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  • Day7

    Abu Simbel & Philae

    January 15, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    5am call today for Abu Simbel, almost all of us signed up for this option, and piled onto a minibus to make the 3hr drive south. When we arrived, there was a lot of buses there making this site the busiest so far.

    Everyone stopped for the token photos of the temple before a brief talk and free time. The site itself was amazing, as was the hearing the efforts of the relocation itself to save and preserve it when they made Lake Nasser. To the right of the temple, Ramses II had a temple built for his wife, Queen Nefetari. You can visit inside both temples where the walls are covered with hieroglyphics.

    I recommend going to the temple for Nefetari first to avoid the crowds. When you come back to the main temple, you'll be able to get photos with smaller crowds if any.

    Back in town, we joined the rest of our group for yummy and cheap falafel sandwiches before rushing off to Philae, where a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis was relocated to an island. We'd originally wanted to visit it during the sound and light show at night, but the logistics of getting there and the possibility of cancellation if there were low numbers deterred us. We could've booked the package through our tour leader, but we opted not to.

    It was some negotiations with the taxi driver and boatman, but we seemed to do alright. The taxi driver took us to and from to the temple for 150LE (including the wait), while the boat was 200LE. Certainly if you had a bigger group, the cost is less per person. But still, it was only a little more than our other friends had previously gotten the day before. Funny thing, when we bought our tickets, they said they didn't have enough change, and we asked a local, and he said he had no change even though you could clearly see it. We were fresh out of small bills after paying for admission and resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd likely have to give the taxi driver 200LE instead. But he was good and got us there before ticket sales closed, so it was all fine and dandy.

    Back to Philae, the temple is also beautiful, looking out from the island. The ruins pose fantastic photo opportunities all around, and you could easily spend an hour or so just wandering and having a sit down. Definitely worth going to, and I'm glad we did end up getting to see it.

    For dinner, it was time to cross off another Egyptian dish off our list, "fiteer" or Egyptian pizza. It's folder over like a calzone, but still perfectly round, and the crust is flaky, almost like a croissant. I'd read about Pizza Biti near the train station and we set off there. Ordering take out, a medium cost 100LE and it was a near perfect portion, and we enjoyed it by the pool of the hotel. A fun inexpensive dinner with a view, and sort of a sound and light show. The Movenpick building across was lit up and changed colors, while a passing boat pumped out music.
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