Ramesses II makes his mark

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Mar 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
Orchida Hotel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Abu Simbel and Philae Temple.

A very early start (2.30am!) meant that we got our tour bus to join up with the police escort to Au Simbel. A 3.5hr drive down the Nile and through the desert seemed to take a while and most of us were asleep or trying hard to sleep. We quickly lost the police escort as our bus wasn't fast enough, and by the time we arrived at Abu Simbel we were again with many many tourists.

Abu Simbel is a site of two temples built by Rameses II, the larger for himself, and the second one for his wife and daughters. As the original site would have now been under lake xx (man made by the high dam at Aswan), an international conglomerate moved the whole structure, block by block to a higher point away from the water level. Apparently the lake is now the largest lake in Africa (although perhaps its cheating somewhat).

The temples, although being packed with tourist, were perhaps the highlight of our trip so far, with the massive Ramesses Collossi leading the way into the hieroglyphic filled annexes. Although we couldn’t take pictures inside (which is starting to be a rather disappointing trend) the columns and friezes on the walls were amazing depicting offerings to the gods, battle scenes, family moments and of course the obligatory afterlife and final judgement images we are getting pretty good at spotting. We are also getting good at identifying the various gods in their various guises, however as the Egyptians have so many, and portray them in so many ways it is very difficult. Daniel Jackson I am not! We do both quite like "Horus" though, which is the falcon.


After wandering around the temples for a couple of hours (still very early but getting v hot by the minute), we all jumped back on the bus for the ride back to Aswan to stop off at the Aswan damn and Philae Temple. We only drove over the dam in the bus, and took a little motorboat to the island of Philae. Again it would have been underwater had it not been for some restoration and movement, and this temple had been used by a number of religious groups and the Roman’s over the years, so many of the gods and pharaoh images had been defaced. One of the outlying buildings was apparently built by the Romans anyway with columns but also contained hieroglyphics. We had fun trying to take a couple of “Us” pictures with our trusty tripod, and nearly managed a few with no people in. Very very hot though so we were wilting awfully quickly and needed the air-conditioned bus to survive the short trip back to the hotel.

As we have a couple of days on the felucca to look forward to we stocked up on water and some stomach medicine (very cheap compared to UK, but we only getting the referred stuff as unsure as to what’s in the tablets!).
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