The sights and sounds of Aswan.
Tuesday 8 March 2011 - Wednesday 9 March 2011
The long overnight train trip was finally over. I managed to get a bit of sleep late in the morning. It is interesting wandering around train stations at 3:00am getting some exercise and fresh air.
Tuesday 8 March - We got to the hotel at about lunch time and had a free afternoon to catch up on some sleep, get supplies, change money and other such domestic matters.
We had dinner at a Nubian village on the west bank of the Nile. The Nubians are a different people and are African rather than Arabs and speak their own unique language as well as Arabic. The guide took us to one of the houses in the village for discussion on what it means being a Nubian, culture, history and so on. Dinner was very nice. The boat then took us back to Aswan for an early night.
A felucca on the river.
Our boatman on the trip to the Nubian village.
Typical Nile scenery.
Part of the Nubian village.
Wednesday 9 March - A very early start for the trip to Abu Simbel, and by early I mean 3:00 am early. Not even the sparrows are up at that time. We had to travel in a convoy for about three hours to get to there. It was a small convoy by normal standards, only a dozen coaches and vans. It is a great site and is a monument to what can be done to rescue a country's history and heritage from "progress".
The scenery on the way there is sand, rocks and electricity pylons, broken by the occasional village and development.
We went through both the Great Temple, built by Ramesses II (aka Ramasses the Great) in about 1265BC and the Small Temple and was dedicated to Nefertari, the consort of Ramesses II. Both have lots of internal decoration and are very photogenic.
The Great Temple.
Statues of Ramesses II.
Another two statues of Ramesses II.
A panoramic view of the Great Temple.
A panoramic view of the Small Temple at Abu Simbel.
From there we drove the three hours back to Aswan and stopped at the Philae temple. This are on an island between the Aswan Low Dam (built 1902) and the High Dam (completed 1970). This was moved from its original site due to the rising water of the two Aswan dams. The temple was being flooded permanently and so UNESCO moved them to another island close by in the Nile. These ruins date from the time of the Ptolemaic times, being about 200BC.
We had a good guide who used the group as players in a reinactment of the events that are celebrated by the temple. We also acquired a hanger on in the form of a Brazilian mute who decided to join us on the ferry across to the island and in our tour of the island.
Details of the carvings at Philae Temple.
The Philae Temple, Aswan.
The afternoon was free to catch up on some sleep with dinner being at a nice place on the river.
Hotel review: The Orchidea St George was a basic budget hotel. It had dodgy plumbing that we were not able to get fixed, hot water that lasted approximately 30 seconds, dust everywhere, but good food.