Okay, Fine, Just One Last Temple Then

The Horus temple at Edfu is very much worth the effort I think but oh my fucking gosh, what an effort it was! Trains in Egypt are ultimately a great way to get around but they’re also generally late and if you don’t speak Arabic it’s impossible to know which train is stood at the platform as the only information is given over the tannoy. Train travel isn’t very foreigner friendly. They won’t sell you a ticket at the desk to go to Edfu, you have to buy it on the train, and that’s if they let you on the bloody train in the first place.

These are the trains they’re trying to save us from. Okay so any journey over half an hour and you feel like you’ve been kicked in the arse but it does eventually get you where you need to go.

So off we fucked to platform 2 where a train to Aswan was just sat there but two blokes told us we couldn’t take it. “That’s Egyptian train. Only for Egyptians,” they told us and to be fair, this isn’t completely unbelievable, there are loads of restrictions on foreigners throughout the country. We’re not allowed to take intercity minibuses, there are roads we’re not permitted to travel on, until 2019 we weren’t even allowed on the cheaper trains between Cairo and Aswan, instead we were forced to take the ridiculously priced private sleeper train.

You’ll not be short of a tok tok in Edfu unless you want one driven by a grown up.

They said it was too slow anyway but if we’re going to be hanging around on a platform for an hour or more waiting for an AC train that’s probably going to be comically late I’d rather just get on a slow train and get on with my journey. Anyway. Eventually an AC train did show up, we boarded and when the conductor showed up he promptly overcharged us and plunged Tarrant into a bad mood for the rest of the day. The only reason they want you on the AC trains is the fact they have security on board.

Little bit of Edfu.

Edfu itself was alright though, as we were getting off the train a lovely bloke steered us the correct way out of the station and not even for baksheesh, he was just on his way somewhere, and told us it should cost us around LE30 for a tok tok to the temple so when they asked for LE40 we agreed. I’m not going to argue with a man over forty British pence.

The Temple of Horus in Edfu.

As soon as we entered the grounds we were steered to the gauntlet of souvenir sellers by the tourist police so thanks for that, guys. We no thank youd our way to the ticket office, parted with the pounds and in we went to gawp at what is apparently one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. It was started by Ptolemy II in 237BC but wasn’t completed until Ptolemy XII in 57BC so it’s a relative baby, and you know you’ve been in Egypt a while when you start referring to 2000 year old temples as babies.

This relief on the pylon as you enter is Ptolemy XII holding his enemy by the hair and he’s about to beat seven fucks out of him whilst Horus, the falcon headed god, looks on.
You can’t help but notice that most, but not all, of the images of gods and pharaohs have been chiselled away. Early Christians were scared of these pagan depictions and wanted to completely destroy them but instead were convinced to merely “disable” them by attacking their faces, arms and legs so they couldn’t harm anyone. They couldn’t understand the hieroglyphics so they left those alone.
The court of offerings.
Statue of Horus as a falcon.
The sanctuary of Horus. The polished granite shrine would have contained a gold statue of the god. The wooden boat is what would have been used to carry the statue during processions. This is a replica, the French have the original in the Louvre which makes a change from the British sitting on it.
One of the kings being coronated with the double crown of Egypt by two gods; Nekhbet and Wadjet. No idea which king, his cartouche is up there but my ancient Egyptian is a bit rusty.
Okay so, apparently this is one of the depictions of the battle between Horus and Seth. Seth is depicted as a hippo throughout to make him appear less threatening. Were hippos, like, smaller 2000 years ago? Because I’m quietly confident that even a small hippo is capable of inflicting some pretty devastating wounds. Anyway, Horus and Seth don’t get on very well because the latter killed the former’s dad. I Googled the story and holy fuck you guys! Egyptian gods were fucked up!

You don’t realise how many tok toks are driven by literal children, like 10 years old, until you’re trying to flag one down. Plenty of the fuckers tore past us but I’m just not cool getting into transport with someone barely out of nappies at the helm. Catching the train was about a hundred times easier too and all thanks to the fact the next AC train wasn’t due for hours. I asked about the next train at the ticket office, we were told to get on the train sat on platform 2 right now, we ignored all the “this is Egyptian train!” protests from the platform and we boarded the fuck out of that train. No one cared. The conductor wasn’t horrified to see foreigners on his train. The passengers weren’t in the least bit alarmed. I don’t think I’m ready to risk a minibus across the desert along the forbidden roads but catching trains? I’ll do what I want, mate.

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Edfu, Aswan Governorate, Egypt

إدفو ، محافظة أسوان ، مصر

Stayed at: Adam & Eve House, Luxor

Adam & Eve House. This is our living room. Our bedroom is just as lovely and we can choose between AC and a very effective ceiling fan. There’s even a mozzie net. We’ve got a fridge and a kitchen, not that we’ll be doing any cooking. Bathroom is good with hot water and we can chill on our own balcony or up on the rooftop terrace. Yousef and his family are so lovely and he’s helped us with loads of stuff. Probably our favourite place we’ve stayed in Egypt so far.

Useful shit to know…

  • The Edfu temple costs LE200 each.
  • The train from Luxor to Edfu cost LE105 each which pissed us off a bit. It only cost LE70 from Aswan to Luxor in AC1 and the maths on the ticket didn’t add up.
  • Coming back on the “Egyptian only” train cost LE25 each and the conductor wasn’t at all horrified to see foreigners on his train.
  • Basically the only reason we’re not meant to take the slow trains is the fact there are no police or security on those trains.
  • We were told by a guy in Luxor that we could probably get a tok tok to take us from the station to the temple, wait an hour and return for LE100 but I didn’t want to feel rushed. A guy on the train told us it should be LE30 one way in a tok tok.
  • We were quoted LE40 and we didn’t argue.
  • It didn’t take long to get a tok tok back to the station, the issue was trying to find one that wasn’t driven by a literal child.

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