Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Abu Simbel

The wake up call came at 4 am for the day trip to Abu Simbel. It's a three hour bus ride from Aswan so it's an early start at 4:30.

But first, evidence for Marianne that I am eating a salad. It's very good and the selection is great. Generally I don't eat as much when I travel and I eat differently. I also usually lose some weight.

One of the women in our group turned 30 and she was presented with a cake and 'Happy Birthday'.

From the boat deck tied up at Aswan.

We were each given a bag with breakfast and headed out to the bus. Mostly the breakfast was bread rolls with some cheese. There was also a juice and a banana that was really tasty. Eventually the sun came up and I could see the desert.

Inside the bus with the orange curtains.

I realized that the hill on the left could easily be carved into another Sphinx. Well perhaps not easily but you can see how the shape would fit.

An irrigation canal carrying water to the west. There is more about the project here but it appears that the land they are directing the water to is not very suitable.

What appears to be another canal under construction.

A road heading off to who knows where in the western desert.

I managed to sneak a photo of one of the many check points along the way. There are soldiers everywhere and they are armed. Most appear to be totally bored.

The town at Abu Simbel.

I was amused by the dog who seemed to be pleased with itself at having found breakfast. 

Checking the underside of the bus ahead.

We arrived and got out of the bus. Our guide took us to another WC less crowded than this one.

It was very windy. The building on the left houses the people who pester you to buy their trinkets.

The ticket to get in.

Some of our group. On the other side of the hill in the background are the famous statures.

The visibility was very poor and the sand storm was getting worse.

Walking around to the statues.

And there they are.  

We were relatively early so the crowd was not too bad. It really is a stunning sight.

You can read more about them here. They would have been submerged by water when the dam was built so they were relocated to a new hill that was constructed in 1968. Essentially they cut everything up into blocks, numbered them and reconstructed everything. You can still see the lines where they cut but they are relatively faint.

The four statues are all of Ramesses II showing him at different ages. He is youngest at the left and oldest in the right.

Children of Ramesses. 

Inside the temple, most of the carvings are about Ramesses being brave. Here he is killing two men at once. 

You need to buy an expensive ticket to do photography but I sneaked the prior photo and took this of a young couple who were seated before some image. The girl was singing some chant and all I could think of was that the young man must have been awfully keen to put up with that. I wouldn't/

The smaller Temple of Hathor and Queen Nefertari.

Having a foot forward meant that you were alive.

The sand storm was getting worse.

To read more about the relocation, click here.

So somewhere out there is the original site.

We heard from our guide Michael that the road back to Aswan was closed because of the sandstorm. I went for a walk in the huge parking lot.

The storm got worse. I was glad that I had sun-glasses to protect my eyes.

After about three hours the dust cleared enough for the buses to leave.

We headed back through the desert.

Because of the three hour delay, we had missed our boat which had started down the river to Edfu. Our bus just continued down a narrow road beside the Nile. It was interesting to look up close at the farms right beside the Nile.

Progress was slow because every few hundred yards there was a speed bump.

We occasionally saw the train line to Cairo.

I'm not sure what these were. Perhaps dates.

A train rattled past.

There is a temple at Kom Ombo that we would visit later. 

Our boat had already arrived when we turned up at 5:30 pm. It had been a very long day and I was quite tired. Here were all the little shops of the usual vendors lining the shore.

The members of the group who were going to do the falucca boat ride had to join us on the larger boat because faluccas cannot sail at night. They were not amused but stuff happens when you travel.

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