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How Doth the Little Crocodile...

"How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!"

The great poet and theologian (-ish), Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, penned those immortal lines some time in the early 1860s, long before the Aswan High Dam was built. Since that time, crocodiles have been absent from the lower Nile, so -- spoiler alert -- there will be none in this story.

So we're not going to Egypt for the crocodiles, but there is a reason.

In 2005, Amanda's parents were booked to go on a Nile cruise, but sadly her father's cancer returned and he died before the trip. Understandably, her mother didn't want to go on her own, and though she herself remained in good health for many years, and continued travelling the world with friends and family, Egypt was never again a possibility.

It was tacitly agreed in the family that none of us would go while Beryl was still alive, but she always said that after she was gone, she wanted at least one of us to make the trip that she never could.

And now that time has come.

We did some research into the various options, and quickly realised that the term "Nile Cruise" covered an enormous range of very different experiences. However, given that the river and the ancient sites pretty much determined the same broad itinerary for everyone, there didn't seem any great value in a tailor-made holiday over a small group tour. Wild Frontiers is one of our go-to companies for the latter, and they had pretty much exactly what we were looking for, with a maximum group size of 12 and a private small boat. While the Nile doesn't have the kind of monsters that ply the ocean circuits (more like floating cities than boats!), many of them still take 150-200 passengers and have a pretty cramped schedule.

[Note: when we last went cruising, around Svalbard in 2016, the biggest ships then afloat had a maximum capacity getting on for 7,000 passengers. That has now increased to 7,600. You can read about the Icon of the Seas here if you want to know more about what we are almost certainly never going to tell you about ourselves.]

So that's the Nile itself sorted, but we can hardly ignore the Pyramids and WF have a pre-tour Cairo add-on which we also book. We're told it's likely that at least some of our fellow guests will also take this option, in which case the per-person price will drop a bit, but we're happy enough to commit even if it's just us.

Initially, our flight out was scheduled for a Saturday morning and we had booked a Premier Inn at Heathrow for the night before. Then the flight got moved to the afternoon, but we decided to stick with the original plan and Amanda would do a nearby parkrun in the now-free morning.

So off we go...

Day Minus 1 ~ January 19 ~ Leaving Home

This doesn't warrant a standalone chapter: just a couple of quick pics.

Titania helps with the packing.

The delightful view from our room.

I must now apologise to the mathematically minded, as I am going to go straight to Day One without the logically necessary Day Zero. It's the bad example set by Dionysius Exiguus when he decided that the year before 1AD was 1BC; and after two millennia and more, I fear that normal folks ain't never gonna learn to count properly.

To be fair, the very concept of 'zero' as a number took a while to catch on, especially in the backward West. Appropriately enough for our story, the ancient Egyptians may have been the first to get it. Wikipedia tells us that, based on a papyrus written around 1770 BC, "Egyptologist Alan Gardiner suggested that the nfr hieroglyph was being used as a symbol for zero."

Regardless, we will now commence our tale proper: to Cairo!

Day 1 ~ January 20 ~ London to Cairo
Day 2 ~ January 21 ~ A Day in Cairo
Day 3 ~ January 22 ~ Cairo to Luxor
Day 4 ~ January 23 ~ Luxor
Day 5 ~ January 24 ~ Luxor
Day 6 ~ January 25 ~ Luxor and the Nile
Day 7 ~ January 26 ~ Nile
Day 8 ~ January 27 ~ Nile
Day 9 ~ January 28 ~ Nile
Day 10 ~ January 29 ~ Aswan
Day 11 ~ January 30 ~ Aswan
Day 12 ~ January 31 ~ Home again

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