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Hail Horus! Ancient Egyptian temples Edfu & Kom Ombo, Nile felucca boat tour, Luxor hot air balloon ride.

horus statue egypt bird god statues

Hail Horus, falcon-headed son of Osiris and Isis!

My head still spins when I recall all the epic activities we did in Egypt, thanks to Travel Talk Tours. Today, we’ll explore the temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo — home to bird gods and mummified crocodiles.

At the end, I’ll announce my next destination… it’s somewhere French-speaking, and you can follow along on my Instagram @lacarmina

(Outfit details: Heart bag by Lola Ramona, long black skirt Charli Cohen, and Ghoul Gang top from Unique Vintage. I’m hiding from Ra (the sun god) with my Gottex Belladonna hat from UK Swimwear.)

hot air balloon ride egypt

When I said we did a lot of wild experiences in Egypt, I wasn’t exaggerating. We’ll go up, up and away in a hot air balloon over Luxor and the River Nile…

felucca tour nile river egypt

… and sail on the Nile in a felucca, or Egyptian traditional wood boat.

sailing on nile cruise tour

Let’s begin on the River Nile, which flows north through Egypt. I’m wearing a Cryptic Apparel cropped sweatshirt with a winged Egyptian goddess print: perfect for the occasion.

I was tempted to Photoshop out the foot next to Yukiro, but decided to leave it in…

egyptian sailor nile boat ride

… as it was this foot that was doing the hard work, in steering the felucca! This Egyptian sailor was a master of multi-tasking: he expertly worked the canvas sail and tiller (long stick that turns the rudder) against the wind, while puffing on a cigarette.

sailing river nile egypt travel talk tours

I’m glad we got to experience this ancient form of sailing, which is a gentle ride over the Nile’s waters. Feluccas are still used today by locals, and you’ll see their white sails gliding peacefully over the river.

But I want to be a pirate… Instead of a puffy shirt, I wore a Cryptic Apparel top and skirt by Charli Cohen.

late ancient egypt architecture

Onward to the temples. Our Travel Talk Tours group went by bus to Kom Ombo temple in Aswan, and our guide taught us about the history beneath these columns.

The Greco-Roman influences indicate that this was built in Ptolemaic times (the last era of ancient Egyptian civilization) — much like Philae temple, which we also saw.

egypt hieroglyphs aswan komombo

In these times, Egyptian medicine was the most advanced in the world. Our guide pointed out some intriguing medical carvings that depict surgical instruments, and two goddesses perched on birthing chairs.

crowning pharoah egypt coronation kom ombo temple

Kom Ombo temple’s layout stands out for being perfectly symmetrical. This design includes two matching entrances, hypostyle halls and chambers.

The eastern part is dedicated to the crocodile-headed god of the Nile. The western axis is the domain of Horus, the bird-headed deity.

 The Temple of kom ombo

I’m striking a dramatic pose in front of one of the most striking reliefs in Kom Ombo. The carvings show one of the later Ptolemies being crowned as pharoah by Sobek and goddesses.

ancient egypt ankh arms

The rounded figures also reveal that this is a late-period temple (compare this to the stiff poses and fabrics of Abu Simbel). Note how even the ankhs have arms!

temple kom ombo horus sobek

Traveling with a tour let us easily see many sites all over Egypt, and learn fascinating aspects about each place. At Kom Ombo, our guide pointed out an ancient graffito, and reliefs that were later defaced by Coptic Christians.

lion goddess sekhmet egypt

Check out the curves on Sekhmet, the fierce lion-headed goddess. According to the tales, she’s the greatest warrior as well as as goddess of healing, and her breath formed the desert. (Sekhmet is a solar deity, hence the circle over her head).

kom ombo pharoah sobek coronation relief

The bas-reliefs at the Temple of Kom Ombo are remarkably well preserved.

kom ombo mummified crocodile museum

Don’t miss out on the Crocodile Museum next door (or as the sign said, “Crocodile Mus.”) We weren’t allowed to take photos, so you’ll have to imagine a giant glass case with dozens of mummified crocodiles!

The cold-blooded creatures are huge and black-skinned, with rows of sharp teeth — very Gothic death metal. The “mus” also features crocodile art that honors Sobek.

egypt giant ankh carvings

As vampires say, “drink from me and live forever”… or as the Egyptian carvings reveal, “eat the ankh and enter into eternal life!”

egyptian poses tourists travelers

By now, Yukiro and I are well-versed in the art of striking Egyptian poses.

edfu temple entrance pylon

Next, Travel Talk Tours drove our group to Edfu Temple, which also dates back to the Hellenistic period in Egypt.

