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere.  Gracing the grounds is Karnak Temple Sacred Lake,  the largest of its kind, dug by Tuthmosis the third in 14 seventy three BC  and is lined with a stone wall and has stairways descending into the water.

 

The tour group bidding a farewell to Luxor, boarding a train for the 110 mile journey south to Aswan and a 190 mile road trip southwest to the Abu Simbel complex on the western bank of lake Nasser.   During the reign of Ramses II,  he embarked on an extensive building program throughout Egypt and the region of  Nubia, which Egypt controlled.  Nubia was very important to the Egyptians because it was a source of gold and many other precious trade goods.  Ramses II   built several grand temples in this region in order to impress upon the Nubians of Egypt’s might.   In 1264 BC he started construction of the Abu Temple Complex which was completed in 1244 BC.

 

 

With building of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River,  it was necessary to relocate the temple complex or it would have been submerged during the creation of the reservoir and  Lake Nasser.  There are two temples in the complex,  the Great Temple,  dedicated to himself, Ramses II the,  and the Small Temple, dedicated to his foremost wife,  Queen Nefertari.   The tour group experiencing the reality of the Abu Simbel Temples,   returning to Aswan.

 

A nights rest, Nancy and Monica’s group  venturing across the west bank of the Nile and introduced to the ships of the desert, the camel.  The camel ushered into the middle east about 900 BC.   The twelve member group at first somewhat hesitant, but all being adventurist,  discovering that you didn’t mount an upright camel,  all boarded the kneeling dromedary for their  excursion to the Saint Simeon Monastery,  a fortress-like seventh century monastery,  rebuilt in the 10th century and dedicated to Saint Simeon,  the monastery monks in hopes of  converting the Nubians of lower Nubia to Christianity.

 

The means of transportation to Luxor having changed, boarding a river cruise boat,  their down river Nile  journey continuing.   An itinerary stop at the west bank city of Kom Omobo, a morning venture to the view the ancient remains of the two distinctly different parts of the Kom Omobo temple.  The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek,  god of fertility.  And  the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris,  Horus the Elder.   The afternoon spent aboard the boat enjoying the waters of the Nile, the evening finding a relaxing time, the group doing a rendition of a hokey pokey dance line with even the crew members participating.

 

 

Casting off, the tour continuing to cruise down river, Edfu coming into view,  once a flourishing Greek city and in ancient times  known as Apollinopolis Magna, the city of the God Horus Apollo.  The excursion group embarking, viewing The temple  dedicated to the falcon god Horus, the structure consisting of elements of both Egyptian and Greek architecture dating back to the Ptolemaic times, between 237 and 57 B.C. and considered to be the best pre served in Egypt.  The tours Nile river cruise accomplished with the return to Luxor,  fulfilling  a scheduled visit to the Valley the Kings and Queens still on the itinerary,  the burial site of almost all the kings and pharaohs of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties from 1539  to 1075 BC.   Located in the hills on the west side of the Nile,  the majority of the 65 numbered tombs in the Valley of the Kings could be considered as minor tombs,  But some are larger and multi-chambered.  The valley having been a major focus of modern Egyptology exploration for the last two centuries.

 

The visit to the majestic valley of the kings experienced, a return to Luxor’s old town and a brief visit to the Luxor Temple,  the papyrus umbel capitals of the Hypostyle Hall,  the Colossal statue of Ramses II and other yet explored aspects of the grounds.   The morning found Nancy and Monica in the lobby of the Emilio Hotel, their dream vacation journey to continue to the red sea, the Sinai Desert, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, and Mount Sinai where Moses’ received the ten commandments.

 

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