Abu Simbel

 Posted by Elizabeth at 8:50 pm
Aug 022011

We were up at 4.15am to catch a flight to Abu Simbel. I had managed to get a dodgy stomach again during the night so was not feeling the best and Abu Simbel was hot, REAL hot. Needless to say I struggled to make it around the temples feeling absolutely terrible and didn’t really get to appreciate them.

There are 2 temples at Abu Simbel that were built by Ramses II for himself and his queen Nefartari in the 13th century BC. When the High Dam was built in Aswan both temples were relocated to prevent them from being submerged. Both temples are fully enclosed so you get to see how the rooms in these and other temples would have looked and both are decorated with various statues, scenes and hieroglyphics. (You are not allowed to take photos inside unfortunately). The site itself is small and that is pretty much all there is to do in Abu Simbel.

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We were going to stay the night in Abu Simbel, but the hotel looked like it was straight out of the 1930s and nothing had changed. There was no air con in the reception area and I was feeling so sick I really did not want to stay. We decided it would be better to sit in an air conditioned car for the 3 hour drive back to Aswan and get a modern air conditioned room rather than stay here, so with some help from the local tour representative we organised to go to Aswan. You can only travel between Abu Simbel and Aswan via convoy. The convoy leaves Abu Simbel around 11am and 4pm, so we had to wait until 4pm before we could leave. We had 2 different people tell us that the convoy was originally put in place because the area is extremely remote, there was no mobile phone coverage and there was some security risk. Today though there is coverage and no risk, but the process still is in place because it has always been there.

The rep took us to a local Nubian restaurant where we were the only customers given it is Ramadan and they do not eat until after sunset. They were very friendly and helpful supplying us with bottled water, chicken noodle soup, egyptian bread with tahini, a chicken casserole with rice, desert and fruit juice when all I asked for was some rice and Wayne was having the chicken and rice. There was way too much food and they only charged us 70LE ($11) which to us was very cheap, but we did find out later that for locals it was a bit more than usual, but we were grateful and happy to pay what they asked.

It was then time to meet the other cars for the convoy. There was only one other car travelling with us and a police officer travelled in their car. After exchanging phone numbers we headed off and that was the last we saw of the car that was supposed to be travelling with us as they were going at a much slower speed. So much for having to go in convoy!

The road to Aswan is a good, pretty straight tar road that travels through some harsh desert. There were very few buildings that were still inhabited, pretty much no one around except for a few police here and there and we hardly saw another car. I was relieved to see that our hotel in Aswan was a modern, air conditioned hotel.

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