I am re-visiting my photograph collection to remind myself of great times in Egypt, as I am currently unable to visit due to the global pandemic. Egypt is crammed full of marvelous sights and ancient ruins, as well as wonderful modern (and some historic) hotels. Many of these have featured in my series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt. These are action-adventure stories set in the present-day but with an ancient Egyptian mystery at their heart.
Today’s post looks back on some of my favourite places, where I set many of the key scenes in book 3, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.
The first three books in my series stand as a trilogy. In each, the action picks up where it left off in the previous story. When the book starts, Merry is still staying as a tourist at the Jolie Ville Hotel, on King’s Island, just outside Luxor. But she soon embarks on a Nile cruise on the wonderful SS Misr. This original Nile steamship was once owned by King Farouk. It is a real taste of what luxury Nile travel must have been like in its heyday. Once on board, Merry is surprised to be joined by a blast from new boyfriend Adam’s past, who appears to be the victim of a series of unfortunate mishaps, and sets Merry off on a whole new adventure.
The traditional Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan makes its first stop at the impressive Temple of Horus at Edfu. This dates from Ptolemaic times and is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Its massive entrance pylon in still intact and the hypostyle hall still has its roof, blackened by soot from cooking posts of the people who lived there when it was still choked with sand. Needless to say, Merry’s visit is not without incident!
Next on the Nile cruise itinerary, is the twin temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated jointly to Sobek, the crocodile god, and also to Horus-the-elder. Also Ptolemaic, the temple dates from some 300 years BC. Merry admires the wall carvings showing medical instruments used in ancient times, some still familiar-looking today. There’s also a display of mummified crocodiles. When Merry was there, they were on display in a small hut, but have recently been moved to a larger air-conditioned museum on site.
A trip to see the Unfinished Obelisk still lying attached to the bedrock in the ancient granite quarry in Aswan is also included in the Nile cruise itinerary. This place is full of atmosphere. It’s easy to imagine the workmen have simply slipped away for their lunch break, and will return any minute.
While moored in Aswan, Merry visits Elephantine Island set in the middle of the Nile opposite the world-famous Old Cataract Hotel. Here, she gets caught up in a thrilling discovery by a team of archaeologists exploring the temple of Satet, dated from the 18th Dynasty reigns of Hatshepsut and her nephew/stepson Thutmosis III. This is one of the key scenes in the book and helps Merry to unravel the latest mystery.
Elephantine Island was known as Abu (meaning elephant) by the ancient Egyptians. It’s not clear whether it got its name from the boulders strewn in the Nile, which look like elephants bathing, or whether it was once a trading post for ivory.
Returning in a hurry to Luxor, Merry finds herself once more drawn to the Hathor Chapel on the lower terrace of the beautiful mortuary temple of Hatshepsut on the West Bank. Here her latest adventure concludes, but not without some heart-stopping moments.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my photographs as a way of visiting Egypt while it is advised against traveling there. Maybe you’ll consider reading Merry’s adventures, all available on Amazon. If so, I suggest you start with book 1 in the series, Carter’s Conundrums.
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.