Different and all absolutely fascinating are the faces of? Egypt. Our trip represented an important moment of confrontation with the past pi? remote and its great civilization, daughter of the floods of the Nile.
Navigating along the Nile has made us discover a millenary and fascinating history, which has made of? Egypt the most? splendid of ancient cultures.
"Was it a journey through time punctuated by the intense and powerful rhythm of five thousand years of civilization?"
Our journey begins in Luxor (ancient Thebes) after a flight of about 3 hours from Fiumicino. Upon arrival, we embark on the Lady Sophia motor ship which belongs to one of the largest floating hotel chains. important of Egypt. Built in 2001, it offers its guests an elegant and comfortable environment. The 5-star luxury motor ship? composed of 75 carefully distributed and well-equipped cabins, equipped with every comfort: ours located on the third deck, the most? at the top, it has a large window from which we will enjoy the splendid view of the right bank of the Nile. Time to arrange the suitcases and immediately we go down to the elegant restaurant for dinner where we begin to meet our travel companions who do not seem very happy (but we will certainly be able to give them a "shot of life") and we meet Makmud the our Egyptian guide who seems very prepared to us. Looking out from the deck I see an Arab who carries out his usual prayer prostrate on the bow deck:? the commander! Do you recommend his soul or the ship? We hope well?
We wake up at dawn for two good reasons, not to find a lot of crowds and not to find ourselves in the hot hours (even if we are in February at 11.00, we are already at 30 ?!) and we go to visit the temples of Luxor and Karnak. In the city? of? Thebes of a hundred doors? here is the temple of Luxor dedicated to the god Aton, who here takes the name of Min, the god with a perennially erect member (priapism?). Are we enchanted by the majesty? of the place and along the avenue of the human-headed sphinxes we reach the temple of Karnak and our guide illustrates the history of the site in a truly exhaustive way, not without sarcastically pointing out that one of the two pylons originally placed in front of the high entrance 25 meters and weighing 250 tons is currently located, thanks to one of the many "historical thefts" suffered by the Egyptian nation, in the Place de la Concorde in Paris since 1836. Let's not neglect the classic three propitiatory turns around the "Sacred Scarab" of pink granite before to transfer by a colorful boat to the west bank of the Nile for an excursion to the valley of the Kings. The tombs are hypogeum, that is? dug underground even at a depth of 60 meters. We visit those of Tutmose II, Ramsete III and that of the famous Tuthankhamon. From the Valley of the Kings to Deir el Bahari, where one of the largest temples stands. suggestive of the whole? Egyptian art: the temple of Queen Hatchepsut daughter of Tutmose I, after having married Tutmose II and later her stepson Tutmosi III, usurp it? the throne rising to the pi? high ranks of the Egyptian hierarchy to be considered a real pharaoh. L? architect Senmut, who was there too? lover, ne celebr? beauty and power in a single monument: three terraces enclosed by the mountain sides. Before returning to the ship, take a look at the colossi of Memnon, two gigantic statues made from blocks of quartzite as high as? of 18 meters represent Amenofi III and that once adorned the? entrance to the mortuary temple of the pharaoh himself.
During the night the ship passes the Esna lock heading to Edfu where the temple dedicated to Horus stands, the god depicted as a hawk. In the morning we get ready to? excursion that provides, by means of a picturesque wheelchair (we also witness a furious quarrel between coachmen for the hoarding of customers) the transfer to the pi? great temple after that of Karnak and the best preserved thanks to the thick layer of sand under which it was buried for centuries. On the terrace the sacred effigies of the god and the solar boat is also very interesting, entirely rebuilt by? French archaeologist Mariette. Continuing sailing south, not without a good rest on the ship's pool deck where we relax in the sun sipping cool drinks and taking a tan in the sun d? Africa, we arrive in the afternoon in Kom-Ombo where there is? only temple divided equally between two deities: Sobek, the crocodile god of fertility? of the Nile, and Hahoeriss the great winged solar disk. To the right of? entry c? ? a small room with mummified crocodiles. Particularly interesting on the internal façade of one of the two walls surrounding the temple is a decoration from the Roman period that reproduces a set of surgical instruments testifying to the high level of Egyptian medicine. We leave Kom Ombo in the evening: the illuminated temple creates a fantastic suggestion! Back on the ship we prepare for the? Arab festival? that will be held? in the nightclub. We dress as Arabs with the clothes bought in the store and after an Arab dinner we immerse ourselves in Arab music, Arab "discomusic", and at the end of the evening there? inevitable competition between different groups of tourists involves us totally. I am the speaker and organizer of the themed skits while Bianca is the leader and actress. Among the skits c? ? one that foresees the ostentation of a pink slip; only Bianca owns it and lends it kindly? .. Needless to say, the race ends diplomatically in a tie. Back in the cabin we find on our bed a nice composition that the service staff have there? habit of doing every day using towels. A very nice thing to be honest. Meanwhile the ship sails towards Aswuan.
