Egypt
Aswan

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62 travelers at this place

  • Day6

    Philae, Aswan, Egypt

    May 13, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 38 °C

    Today, we were collected at 9am from the hotel by our guide for the next 4 days, Hany. Hany took us to the Aswan High Dam, a very important site, built in 1960s, above the low dam built in 1902. It created Lake Nasser, the source of fresh water for Egypt, and is 500km long.

    Next, we went to a marina,to catch a little ferry to the island of Philae. The was the site of another temple relocated entirely to higher ground due to the dam. It was partially under water for many years, but they built a coffee dam around it, before carving it up and raising it to a small island where it now sits.

    The Temple of Isis is interesting because there is much Greek influence here, by the columns, and some of the glyphs. The early Christians defaced much of the carvings,as you can see in some of the photos. The cartouche spells out the name of Queen Cleopatra.

    Hany then took us to our boat, the MS Amwaj where we checked in to our room. We decided, because the temperature had hit 40 degrees, that we would forego a planned trip to a Nubian Village,and relax by the swimming pool, which was lovely. We had a peaceful afternoon, catching up on some much needed sleep. This evening,we had a buffet dinner and a few drinks, before a Nubian dance show. There was lots of drumming, and dancing by males. We have noticed that there are no women working on this boat that we have seen yet, which is interesting...

    The ship departs Aswan in the early hours, and we are meeting our guide Hany at 6am for a tour to a temple, then back for breakfast. We feel fortunate, in that we have Hany to ourselves. There is a big group of 40 or more people (Americans and Brits), and we are glad not to be with them. We did meet a young lady who was so excited to hear our accent - she was in one of the big groups with all older Americans, so she was very happy to talk to us!
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  • Day5

    Abu Simbel

    May 12, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 30 °C

    Today we had one thing planned - the trip to Abu Simbel. We were collected by our driver, Ramon, a young man of few words, but very efficient. The drive to Abu Simbel is 3 hours and 280km through the desert. There are a number of military checkpoints to cross, and it was only until recently that you had to get a military escort to get there. Most tourists leave at 4.30 am to go on the drive. Given we only arrived to Aswan after midnight, we opted to leave at 9am, and it was a brilliant decision because there were only about 6 other tourists the whole time we were there!

    The drive was long, through the Nubian desert and Paul & I both dozed. We got to the temple just before 12, and purchased our tickets. 200 Egyptian pounds each for us, and 300 pounds extra to take photos inside the tomb. The site is on the edge of Lake Nasser, and when you consider the whole site was relocated several hundred metres vertically in 1964 to 1968 when they were creating the dam, it is an amazing engineering feat.

    They created to rock face to mount the temple, and proceeded to carve it up, with 4mm slices. It was then relocated piece by piece high above the water.

    The temple was built by Pharoah Rameses II and his wife Nefertari in 1264 BC. It depicts his victories, and it is believed that the size of his likenesses was to ward away the enemies from the north. It is very interesting, as we saw the mummified remains of Rameses II at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo!

    Enjoy!
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  • Day7

    Edfu - The Temple of Horus

    May 14, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 39 °C

    In the afternoon we were placed on a horse and buggy, and driven through the streets of Edfu to go to The Temple of Horus. This experience was exactly how I’d pictured the Middle East! The sights and sounds of wild traffic, the rush rush of people, the bazaars, the women in full hijab, the men in galabayas and headdress, kids on donkey carts, it was amazing!

    The temple was built by Ptolemy between 237 and 57 BC, and is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god son of Osiris and Isis. It was really interesting, and our guide Hany explained many of the hieroglyphs and stories associated.

    The inner sanctum had a highly polished granite crypt, so polished it looked like silver,that used to house a golden statue of Horus. There is a wooden boat before the shrine, that would have taken the statue of Horus out on procession to be worshipped.

    Back on our boat, we continued up theNile, through a lock at Esna. These small wooden boats squeezed into the lock with us, to try to sell their wares. Towels, shawls, galabeyas - they toss them up on to the boat, and people would start to barter with them. Quite funny asthma people would often throw them back, and at times they’d miss and land in the water.. not daunted,they’d pick them up and try again!
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  • Day7

    Kom Ombo

    May 14, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 41 °C

    This morning we disembarked at 6am, and the boat had moored in front of this temple. Kom Ombo means Mountain of Gold, and the people gave up their agricultural crops to mine gold. Unfortunately, many then starved as there was nothing to eat!

    Hany , our guide, told many stories depicted in the hieroglyphs which was very interesting! You can still see many of the colours which adorned the walls, after two and a half thousand years. The paint was made from coloured minerals, set with egg white! The lack of rain would also help (it rains here once every 5 years!)

