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Friday, January 16, 2015

Meredith knitting.
Temple at Kom Ombo.

Today we begin our mini-field trip/vacation reward for hard work. We are heading to Aswan with the primary aim of visiting the Old and Middle Kingdom tombs at Qubbet el Hawa. It is a wonderful spot, and last summer we were simply too hot to make the trek up the hill. But now the weather is just perfect, and everyone is looking forward to it.
The beginning is a rather long ride in the van, unfortunately. The quick desert road is not open to foreigners at the moment, so we take the speed-bump-every-quarter-mile-route that turns the trip from Luxor to Aswan into a half day journey. Meredith passes the time knitting (I won’t say what, because you will all say, huh? – ok, it’s a “camel dickie”, for which poor unsuspecting camel I have no idea and will not ask). We break the slow progress to Aswan with a visit to the temple of Kom Ombo, where you see Meg, Gaultier, Marina, and Rania heading toward the entrance.

The temple is a double shrine to Sobek and Horus the Elder, with two temples merged into one and even two triads (i.e., major god, consort, and offspring). As usual at monuments you can find me pointing and talking, but because I can choose the photographs on the website, you will not often seen me as here). Luke, Ashley, Meredith, and the others listen patiently for a few minutes, and then the group is released to look for themselves and ask questions.

Meg, Gaultier, Marina, and Rania heading toward the entrance.
Luke, Ashley, Meredith, and the others listen as the professor talks. Ashley and Meredith.

Relief showing the god Sobek with a crocodile head.
Luke and Allie.

The god Sobek has a crocodile head, and this relief is a stunning example of the Egyptian representation. Luke and Allie are here for the first time and really enjoying it and asking many questions. Rania and Jill were here last summer, so they knew where they wanted to go to see something particular and later they joined Marina, Gaultier and Meredith. Before we departed Luke demonstrated his (relentless) enthusiasm for everything. Now on to Aswan.

Rania and Jill.
Mereidth, Gaultier, Marina, and Rania. Luke.

View of the Old Cateract Hotel.
View of Elephantine Island from the Old Cateract Hotel.

Our special overnight is at the perfect Old Cataract Hotel with its unparalleled view of Elephantine Island where the temples to Khnum and Satet are visible even from across the river. Jay sneaked a picture of Gaultier, Rania, Jill, Maggie, and Allie swimming in the indoor pool of the Spa. (I shudder to think how much Mut dust was left to the pool filters after we departed!)

Gaultier, Rania, Jill, Maggie, and Allie swimming in the indoor pool at the hotel.

The Philae Temple. Meanwhile, those of us who were new to the area (and myself) made a trip over to Philae Temple, the Isis sanctuary on an island south of Aswan proper. Now on another island (Agilkia), it is a simply beautiful spot, especially in this fine weather. Luke, Marina and Meg are looking at the fine Ptolemaic reliefs in the rear of the temple, while outside at a fine kiosk (uninscribed) Luke, Phil, and Meg pause for a photo. Phil is our shopper, so he headed over to the souvenir place after this, but no bargains to be had. We ended the day at Philae, and all got a good night’s rest.
Luke, Marina and Meg.

Luke, Phil, and Meg.

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