The morning includes l? excursion to Philae. We pass by the great Aswuan dam, impressive with its 3,6 km. long and 111 meters high which barring the course of the Nile forms an artificial basin, Lake Nasser, second in the world as an extension. We arrive by boat at? landing of the archaeological site that welcomes us in all its splendor. Philae Island was dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis. The temple saved why? submerged by the waters of the Nile following the construction of the great dam, it was dismantled and moved to the nearby island of Agilkia in a more position. raised. The move took place between 1972 and 1980 also thanks to the work of Italian technicians. On the way back we stop at a perfume factory where we buy excellent essences at very exceptional prices: the smells, the colors and the variety? products create an unforgettable atmosphere. In the evening c? ? the farewell party from the ship's staff which proves to be of extraordinary interest. The dervish dance, the belly dance and I clumsily try the dancer who invites me to keep her company on the dance floor!
Wake up at? dawn, an excursion to the islands on the Nile awaits us and immediately afterwards we leave for Abu Simbel. During the boat trip to the? Elephantine Island we are approached by a small boat with a little Arab who sings to us? Hello Hello? and? That bunch of flowers? incredible! We arrive at? Kitchener's island (or island of flowers) which? a beautiful Botanical Garden, one of the most? pleasant and relaxing Aswuan. On the hills overlooking the western banks of the Nile stands the mausoleum of? Aga Khan. Time to get back on the ship, collect your luggage and transfer to the ship? airport for the flight that will take us? to Abu Simbel, a site that will certainly give me? a strong emotion. After 25 minutes of flight we are in one of the most? visited in Egypt. Here we had to face the same problems of Philae to avoid the danger that the Temples were swallowed by the waters of the artificial basin: the complex was cut into 1036 blocks / of about 30 tons each) and reassembled in a smaller place. high. The Temple of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II was entirely excavated inside a rocky ridge (33 meters high by 36 wide) to which four colossal statues depicting the pharaoh himself were added. Not far away is the temple of Hator built by Ramses II himself in honor of his splendid wife Nefertari. Still by plane we are traveling to Cairo where we arrive in the evening and stay in the splendid Zoser hotel. While waiting for dinner we go out to buy more cassettes for the video camera and we are immediately terrified: the traffic in Cairo? scary and then the cars drive with the sidelights off! We are dismayed but then luckily we make friends with a soldier (there are plenty of them in the street together with myriads of images of Moubarak!) Who, with his good "Kalashnikov" escorts us like a bodyguard through the streets of Cairo. The whole thing costs us a tip of 5 euros - it means a lot to him!
