Aswan, a city on the Nile River, has been southern Egypt’s strategic and commercial gateway since antiquity. It contains significant archaeological sites like the Philae temple complex, on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam. Philae’s ruins include the columned Temple of Isis, dating to the 4th century B.C. Downriver, Elephantine Island holds the Temple of Khnum, from the Third Dynasty.

🙂 Sofitel Old Cataract, Nile River

🙁 Heat!

We disembarked at Aswan and staggered across three platforms and selected a taxi driver from the hundred strong throng of men trying to get our attention! We arrived at the haven that is the Sofitel Old Cataract Aswan.…an oasis in the midst of chaos. The hotel is a Victorian building with a pink granite facade which opened in 1899 and is famed for Agatha Christie’s stay here while she wrote Death on the Nile. The hotel was almost deserted as it was the height of summer which was wonderful as we were upgraded to their top suites at the same budget rate that we had paid! We had the ‘Rose Suite’. Trent had his own massive suite, as did the girls and Pete respectively! Absolutely stunning. Picturesque views of the Nile from our large floor to ceiling windows and balconies where we could watch the feluccas sailing by against the backdrop of the desert – spectacular.

After welcome drinks and lunch we headed off to another temple…Philae…Philae Temple was relocated in 1971 to higher ground on Agilika Island after rising Nile waters resulting from the construction of the Aswan Dam threatened to submerge it. The island was landscaped to resemble the sacred island of Isis where the temple originally stood. We took a felucca to the island. It was 45-50C and we were wilting! We then hopped off and after wandering around admiring the sights we had to wait 15mins in the scorching sun without shade which nearly killed us.

We headed back to our hotel for a much needed swim and spent four hours playing in the pool, sunbathing and playing table tennis.

We went for an evening felucca ride which was so much more pleasant in the cool breeze prior to sunset. We stopped at Kitcheners Island which is a beautiful botanical garden before visiting a Nubian Village which was quite an eye opener.

We then watched the magnificent sunset while enjoying a cocktail on the terrace and the children wrote their diaries.

Paul and I then went to the 1902 signature restaurant for a wonderful romantic dinner.

The next morning we took a flight to Abu Simbel – click link for review….

When we got back to the hotel from Abu Simbel we went to the swimming pool and relaxed there. We could see the Nubian Village from the pool and reflected on the differences in our lives. They build all their own houses and accommodate their farm animals in their living quarters: goats, chickens. We had an early night in anticipation for our cruise down the Nile on the ‘Sunray’ the next day.

Go To: Cairo

Go to : Abu Simbel

Go to: Nile Cruise

Go to: Luxor

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