On the last day of March we joined the 10am convoy to Aswan, driving through the desert until we reached our hotel on the banks of the Nile. We have 3 nights (2 days) here to see the sights. On day 1 we all went our separate ways, with me and two other ladies visiting firstly the Nubian Museum which was very interesting and gave us a good picture of the history of the Nubian people who lived in the southern Egypt/northern Sudan area from 3,500BC to present day. They have their own language which unfortunately is now dying out as Arabic has replaced it as the official language. We spent a few hours here then got a taxi over to the unfinished obelisk located in a quarry behind the Fatimid Cemetery. This 42m long obelisk was to be cut from the rock of the quarry, but after cutting 3 sides they discovered a flaw in the rock and abandoned it
After this it was off to find a motor boat to Kitchener Island and the botanical gardens planted by Lord Kitchener many years ago. We had heard there was a cafe on the island and had hoped to have lunch there, but all we found was a soft drink fridge and a stall selling packets of chips - that had to do! After a wander in the gardens our boatman was still hanging around so we got him to take us to Elephantine Island where we saw the Nilometers (where they measure the height of the river) and the ruins of Abu which date from around 3,000BC. We got back to our hotel around 5pm.
On day 2 we got a boat to the western side of the Nile to visit the 6th century Coptic St Simeon's Monastery and spent a few hours exploring this. It took us a while to find the entrance but when we did a guide appeared out of nowhere to show us around - glad we had him as we would have missed a lot of interesting things without him. After this we got the boatman to drop us off at the Old Cataract Hotel, very posh and said to be the place Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile. We tried to pretend we were rich tourists but I think our grubby clothes gave us away! We had a drink on the terrace, had a look at the menu which was very pricey, then went back to our hotel for lunch and a snooze before dinner.
On 3rd April we boarded a felucca at 10.30am for our overnight cruise. There wasn't much wind so we went around in circles for a while until the wind picked up and we could get to the other side and visit the Tombs of the Nobles. These were tombs carved into the rocky hillside and were for important people but not royalty. We climbed around for a while in the heat then headed back to the felucca to sail backwards and forward across the Nile till we reached our overnight stopping place. Food was prepared by the crew and all we had to do was relax. As the sun set over the Nile the sleeping bags came out and we slept under the stars again - all tucked up and asleep by 8.30pm!