Edfu’s magnificent pylon (decorative entrance) was one of the largest in Egypt. The gigantic carvings show ruler Ptolemy VIII vanquishing his enemies, while Horus the Elder looks on.

tour temple edfu egypt interior

Edfu Temple is dedicated to Horus, son of Osiris, the god of the underworld. Inside, this spooky staircase looks like a pathway to the afterlife.

edfu egyptian temple carvings aswan

Our guide took us into the inner chambers, and showed us the various forms of Egyptian writing (demotic, hieratic, hieroglyphic). We also saw an unusual carving of Isis breastfeeding young Horus.

edfu temple inside shrine boat

We peered into the Sanctuary of Horus, which houses a ceremonial barge and altar used in rituals.

egyptian horned god satan baphomet

Quite a few horned ones graced these walls.

Banebdjedet, the ram-headed god, became known as the “Baphomet of Mendes,” as he was worshiped in the ancient city of Mendes. The Satanic Baphomet figure was based on his horned appearance.

horus statue edfu temple

Yukiro blends in with the bird-god. We’re enthralled by the rich imagination of the Egyptians, who dreamed up an animal-headed pantheon.

courtyard temple edfu egypt

Edfu’s builders had a knack for drama. Imagine wandering through these tall outdoor passages, in ancient times.

egyptian temple tour aswan

So far, I’ve shown you the wonders of ancient Egypt. However, we also got to see day-to-day life in the cities today.

egypt women in burkas

While on the bus, we passed by this gathering of locals in the streets.

aswan local market egypt

We took a gander at Aswan market, where locals go to buy daily necessities.

egyptian man motorcycle

This Egyptian man’s tricked out motorbike has Mad Max vibes.

spice market aswan egypt

Many of the stores sold spices. We eyed the mounds of coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and more.

cleopatra coffee, egyptian aswan coffeeshop

Wouldn’t you like to stop by for a cup of Cleopatra Coffee?

cat statue souvenirs egypt

Most of the markets are geared to tourists, and the vendors sell “made in China” trinkets. I avoided these shops, and instead, picked up a local, handcrafted robe and sheath dress made from Egyptian cotton.

(I wrote other insider, hidden tips for Cairo on Touring Bird, the new Google Area 120 site — including a Fair Trade Egypt boutique.)

view aswan city night

View of Aswan at night, from our hotel room. We weren’t able to spend much time here, as there was yet another early wake-up call…

aswan balloon flight egypt

We left around 3:30am, and took a van and boat to this field. The early start was worth it… for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor!

egypt hot air balloon rides

I had never flown in a hot air balloon before, and was excited that Travel Talk offered this as an optional excursion in Egypt.

Passengers can only bring a small bag and iPhone (no DSLR cameras). The basket is divided into several standing areas, each holding about three people. At take off and landing, you must brace yourself and hold on to the ropes — but otherwise, it’s a smooth ride.

luxor hot air balloon ride safe

Yukiro found it ironic that Pokemon’s Team Rocket claimed to be “blasting off at the speed of light” in their hot air balloons… when in fact, the process of inflating the envelope and getting off the ground took quite a while!

view egypt desert from hot air balloon

The pilot adjusted the burner flame and repeated a single joke over and over, as we slowly flew higher into the sky. Below, we could see the ruins of temples, and stretches of desert that reminded me of an alien planet.

hot air balloon luxor safety

I’m happy that I finally got to experience riding a hot air balloon, and in Egypt of all places. Everyone relaxed and took in the 360 aerial views of Luxor.

ride hot air balloon egypt

The winds were in our favor that day, and we glided over the Nile.

Touching down was a bit bumpy, but we were in safe hands and a van was right there to drive us back.

horus bird temple egypt edfu

A final hail to Horus, also known as “he who is above.”

And now, “Team Rocket’s blasting off again…”  I’m happy to be returning to Quebec City and Montreal this week! If you have any travel tips for French Canada, please let me know — and you can follow along the journey on my Instagram @lacarmina

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2 Comments

  1. Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    It feels so amazing to read about this after we experienced it like 5-6month ago. It is quit unreal that we went- and when we were there it was almost too much to take in at once so really thankful for your posts <3

    • Posted July 9, 2019 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      Yeah… it was information and sensory overload, so much in a short time. I’m having fun revisiting what we did!

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