    Back on the boat we had a leisurely breakfast, while the boat set off again. We feel bad for Hany, as he is fasting for Ramadan. It must get very difficult when the temperature rises in excess of 40 degrees predicted today...

    I will post again after our next stop in a few hours!
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  • Day8

    Edfu

    March 11 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    We visited the Temple of Edfu today making our way there by horse drawn carriage. I kind of felt sorry for the poor little horse as they are quite skinny and they probably go back and forth several times a day, a distance of 2 or 3 km each way. The temple is made of sandstone and dedicated to the falcon god Horus.

    Then we cruised onwards to Kom OmboTemple which is an unusual double temple dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god and Horus, the falcon god. There is also a museum with mummified crocodiles.

    It is getting to the point where we have seen the extent of temples. These two were quite magnificent, but compared to some of the others like Karnak temple they were a bit ordinary.

    Tomorrow we visit the Abu Simbel temple which should be a really highlight.
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  • Day9

    Abu Simbel in a Sandstorm

    March 12 in Egypt ⋅ 🌬 27 °C

    Will this trip is proving to be a challenge for the poor tour guide. We had a morning flight from Aswan to the world heritage site of Abu Simbel. The flight was quite bumpy the visibility poor when we landed but we thought nothing of it.

    Abu Simbel to Rameses II and the smaller temple to Nefertarti (Ramases favourite wife and also Nubian, very dark skinned African Egyptians known for their beauty) is set on the shores of Lake Nassar. This temple complex was moved piece by piece by UNESCO in the 1960's to its current site because it was in danger of being flooded by the newly raised Aswan Dam. Quite a remarkable engineering feat.

    Abu Simbel is remarkable outside and just as incredible inside . The ancient freizes are just so detailed and beautiful, I can understand why UNESCO thought it important enough to spend $40 million to save it from being flooded. Little Abu Simbel was not quite as impressive but was still good.

    A short visit to Abu Simbel and we headed back to the airport for the return flight. By this time, the sandstorm was getting worse and the flight was cancelled. The 40 minute flight will now be replaced by a 3+ hour bus ride back to Aswan. We head off and about 20 minutes into the journey the buses are stopped.... The road is blocked by sand and we cannot continue.

    Can't fly out, can't drive out... looks like we are staying in Abu Simbel until the storm passes, whenever that will be. Hotel is fine located on the lake and would look beautiful on a nice clear day... but the view out the window today is awful. Anyway, it is just an inconvenience for us - bit of an adventure really, but must be a nightmare for the tour guides. Will let you know what happens next installment.
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  • Day5

    Sahara Sunrise & a Sunset Sail

    January 9 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    4am is not my friend. That was our wake up call for today so we could join the convey to make our way to Abu Simbel. The only way to cross the Sahara is with a police escort - so hello 4am and 3 hour bus ride.

    It was totally worth it. I’ve been looking forward to Abu Simbel since we paid our deposit for this trip, or really even since my 2010 history class at school (eeek was that 10 years ago!). The entrance is quite dramatic! There are a few unusual things about these temples:
    1. Unlike all the other temples we’ve seen, these were actually carved into the mountain, rather than crafted block by block.
    2. These were moved up onto the hill because th Aswan dam was flooding the temples and ruining them.

    The Aswan dam is like a beautiful version of Lake Macquarie - but man made! The desert starts on the banks which makes for a really unusual contrast; the nile right next to massive rocky sand dunes.

    Walking around the corner, I was immediately impressed by the regal statues of Rameses II. Not a guy you would want to get into a war with - which was exactly the point. Inside was quite well preserved. My favourite wall was the battle of Kadesh. Yep, there’s another depiction of this battle, just in case you missed the other million versions. This one was really beautiful though. Surreal.

    Our afternoon activity was a visit to a Nubian village, which we reached via a motor boat. A few of us got to go onto the roof of the boat and watch the sand dunes roll on by. The contrast between water and desert was, once again, striking!

    Cue camel ride along the Nile. Terrifying. Mildly entertaining. They are crazy creatures. Not to mention the last thing I heard Garry say when leaving the boat was “if you get bitten by a camel, you’re on a plane home tomorrow”. Nothing like riding an animal with poisonous teeth. I’m more than happy for that to be the last camel ride of my life.

    The Nubian village was beautiful and brightly coloured, with a dome shaped roof on every house. They keep crocodiles (not mummified ones this time!) in their houses. For Egypt, the crocodile was bad news, but for Nubians it is a symbol of protection. Matt held one of the baby crocodiles that had a red cord wrapped around its mouth!

