Our tour group consisted of 4 young and adventurous girls from Chicago, us, 2 Australians, 5 Canadians and 4 Brits.
When we first saw Matt, we were disappointed. We were expecting an Egyptian expert but could hear right away that he was British. Then he slanted his body, put his hand on his hip and in a high pitched voice said, "If anybody tells you I'm gay. I'm not. I have a girlfriend." I liked him right away and in the course of the tour found that he was the best (of 3 tours that we've taken) tour leader we've ever had. He was a different sort of leader with each person on the tour fulfilling everybody's need. His priorities were everybody's health and safety, respect for the Egyptian environment and its people, and FUN! (Besides, who can resist that British accent?)
When the occasion demanded or allowed, he was serious, informative, hilarious, outrageous, wise, strict, crazy, tireless, kind, sweet or funny. At certain sites, an Egyptian expert was hired to teach us about the location and its history.
When we got to Edfu, Matt insisted that we get up at the crack of dawn to be FIRST in line to see the Temple of Horus. "Trust me," he said. "You'll want to be there before the crowds." He gave us all a highlighted diagram and told us what to look at first. "Once you've seen those things, you can see the rest at your leisure," he assured us.
The Temple of Horus is the most completely preserved Egyptian temple. It was started by Ptolemy III in 237 BC on the site of an earlier and smaller New Kingdom structure. The sandstone temple was completed almost 200 years later in 57 BC by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysus, Cleopatra VII's father.
The impressive entrance to the temple is through a massive 117 foot high pylon gateway guarded by two huge granite falcons and decorated with colossal reliefs of Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysus, Horus and Hathor.
This is the interior of the temple grounds.
Many of the beautiful reliefs were defaced. Matt explained that the reachable reliefs were chiseled out by ancient Christians who camped in the temples while hiding from Romans who were persecuting them.
Lunch was on the boat as we cruised up the Nile toward Kom Ombo and the Temple of Sobek (crocodile god) and Haroeris. This temple is dated from Ptolemaic times (300 - 30BC).
Cleopatra's Bath! I wonder if she filled it with milk. I don't know which Cleopatra this would be.
You can see reliefs of Sobek and Horus here.
Our daughter, Tiffany mentioned how fancy cruise ships have their towels folded into different shapes. We were surprised to see our blankets and towels folded into the shape of a crocodile.
Remember what I said about Matt being outrageous and fun? The evening was designated Egyptian Night and we were all to dress in (tourist type) Egyptian clothing. Matt's dress was not exactly Egyptian but we ALL loved it!
What a day that was!