Sailing on the Nile in a Felucca
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Sailing a Felucca on the river Nile
We had a packed agenda in Luxor and we couldn't afford the time for a full cruise on the Nile but our tour operator Select Egypt arranged an evening trip on a traditional Nile sail boat - a felucca.
The River Nile in Luxor
The River Nile is a key feature of the Luxor landscape and the docks are packed with large Nile cruisers lining up to take visitors up the Nile to Aswan or downstream towards Cairo. Most cruises look to be about 3-4 days and it seems a good way see a lot of sites while relaxing on the journey. However, even a short trip on Nile is worthwhile (if only to say you've done it!) and the view of the river at sunset makes an impressive picture as well.
A felucca is a traditional sailing boat. They're small but can easily and comfortably carry 5-10 people. We had arrange a boat just for us so we made our way down to the river front of the Iberotel Luxor Hotel that we were staying at and were greeted by two young sailors with their felucca - the Liza. They were friendly and the children immediately felt relaxed even though there was mixed feelings from the boys about boarding a felucca flying a Manchester United flag (being Arsenal fans themselves)! However our young crew professed themselves as completely independent (they had been given the flag but a tourist), pointing out that they also had a Barcelona flag too!
Our Felucca Cruise on the River Nile
Unfortunately our trip on the River Nile was missing one vital element - the wind! We pushed off from the dock and launched ourselves into the flowing River Nile. The view of the East bank showed the extent of the hotels along the river front as we drifted down stream. All the children had a go a steering the boat and it was a thoroughly relaxing time.
However our crew were desperately trying to catch some wind to pull us back upstream. However none was to be had and we say many other felucca's in the same position until the solution arrived. A large motor powered boat arrived, already pulling two feluccas and with obviously practiced skill our boat was roped in too! So we traveled up river in a great convey of feluccas, with new ones being added as we went. Finally we were cut free and after a further gentle drift back downstream again, with the beautiful sunset behind us we were picked up by a motor boat to take us back to the hotel.
Our young crew was very anxious to apologise for the lack of wind but I don't think you can blame them for the elements!
We had a really nice, relaxing time which was, after all, the point. We had no hesitation in providing the tip but promised to send them a Arsenal flag to sit along side the other teams!