    We strolled through the village and did a bit of shopping. MT bought a drum, I bought three scarves and a rug. Returned to cruise ship via motorboat. Happy days.

    Until the first drama of our trip. Matt left his backpack on the motorboat! Luckily he had his wallet and phone in his jacket. Medhat sorted it all out and miraculously the backpack was returned!

    Tomorrow is our last day in Egypt!
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  • Day4

    It really feels like Ancient Egypt

    January 8 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We’ve said more than once that visiting all of the massive buildings has mostly felt surreal - almost like we got tickets to see the Egypt section of Universal Studios. It feels like it can’t be real because it’s just too good. Well today it felt a bit different.

    Our first site was Edfu Temple. We got there by a horse drawn carriage, but don’t think Queen Victoria out for an afternoon jaunt round the park! Think typical third world country traffic jams with yelling and hand gestures and now add in a rickety carriage, complete with fluro-vested driver. Michelle and Medhat gave us very specific instructions about getting on and off these carriages. If you take the wrong one, you could end up at a totally different site! Thankfully, the whole operation went off smoothly.

    Edfu temple. Wow. Wow. Wow. This has been the MOST impressive thing I’ve seen. The walls were gigantic - walking up to the gates I could really imagine the life this temple would’ve had! It is one of the most well preserved temples in the world. Mostly because 90% of it was covered in sand until fairly recently.

    One of the coolest elements was a stair case that went up and around like a spiral staircase (but this had square turns). Back in the day, you would go up the spiral staircase, make our offering and then head down another ramp to exit. This entry / exit actually inspired the Vatican ascension to the top room!

    I can’t help but wish I’d learnt Hieroglyphs in school! I just want to know what everything means.

    Edfu was built by some of the Ptolemy Pharaohs - who were actually Greek. This means there are lots of mistakes everywhere! Some hands of the figures are the wrong way around, there are empty cartouches and the wrong kilt on the wrong person. To tell the difference between a Pharaoh and a God / Goddess, you have the check out the skirt. A tight fitting one = God / Goddess. But a loose one, or one that sticks out = Pharaoh. I like the feeling of my brain filling up with new information!

    We were back on the boat by 10.30am and kept on sailing!

    Next stop - Kom Ombo, another Greco-Roman temple. Beautiful, majestic and so close to the Nile that we just walked from the boat. From this temple we have information about Egyptian medicine, including labour practices (cp Exodus 1v16) and massage technique - apparently the Egyptians invented cupping.

    This temple was dedicated to Sobek and Horus. Sobek is the crocodile headed God - which is probably why there were mummified crocodiles found here! They are now in a crocodile museum next door. Super gross to look and and kind of creepy!

    We are only have two more days of Egypt. Tomorrow starts at 4.30am! We see Abu Simbel - this is the site I am MOST EXCITED about seeing. Big crush on Rameses II.
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  • Day7

    Felucca on the Nile

    December 30, 2016 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    This was one of our more adventurous trips of the year - 2 nights on a traditional Egyptian sail boat. It was fairly primitive but a great experience!

    The boat had one flat and padded area for the 12 of us to sleep on "sardine style". The boat had 4 crew members, but no motor or bathroom. The cook had a small stove top, and somehow managed to make some of the best food of the entire Egypt trip on it.

    We really got to know the rest of our tour group much better after living together on the boat. There wasn't much to do other than relaxing and gaze into the sunny horizon, but the time passed quickly eating, drinking, swimming, playing games, and building a campfire on the shore where we docked for the night.

    Certainly a memorable experience on the Nile!
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  • Day5

    Abu Simbel, Ägypten

    November 30, 2018 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Die Felsentempel von Abu Simbel, der große Tempel zum Ruhm Ramses’ II. und der kleine Hathor-Tempel zur Erinnerung an Nefertari, dessen Große königliche Gemahlin, stehen seit 1979 auf der Weltkulturerbeliste der UNESCO. Beide Tempel befinden sich nicht mehr an ihrem ursprünglichen Standort. Um sie vor dem ansteigenden Wasser des Nassersees, des durch den Assuan-Staudamm aufgestauten Stausees des Nil, zu retten, wurden sie in den Jahren 1963 bis 1968 abgetragen und 64 Meter höher auf der Hochebene von Abu Simbel wieder aufgebaut. Dort erheben sie sich heute auf einer Insel im Nassersee, die an der Nordwestseite durch einen befahrbaren Damm mit dem Ort Abu Simbel verbunden ist.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Muḩāfaz̧at Aswān, Muhafazat Aswan, Aswan, أسوان

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