A WINDOW INTO THE PAST: THE LEGEND OLD CATARACT HOTEL IN ASWAN
We all have a special place in our hearts, a place where we are happy every time we imagine we are there.
In Aswan it was love at first sight!
I reached Aswan at the end of my Nile cruise… Thousand-year-old temples and necropolises paraded before my eyes, always incredulous, testifying to the mental refinement of the Ancient Egyptian rulers, who dedicated their existence to reign in harmony with their people, eager to live up to an extraordinary afterlife, always ready to welcome them.
I would never have imagined experiencing such an intense emotion, even if completely different from the previous ones that Egypt offered me since I started the journey.
The surprise came when visiting the prestigious Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan hotel, which literally left me speechless! After crossing the manicured gardens, enriched by splendid water features, I found myself sipping a cold ruby red karkadè, served in a simple flute. My gaze was captured by a decor that goes beyond luxury… an Arab-French style full of Moorish arches, purple chandeliers, hand-carved furniture, crystals, flowers and objects that embodied the story of many guests who shared few moments of their lives here.
I was taken to suite number 1201, a very special one! My heart leapt when I read the name imprinted in gold lettering on the dark wood of the door: Agatha Christie!
Suddenly I took a step back in time and found myself in the 1930s, when the famous English writer chose to live in the Old Cataract hotel while writing one of her best-known novels Death on the Nile, from which the famous movie was made.
The parquet creaked under my feet as I approached the desk located in a connecting room between the sumptuous living room, enriched by two huge golden chandeliers and fabrics in different shades of blue, and the master bedroom, furnished with a four-poster bed, honey-colored sofas and Persian carpets.
I sat down at “her desk” and, for a moment, I imagined the emotions that the writer felt every time she added a sentence to her novel, cheered by the sight of the sun as it gave the last rays of the day to the pink granite rocks of Aswan.
Almost hypnotized, I stopped time! There are places where you meet magic, where emotions nourish happiness, moments that I will remember forever. Turning my eyes towards the Nile, I could see the same panorama that Agatha Christie contemplated hundreds of times as she found the inspiration to write the plot of the famous thriller.
I was not surprised that other famous people stayed at this hotel, including King Farouk, the Shah of Persia, Lady Diana and Margaret Thatcher. Suite 1101, named after Sir Winston Churchill, who came to Aswan with recurrence! From the large terrace of his apartment, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Elephantine Island, full of centuries-old vestiges, while the feluccas, with their enormous white sails, slowly move between the islets dotted with lush palm trees and granite rocks reflecting in the river. The Nile laps the desert, which takes its vitality from the strength of its waters.
Agatha Christie said: “An experience that you really enjoyed should never be repeated!”
I do not entirely agree! That experience can be a starting point! Every time I come to Egypt, I see different facets that always represent a new beginning and the depth of the emotions I perceive derives from the union between the genius of the Ancient Egyptian people, who were able to make their history immortal, and the generosity of the Egyptian people who make great this Country.
Foto: Alessandra Fiorillo