Today two important appointments: the Islamic quarter and the Egyptian Museum. Cairo? a city? extremely rich in Islamic vestiges, as confirmed by the numerous mosques, defensive buildings, markets and palaces. Splendid the Mosque d? Alabaster or Mohamed Al ?, cos? called by the alabaster slabs that cover it: its construction dates back to 1824. Pi? the open-air mosque dedicated to Ibn El Qawloon is ancient and very interesting. We visit the two mosques obviously barefoot. All? exiting we are surrounded by a local schoolchild that involves us in a playful mess. A visit to Cairo cannot? apart from the Egyptian Museum. It was built in 1857 by? French archaeologist Auguste Mariette and welcomes the pi? vast collection of finds from? Egyptian art which are arranged on two floors according to l? chronological order. On the first floor are grouped pieces of the Protodynamic era. The upper floor? largely dedicated from the treasure of Tutankhamun, the pharaoh who died in mysterious circumstances at? age aged 19. This treasure, comprising 1700 pieces,? the only one to have escaped centuries of looting. The papyrus room is splendid and a visit to the mummies room is inevitable. Only regret, we can not shoot video and photographs? Lunch in a delightful Indian restaurant and afterwards, greeted by the singing of the? Muezzin? we immerse ourselves in the Khan el Khalili, one of the most? ancient known. In its many shops, carpets, fabrics, wooden objects, mother-of-pearl, ivory, jewelery, silverware, leather works, perfumes, camel saddles, hookahs are sold. and all sorts of trinkets. Even belly dance costumes! We leave the market safe and sound! (a few months later a terrorist attack took place in the market!)
About 12 km southwest of Cairo stand out, in all their majesty, the famous pyramids of Giza, considered one of the seven wonders of the world. The three pyramids date back to the fourth dynasty, that is? all? Old Kingdom (2500 years BC). The scenery ? incomparable. The realization of these gigantic works? which took place with a geometric rigor still today leaves us amazed. We are surrounded by the desert that is not so deserted? since c? ? an intense traffic of dromedaries and horses mounted by tourists, a bustle of tourist buses and raids of annoying souvenir sellers who are fortunately kept at bay by policemen obviously on the back of a dromedary and armed with a long whip! What would the pharaohs Cheops, Khafre and Cerine say when they saw their tombs reduced to this state? To complete the necropolis here is the enigmatic outline of the Sphinx, the most? large stone statue of the world (1 meters long by 70 high) with the body of a lion and the human face that perpetuates a mystery still unsolved today and which is probably considered to be that of Chefren. We do not miss the funeral boat of Cheops housed in a modern museum with temperature and humidity. not checked without wearing slippers that prevent sand from spreading in the museum.
After the wonders of Giza, returning to the city, we stop at a jewelery shop and a papyrus factory. Lunch in a famous restaurant, Abou Zeid, where they serve some truly exceptional seafood dishes and then departure for Memphis and Saqqara on the west bank of the Nile 30 km south of Cairo. Memphis, the pi? ancient capital d? Egypt, founded by the mythical king Menes about 5000 years ago, preserves the? huge statue of Ramses II, made of soft limestone and for its fragility? not completed and the famous alabaster sphinx. Nell? around there are the tombs of the nobles and dignitaries of the first dynasties. On the desert plateau west of Menfi, stands the necropolis of Saqqara, the most? big d? Egypt (it extends for about 8 km) with its pyramids and dozens of mastabes, the funerary monuments in the shape of a truncated pyramid. All? inside of the funerary complex of King Zoser (III dynasty) stands out for its majesty, the famous? step pyramid? that precedes the pi? famous pyramids of Giza.
We go back to the hotel really exhausted for l? busy day when, while we rest waiting for dinner, we hear a deafening roar of Arabic music and voices coming from the restaurant floor. I immediately take the? video-photographic equipment and we rush down ?. Arrived in the hall we come across a swarm of cheering people:? ongoing moon engagement party! Which occasion more? propitious for making beautiful video recordings and photographs? After dinner we stop in the lounge area of the? hotel where an Egyptian performs as a bar pianist who, to tell the truth, has a good repertoire as well as a beautiful voice. But does it tickle me? ? O my sun ?? I run to ask him. He knows the song, not only that, he invites me to sing it by suggesting the words in the exact Neapolitan pronunciation. Hurray! A singing performance of mine and dell? Egyptian: I start in Neapolitan, he follows me, I pick up the song in the Elvis Presley version? Its now or never? to finish great in a two-part "ensemble". Needless to say, the room is? crowded with customers dell? hotel, shop assistants in the store center and even waiters who came out of the restaurant! Couldn't we take a better farewell from? Egypt. By the way, Bianca wisely grabbed the camera and filmed the whole scene!