More observations on our Royal Viking Cruise.

After overnighting just on the South side of Esna Lock, we weighed anchor in the early morn. I don't often get to see the sunrise but it's worth getting out of bed for when you're on the Nile!

We're loving our cruise, so far. I hope that nothing will happen to spoil it for us.

Today, we're due to cruise to Edfu and Kom Ombo, where the tourists will disembark for their excursions. We'll see what we come across on the way, shall we?

5:05am and there goes the early train, thundering along the Nile's bank. You can just get a glimpse of it through the palms on the right of the picture. (Click on any of the pictures to get a better look.) It just shows how near the river Egypt lives; the main road is just out there as well.

A little further on, and we come across something which I've never noticed before, although it looks like it's been there for quite some time:

Sadly, the lackadaisical attitude which Egypt seems to have regarding maintenance invariably gives tourists the wrong impression. "HAPPY TRA". Indeed!

As always, the working man has to make his living. Fishermen are ubiquitous on the Nile. "Early to bed and early to rise", and all that:

Not very much further on, we were suddenly faced with (what looked like) a North Sea "haar", as the river ahead and in the distance were enshrouded in mist. It was really rather atmospheric:

I almost sensed the Marie Celeste looming out of the mist!

Back to the daily reality of work, and here are the reed gatherers, filling a Nile barge with their harvest.

Above are the reed beds which they work. It seems a strange occupation to a land-lubber like me.

Heading back to our cabin, for a snooze before breakfast, I took a few snaps around the reception area. (I hope you'll forgive the UFO's, which are actually bits of muck which have managed to worm their way into the lens. The camera is, at this very moment, in the camera shop getting sorted.)

The table really is as stunning as it looks, pity about the jar of sweets amidships.
And how about these for a surprise on a Nile cruise boat?

They have to belong to the boat, as there were no passengers travelling at the same time as us who might have needed them. A good idea, and a sign of the company's commitment to the needs of their clients.

Like just about all Nile cruise boats, the central staircase is an impressive feature:

Although we have no industry near Luxor (for fear of the resulting pollution damaging the antiquities) there are several factories elsewhere along the Nile. We came upon a steelworks and a sugar factory. Fool that I am, I cannot remember which one these the following pictures are of!

Judging from the number of what look like grain elevators, I would think that this is the sugar factory, but I've been wrong plenty of times before!

These are obviously conveyors for loading river barges. 

See the artic's in the foreground? And this also shows some of the pollution which the government is trying to save Luxor from!

There are some pretty remote hamlets along the Nile; like this one:

The road has swept away, behind the mountains, leaving this well-worn footpath below as seemingly the only access to the dwellings.

After a "turn around the deck" to settle our ample breakfasts, we returned to our cabin to find our first towel sculpture of the trip:

The cleaners must have waked in on some unsuspecting white man like me, to find the ideal model for this one! It's actually the first time I'd seen this particular one, quite impressed.

First stop for the eager tourists was Edfu, where caleches ferry them to the temple. It can be a terrifying trip, as the drivers here don't seem to have much sympathy for their animals, and sometimes gallop them through the streets much to the tourist's chagrin.

I was much more interested in the town's other main form of transport:

Yes, shipmates, it's the humble Tuk-tuk! And I want one! Want one!

I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but I'm in 7th Heaven here! A lovely cruiseboat, beautifully warm weather, a happy spouse, Tuk-tuks galore and scenery like this below. What more could any man ask?

Some things are barely worth commenting on, like the huge size of the electricity pylons supporting the cables where they cross the Nile:

But then........such structures become rather sinister when you realise that in this quiet, hidden, backwater they are actually breeding! I almost missed this "child" pylon, soaking up its much needed nourishment from the world's longest river!!!

Image result for free images of electricity windmills

I'm convinced that there's some sort of correlation here to the aliens which are spreading over England and just biding their time until they make their move and take control of our once proud country!!!!

Perhaps the following couple of pictures might convince you too, Dear Reader, that there is definitely something "going on" here in this cradle of civilisation?

Just some small distance away from the pylon nursery, even your colour blind reporter couldn't have failed to notice these highly coloured patterns on the Nile bank.

