Oct 23rd 2015  

 Travel diaries

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series FWC Aswan Training 2015

Wake up…”Where am I? Oh still in paradise”.  The water is so still that it looks like oil.  Warm-up and patterns.

After breakfast we moor up next to Gebel-el-Silsila.  Two cultures for the price of one.  This place has both temples and the quarries which were used to provide the stones for other temples .

DSC_0803Encounter more hierograffitti from the 19th Century most of it Greek.  The temples and shrines have been carved straight out of the mountain, not assembled from quarried stones.

A nice walk in the increasing heat follows, and some drop out to return to the boat rather than risk heatstroke (gets in the way of training).  Am reminded of Asterix and Cleopatra – Edifis was here.  The marks of the stonemasons and their overseers are everywhere.  The skills they DSC_0816used for splitting and extracting rock in bespoke blocks are still in use today (where dynamite is not the default option).  Essentially, the block is marked out, cut vertically, and then wooden rods are inserted at the base.  Water is poured into the wooden rods until they swell and eventually the wood splits the rock.

There were plenty of marks left behind by the stonemasons, grooves where they sharpened their tools and little doodle-like carvings (maybe a slow day at the quarry?).

Head back to the boat whilst we can still walk in the heat, straight up the gangplank and straight into a cold shower.

DSC_0780It seems that there is no more culture for today so boat moves to another island so we can swim in the Nile.  The brave-hardy jump from the top of the boat, three stories up.  It is baking hot and siesta time,  But if you don’t want to sleep you have to find something else to do.  So lifesavers in hand a few of us headed up the riverbank on foot, nodding acquaintance with the donkeys and cattle, then floated back on the current.  Initially there was very little current, but as we came nearer to the dahabeya (our boat) moored on a bend the water moved faster and faster.  We managed to reach the rudder and climb aboard just before a large Nile cruiser sent its wash over.   I think it’s time to start a bucket list otherwise I won’t have much to put on it – order groceries by internet perhaps?

So, up to top deck for training as night falls.  The gleaming moonlight heightens the DSC_0784whiteness of the deck and makes us an easy target for insects.  Dinner delicious as usual.  Just about to head to bed when a birthday cake and Nubian band turn up.  So a bit more food and now off to bed!