1998 Mystery of History – Day 11

Edfu to Kom Ombo – Horus soars above lazy Sobek

▲ ▲ ▲ Tuesday – after a wonderful night’s sleep – so relaxing – we head off for a great breakfast. I just love these breakfasts of fresh fruit etc and am eating everything.

Am taking my malaria tablets and still have no sign of ‘mummies tummy’ at this stage.  Today we are to visit the Temple at Edfu – dedicated to the god Horus.

Grabbing cameras and loads of film, we go up on deck to have a look around and we are greeted by a very strong smell of urine.  Boy, does it stink! We discover it is from all the horses that are connected to our carriages that are at the dock waiting to take us to the temple. See photo above.

The carriages are very ‘Howard Carter-ish’ and Kylie and I are guided into one.  The driver takes off and we have a lovely ride although we cannot understand much of what he is saying.

We arrive at the temple in one piece and our Nefer group gets ready to explore. Mohamed says this temple is the best preserved temple in Egypt – and he is not wrong.  What an experience.

HISTORY LESSON: The Temple at Edfu – dedicated to the god Horus – was built during the Ptolemaic period on top of an older temple dating from the time of Thutmose III.

It was buried under sand and silt for nearly 5000 years.  At the entrance to the temple are two beautiful black granite statues depicting Horus in the form of a falcon.

Inside the entrance pylon, stands large statues of Horus and Hathor.  It was built over a 180 year period from from 237 BC to  57 BC.

Every tourist wants to have their photo taken with the large grey granite statue of Horus – and I am no exception.  Look above left.  The hieroglyphs and carvings on the walls are practically intact.

Walking around the Courtyard of Libations, we see the  main building which includes a great hypostyle hall. There are lots of beautiful reliefs concerning the annual meeting of Horus and his wife Hathor – – – and the Sanctuary of Horus where the sacred barque was kept.  There is an early 20thcentury replica of the barque that would have sat in within the sanctuary.

HISTORY LESSON : During the third month of Summer, the priests at the Dendera complex would place the statue of Hathor on her barque (ceremonial barge) and would bring the statue to Edfu Temple where it was believed that Horus and Hathor would share a conjugal visit.

After spending about 2 hours here we enjoy a return carriage ride with our Egyptian friend.

I get to sit up front and help drive – not to worry – the horse has done this before and knows exactly where to go – – there is a convoy of about 30 carriages all going to the same place so I can’t get lost.

We arrive back at the boat and I ask Kylie to take my photo with the carriage driver.  He is very obliging and I give him a tip of LE1.00.

He does not look too pleased because apparently that was not enough. He chases us down to the dock wanting more while Kylie and I hotfoot it down the gang-plank and back to safety.

Hot towels and hibiscus tea await then it is up to our room to recover and have a good laugh and – – – we discover that the staff have made little Horus’s for us out of our towels and placed them on the bed. How cute!

We have lunch at 1pm and continue sailing south to Kom Ombo.  Back up to the pool and the sun deck for some more relaxation and Kylie gets herself an extreme case of sunburn and possible sun stroke.  She goes down to the room where it is cool – she is not too well.  I make sure she has lots of cool water to drink.

We arrive at Kom Ombo late in the afternoon and unfortunately Kylie is no better so she won’t be coming on the tour. We head off and arrive at the Twin Temples of Sobek and Horus just on dusk – it is awesome.

HISTORY LESSON : Situated between Edfu and Aswan, Kom Ombo is the ancient city of Pa-Sebek – the home of Sebek (Sobek) the crocodile god . 

At this site are the impressive remains of a double temple – joining two temples along one side. The right hand temple is that of Sobek, the god of fertility while the left hand temple is that of Horus.

The temples were built during the time of Tuthmose III – 1479-1425 BC (18th Dynasty) – and later rebuilt by the Ptolemies.

The temples are lovely. Sobek is associated with the wicked god Seth, the enemy of Horus.  In the Horus myth the allies of Seth made their escape by changing themselves into crocodiles.

The locals believed that as a totem animal and object of worship, the crocodile would not attack them.  Captive crocodiles were kept within the temple and many mummified crocodiles have been found in cemeteries. We see some mummified crocodiles in a special room at the Temple.

The dusk turns to night and the temples are lit with a wonderful natural glow plus the ‘man-made’ lights – –

After touring the temples we go to the local street stalls so that we can buy some galabeas for the on-board party tonight.

Galabeas are the long dress type things that Egyptians wear – they are really comfortable.  I buy myself a blue and gold set and get Kylie a light white cotton galabea with a rich burgundy and gold coat.

When we get back to the boat, the crew has made a model of a crewman being eaten by a crocodile.  This crew do lots of strange things but they are loads of fun. Everyday when we visit a temple they make something out of either our towels or their towels to remind us of where we have been.

We have had another great day but now it is time to shower and don our galabeas for tonight, so Mohamed tells us, we are the entertainment.

I wonder what he has in mind with that comment????  Looks like I may need an extra drink or two to get through the night.

This is tonight’s dinner – it always has plenty of salads and meat and it is all delicious.

At this section are just the ‘starters’.  You enter the dining room at the door near the plates and the main meals are further round to the right .

Kylie surfaces for the party – looking really red and sore.

After our dinner we go to the show area for a drink.  After the disappointment and the expense of the wine we decide to have lemonade and coke.  There are quite a few people here and they all are having a good time.

Below left is our Nefer group all dressed up for the Galabea Party.

Mohamed – our guide sits on the floor beside the dreaded Britannica.

Left to right – Joe, Judy, Kylie, Jean and me.  It is a good night and we have fun making idiots of ourselves – along the principal of ‘these people are not going to see me again after this trip’.

Judy has to dress up Joe as a mummy. Rolls and rolls of paper – he looks as if he just got out of the home for the bewildered!!!

They are a fun couple.  She is a photographer who loves to take photos of cemeteries and monuments which sounds macabre but it is really fascinating to hear her talk about it.

Anyway, a good time is had by all and we adjourn to our rooms for the night where we discover the crew has been at it again.

Now they have used Kylie’s jeans, my T-shirt and some towels to make a model of a guy sitting in a chair as soon as we walk in the door.

I can’t tell you what Kylie said when she first opened the door and saw it in the dark – but feel free to use your imagination!!

We crawl into bed and listen to the sound of the water gently lapping the boat as we drift off to visit with the ancients.

Highlight of the day : being chased by the carriage driver.

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