It's obvious that they're some sort of signalling thingy! They're multi-coloured plastic parcels!!!!!

See how they are arranged in meaningful sequences? Sinister, I say!

It would seem, from the following picture, that these peculiar goings-on have effected the minds of the local population, wouldn't you agree?

We were about an hour or so North of our next stopping point of Kom Ombo, when we approached the row of piers of a new Nile Bridge:

There's certainly a great deal of concrete reinforcing going into those pillars!

Who needs a floating crane when you have a  barge and a truck mounted one?

Such concerns were pushed to the far reaches of my mind as I contemplated the simple (and primitive) pastoral scene which next glided into view:

My fevered brain was further quieted as we approached the beautiful temple to two gods; Kom Ombo!

Perhaps I had let my imagination run wild, after all?

By the time the tourists had marvelled at the carvings of familiar surgical instruments and seen the mummified crocodiles; and run the gauntlet of the avaricious traders at Kom Ombo, the light was failing. We set sail once again just as the temple lights were switched on.

If only we could have delayed our departure for 15 minutes or so, I could have got you a much more impressive photo'. (That's the same Sonesta cruiseboat in the foreground.)

We sailed away as the Nile was slowly engulfed in the deep black which is the Egyptian night. We knew when we were approaching Aswan, as the contrasting, modern, beauty of the illuminated Aswan Bridge hove into view:

As we docked, right in the middle of Aswan's river frontage, we were presented with this fabulous view of the Nobles Tombs on the West Bank. 

OK, it's brash and gaudy, but it makes the lighting of the King's Valley Mountains at Luxor look decidedly amateurish. Perhaps the moon rising over the opposite Nile Bank was meant to show us a more natural type of beauty?

As we entered our cabin, after a sumptuous dinner and more than ready for sleep, we were confronted by a towelling elephant:

Another first, as far as I was concerned, but maybe a reminder that we were now as far South as the Royal Viking would be taking us, and we wouldn't be seeing the real thing on this trip?

What about tomorrow, I wonder?

Cruising on the Nile aboard the Royal Viking.

Well, Playmates! It had really  been  my intention to blog our lovely Nile cruise holiday at one sitting, so that it might be referred to like a review; but that hasn't been possible. After looking through the first day's pictures, I realised that even this first day could warrant more than one posting, however, I'll spare you that and condense it into a "picture blog". This will be a series of photographs with only small explanations to accompany them, you can fill in any gaps with your imaginations!

Firstly, we'll have a little tour of the boat, here's our cabin:

I took lots of pictures in here, but due to a faulty camera (and a photographer who really doesn't understand it anyway!) only this one appeared on the memory card! Anyway, it was relatively spacious, comfortable and "usable", if you know what I mean. There was a locked door to facilitate the adjoining cabin requirements of a family, and whilst it wasn't "perfectly" clean, it couldn't have been described as dirty. There was only one chair at the small table, but another was produced immediately upon request. The service from staff was prompt and efficient. (There may be some bathroom pictures farther on in the picture library. If I come across any, I'll be sure to let you see them.)

This is the central corridor outside of our cabin, remember that all the cabins on Nile cruisers are "outside" cabins. We were on the highest deck, but all the corridors are alike. (Note the sprinklers in the ceiling, they are also in the cabins etc.)

The public areas are all pretty well as you would expect; the lounge/bar has a small dance floor with tables and chairs around it, then more comfortable sofa type, seating with lower tables, around the outer edge. All very pleasant and practical.

The top deck has a fairly sized pool, with surrounding sunbeds, and a large shaded area with a goodly assortment of seating around matching tables, most acceptable!

It's here that guests enjoy their afternoon tea (and English cake) whilst sailing. When we were on the boat (early May) the temperature was perfect for lounging in the shade whilst gliding along through a blissful breeze and taking in the fabulous scenery. Mind you, several of our companions (although, to be fair, they had come from the damp, cold drizzle of England!) spent most of their free time either baking in the sun or cooling of in the pool.

(There are a couple of "exercise" machines at the rear of the open top deck, but I didn't imagine that you, Dear Reader, would be remotely interested in them!)

