Sunday, January 23, 2011

Travel - a Nile cruise

A don's life (Mary Beard)

A look at both the pros and the cons of a Nile cruise.

We had picked on a boat called the Philae (owned by the Oberoi hotel chain), partly because it looked romantic and partly because every room has a balcony onto the river (why go on a Nile cruise if you cant gawp at the river whenever you to?). We had also splashed out on a bigger room, which turned out to be well worth it, as there was bags of space to swing a cat or two.

The views were stupendous (I thought that I was immune to that kind of thing... but I kept burbling all the time about how stunningly beautiful it all was) and the food a treat (Oberoi is an Indian chain and the curries were to die for . . . and the chef was so proud of his kitchen that he let you wander round it). As for cultural experiences, the high point was not a great monument of Egyptian antiquity, but going through the Nile lock at Essna where, in an engaging variant of squeezy merchants at traffic lights, a host of little rowing boats crowded around us throwing up all sorts of merchandise for inspection and possible purchase.

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