Temple Fatigue vs. Awesome Guide in Egypt

November 2, 2007 by

Middle East & Africa, Places to Go, Travel Advice & Inspiration

Temple fatigue – it happens in Egypt, it happens in Asia and it happens in Europe, only there it’s called church fatigue. Basically, there are only so many ancient/old sites you can see before they all look the same. On my recent trip to Egypt this phenomenon threatened to take over the vacation with no end in site. With an ancient civilization of over 4,000 years, you are bound to run into a little temple fatigue along the way. You know it’s struck when you are looking at an incredible piece of artwork carved thousands of years ago and all you can think is “yeah, seen it before at so and so temple!”. Traveling in Egypt, this is as big a risk as contracting hepatitis and tetanus!

Whenever you visit any place in the world where the main attraction is a certain period in history you risk “something really old but no different to the place we just saw” fatigue. In these cases, the guide showing you the sites makes all the difference. Luckily on my recent visit to Nile River Cruise through Upper Egypt (that’s Luxor and Aswan which appear lower than Cairo on the map just to confuse you…) I was lucky enough to have the most amazing guide to show me the sites. Having already seen Edfu Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut Temple, you get the point right, it was time to see Philae Temple in Aswan. Our lovely guide Samir, to be forever known as Sami, is a native of Aswan and not only knows, but loves this place from deep within his heart.

Sami does his thing at Karnak

Aided by the stunning Nile River setting, Philae Temple is one of the most picturesque sites in Upper Egypt to begin with, but with Sami as our guide it was also really interesting, despite the similarities to the countless other ancient places we had already seen. He found the most interesting stories which were unique to Philae, as well as tying it in to the overall history we had learned throughout the rest of the trip. Later on we visited the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener Island and spent over an hour just sitting with Sami chatting about life in Egypt and Sydney and the general goings on in the world. After the cruise was over we spent a few extra days in Aswan, and mentioned to Sami that we wanted to watch an English soccer match but our hotel did not have the channel. Sami found another hotel that had it and arranged for them to open their bar early just for us to go and watch the match. Where else in the world do you get treated so well?

Sami was with us for the whole week and I got to know him well during this time. Many hours were spent talking about love, life, religion and soccer (the international language!). I discovered things I would never have expected to on a trip to Egypt, including alot about myself. Sami has taught me real tolerance for those with differing beliefs and showed me a different perspective and approach to life. All this from a guy 2 years younger than me who has never left the country he was born in, I love it when people surprise me for the better.

Sami is now a friend for life and I hope to see him in Sydney soon so I can share my hometown with him the way he shared his with me. He is a great reminder of why I love to travel as much as I can, and the perfect example of how one person can change your world for the better.

Kerrie O’Mahony

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s tours and things to do in Upper Egypt and throughout Egypt. Also have a look at traveler photos of Egypt over on the Viator Flickr site.

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