Posted by: lindsaygoes | March 21, 2012

Hitting the Temples of Egypt

So after our Nubian night we had a verrry early start the next morning to get to Abu Simbel. Because it’s quite a distance they make all the tourists go in one long bus convoy with police in some of the buses. And they make them all leave at 4am. It was a painful start. Once we got to Abu Simbel though it was worth it. There are four enormous statues at the front, and the temple stretches back for ages, with room upon room filled with carvings of scenes and hieroglyphics. One of the most amazing things is that the whole temple was moved when they built the Aswan Dam as otherwise it would have been covered by Lake Nasser. There are pictures of the enormous amount of work it took to move the temple, and it’s amazing that it looks so perfect now. We also visited the Hathor temple at the same site, which was also filled with lots of carvings. The market next to the site was best avoided. Once it was time for the convoy to leave we headed back to Aswan where we visited the dam and Philae Temple. We took a boat to Philae Temple, which had also been moved to avoid being inundated, and it was nice being almost the only people there.

We were hoping the cruise was going to be relaxing, but the next day it was a 6:15am start to go to Edfu temple. We caught a horse and carriage there (with four of us crammed in), and went to Edfu, the best preserved temple in Egypt, and it was pretty amazing with some Horus sculptures and artwork. While we were there our guide told us that while he had been told the boat would leave at 9am the night before, that morning they had advised him that it would now be 8:30am, but as we weren’t going to make it on time he was sure the boat would wait for us. We got back at 8:45 and luckily, the boat did wait for us. Admittedly the rest of the day was pretty relaxing as we couldn’t go anywhere but the boat, so we just took it easy. We did get a bit of excitement when we went through the lock on the Nile and a load of boats came up to our boat and tried to sell us things, tossing them onto our boat (a couple of things landed in the pool). As we went through the lock there were also people on the sides yelling and throwing things for us to buy. Initially it was ok, because you could step back a bit and watch them hassling other people, but as we went through the lock the boat dropped and we got closer and closer to them, until by the end they were at the level of our deck. A bit harder to ignore at that point. It looked like a few people on the boat bought things, I guess they had a bit of a story with them. That night we arrived in Luxor. Our boat was quite a way from the town center so a group of us got a taxi to the market and did some shopping. Not too hassly which was nice.

The next day we had the morning free, but because we weren’t close to anywhere we just bummed around until the part of the group that had gone from Aswan to Luxor by felucca (and bus) caught up with us. Then we went to Karnak and Luxor temples. By the time we got to Luxor Temple it was getting dark, so they had all the lights on which gave the whole place a really great atmosphere. And then we had an overnight train ride to Cairo. The less said about that the better.

Then it was the final day in Egypt before flying home in the afternoon – and that’s when I finally got to the pyramids (ok, admittedly I have seen them, and many of the temples, before when I went to Egypt in my teens. But I wanted to see them again) as I’d missed out with the tour because I was sick. They are really majestic and the weather was lovely and clear. The driver was really good and drove to a lovely panoramic spot as well as a great site to see the Sphinx, so it ended up being a really good last morning of the trip.

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