Today the SS Misr set sail at 4.00am to Qena. A lie in today, breakfast at 8.00 am. Just before arriving at Qena we passed under a bridge which was too low, so the sunshades and funnel were lowered. The usual ship’s hand was on deck to check the height of the bridge. I had to jump to touch the underside of the road bridge.
Shortly afterwards we docked at Qena and boarded our coaches, along with the German contingent who were still in tow. We all wondered where the coaches went at night time, the guides always brought on some food for the drivers. I think some passengers were mystified as to why we had to remove all our possessions. Anwar joked that the coaches went off to Somalia for the night.
The short bus trip had us at
The Temple at Dendera was fabulous with excellent engravings. A not-to-be missed is the zodiac on the ceiling of a chapel in the Temple of Hathor. This was originally taken to France for examination. The Egyptian Government asked for it back. Several years later it arrived and was placed back in its original location. Later is was discovered to be a plaster of Paris copy, the original stolen (?) one by the French is in the Louvre.
Back to the boat for lunch, which set sail for Luxor where we were to spend the next couple of nights. Just before tea we had a tour of SS Misr. This took us in to the galley, which had several separate rooms various different preparation, such as meat & pastry. The galley looked very clean and very stainless steel. They showed us the bottled water they used.
We then went, much to R’s delight, to the engine room to see the two steam engines which provided the propulsion for the boat. The SS Misr was launched on 28th May 1918. She was built by Lytham Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Preston, Lancashire. The boat was owned at one stage by King Farouk when she was converted into a luxury yacht. She has been renovated, but still uses steam engines for propulsion. There are two engines, each with two cylinders, one high pressure and the other low pressure. The boiler is a modern diesel fired boiler that can generate 4.2 tons of steam an hour at 10 bar. She now carries tourists up and down the Nile from Cairo right through to Aswan, and destinations in between.
There was a diagram of the original boat before it has three floors added in the restoration, extended in height and width. I can understand how to add the height, but how do you make the boat longer and wider, surely there can’t be much which is original? Of the three floors added, I expect one is considered to be the deck at the top, or maybe it’s the crew quarters below the main floor.
I now know what the loud noise is outside our cabin. There is a powerful fan which sucks in cool air to be blown into another plant room which has generators and other equipment. Unfortunately, our cabin on the lower deck, is on the same side as the fan and nearest to it, so it is affected the most by the throbbing noise. People on the other side, further forward and higher up would not hear it at all. Note for when I take the Aswan to Cairo cruise, don’t book cabin 201.
Before Dinner we had another George Hart lecture, this time on the “Valley of the Kings”, where we would be visiting in the morning.