On the deck below us was the "commercial district" of the boat, a shop selling costumes for the inevitable "Galabaya Party", jewellery and various souvenirs.

There's also a massage room, I had a quick nosey in there; the massage table is just visible in the inner sanctum.

And here's the massage lady drumming up business on the sundeck. She didn't hassle, and took "No" as our answer straight away, thankfully!

Her prospective client was the only non-English speaker on the boat.

In the reception area, the various excursions and visits are displayed each day on the notice boards, along with meal times, optional excursions and evening entertainments, sailing times etc. Invaluable information!

The restaurant (complete with hand sanitiser available at the entrance) is on the lower deck, where the river flies past just below the large windows. (Perhaps I'll even come across some pictures later?)

At the stern, there are several life-rafts stacked:

Hanging from chain blocks, down the back of the boat are the small rowing boats which the crew use for servicing the needs of the boat and crew. You'll notice the oars, which are much more streamlined than usual Egyptian oars, although still not ideal for their purpose!

We passed by the (Un)Egyptian Experience holiday village as we set sail from our boat's berth just to the South of the Nile bridge, which lies about seven kilometres from town.

I've included this picture just to show you that I'm not entirely prejudiced against such developments. We have a few friends who actually own apartments here, and are very happy with them. Mind you, they are rather on the expensive side for such a poor country.

The Nile has remained, largely, unchanged for many centuries. Fishermen can still be seen casting their nets as they would have done in Biblical times:

Working in the fields, which often reach right down to the river, hasn't changed much either, although they now tend to use motorised transport along with the poor little donkeys. Here's a shot of the "threshing floor" of one farmer:

And here's another showing some fields which have been inundated by the rising Nile:
With the advent of motor transport for both goods and people, there are ferryboats working on sections of the Nile, although the government seem to be intent on building more bridges here and there. (More on this in another "Cruise Blog".)

I believe that ferries of this type are common all over Africa, this one operates to the North of Esna.

The banks of the Nile are constantly fascinating, I took innumerable pictures of just the palms and various trees as we slid by them, gently waving to us as we passed. At one point, I noticed an idyllic scene comprising a small family group strolling along the bankside among some lush grass and beautiful trees. I took up the camera, switched it on, and then set the controls for a "scenic" "daytime" shot
and turned back to find that Dad had moved away from the group to to busy himself with a "bodily function"!

Well........Egyptian culture and practice is very different from the English! And if we visit here; then we must accept their habits, and not complain or be upset by them.

We also came upon a boatyard, and it contained the very  vessel that would suit us down to the ground, if my Mother won the National Lottery and gave us a share, that is. What do you think, would our guests pay a few bob extra to sail up the Nile on her?

Naturally, I'd have to hone and practice my carpentry skills somewhat,  but I'm sure that "with a little help from my friends" this lovely little thing could be made into a real beauty!

Then you can spy something like the following, in the distance, which grows in it's mystery as it becomes more plainly into view:

I believe it's a Sheiks Tomb, not unlike the one which is in the street, just behind our house.

Or, like me, you can gaze in awe at the different colours (caused by the light and shade?) displayed in the rocks and mountains along the river banks, sometimes they appear as mountains of purest gold!!! Honestly!

We reached the lock at Esna, just as it was getting dark, and moored up against the West Bank to await our turn to pass through. It was interesting watching the other cruisers arriving and tying up.

We were next to one of the Sonesta boats:

Eventually, it was our time to move, and we edged slowly towards the lock gates. But what was that small object, in the gloom, in front of us?

You can see the concrete sides of the entrance to the lock, but there's definitely an obstacle in our way! Here it is, on zoom!

Obviously the local lunatic, and even though he's rowing frantically, I think he must have a death-wish!

Here we are, actually in the lock, with a crewman shouting instructions to the pilot, hoping that we don't scrape the boat along the concrete side of the lock.

And here's the man who rowed his boat into the lock in front of us. Cheeky beggar's getting a tow home! This is evidently a common practice.
I'm sorry about the reflection of the interior of the boat, but the doors were locked shut, and it's the only way I could get the picture.

I think that's probably enough for one day, don't you? It's all I'm doing anyway, so you can like it or lump it! I need TEA!