2017-10-10 Cairo to the Sanctuary Sunboat 1V, Luxor, Egypt

Last night due to an unfortunate flight delay leaving Amman, we unfortunately missed our connecting flight to Luxor from Cairo (mainly due to flights being booked too close together). Instead when we finally arrived in Cairo, we were booked into the Le Meridien Hotel for the night. Because of this occurrence we missed our first night aboard the Sunboat 1V……..our 7 night Nile Cruise ……which was disappointing
This morning we took the first flight south to Luxor which left mid morning and took approximately one hour
Arriving in Luxor we were collected by a representative from Abercrombie & Kent, the company which we booked the trip through
As the cruise boat, the Sanctuary Sunboat 1V had already left Luxor very early in the morning, the tour company organised a driver and an experiences Egyptologist called Mohamed to take us by car and visit the sights which we would have otherwise missed because of the delay
The first stop for us in Luxor was to freshen up at a local hotel and collect some lunch boxes to take on our excursion by car north to Qena  where the ancient Temple of Dendera is located
We make our way through Luxor, which was originally called Thebes and was the ancient capital of the Egyptian Kingdom
Passing the Temple of Luxor situated on the east bank
We then pass the avenue of sphinxes as we continue north out of Luxor
Departing Luxor we start our 84 km drive north on the eastern shore of the Nile to the town of Qena where we will visit the ancient site of Dendera

Piles of pumpkins and gourds are for sale along the road
Security is very noticeable at many intersections along the route
A Comprehensive Agricultural Development Plan has been set up for the city of Luxor and beyond…we noticed extensive farming all along the Nile as we head north
We arrive in the city of Qena which is mainly known for its ancient site of Dendera. The Qena area has a population of over 3 million however most people reside in the rural area surrounding the city
We cross the Nile to the west bank and head for Dendera

On arrival we make our way along the lengthy stone path which leads us to the magnificent Temple of Hathor which is dedicated to the Goddess of Love
The Temple of Hathor is believed to be the best preserved temple in all of Egypt, with parts dating back to the Ptolemaic Period (332-32 BC)
The path is flanked by what remains of an avenue of Roman columns with Corinthian capitals
A relaxed guard at the Gateway
The Gateway was built for the Emperors Domitian and Trajan at the end of the 1st century AD
Our very informative guide Mohamed who is an Eygptologist explains the history of the ancient site
Some of the artifacts on display here, for their age, are in perfect condition

Once we go inside the massive Temple of Dendera, just beyond the court is the absolutely spectacular Outer Hypostyle Hall
The Outer Hypostyle Hall consists of 24 rather cumbersome columns which support the roof of the first hall
The ceiling is decorated with wonderful scenes and also astrological signs and symbols which is one of the finest and best preserved in Eygpt
Unfortunately some of the faces have been disfigured in the Hall however surprisingly many are still in very good condition
The original paint colours are still quite vibrant

Next we approach the inner Hypostyle Hall
The Santuary
Reliefs on the Sanctuary walls record the sacred barques of Hathor and Horus
The New Year Chapel
We explore the narrow tunnels 

After quite a lengthy visit to the temple we return to the entrance

A happy book salesman
On the trip returning to Luxor we again experience the military presence everywhere
Numerous tractors share the road finishing their work for today
Quite a load!!!

 

Our very pleasant guide and driver deliver us to the Sanctuary Sunboat 1V so we can begin our Nile Cruise
Fortunately the boat returned to Luxor this evening so we could join the cruise
The welcome party was ready to greet us when we arrived
Our pleasant cabin aboard the boat

After a long day we look forward to a nice glass of wine and a delicious dinner

Belly dancing ……….
……and a whirling dervish show for entertainment aboard tonight

 

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