Aswan

Trip Start Feb 01, 2002
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Trip End Feb 01, 2004


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, October 6, 2003

After spending plenty of time in Cairo I headed down on an overnight train to Aswan, Egypt's most southern city. I thought the train would be quite dodgey but turned out to be really nice. I was sharing the cabin with a guy room Korea. The train ride was brilliant with the sunset and sunrise being beautiful with the orange sun gleaming over the yellow landscape and the Nile valley with its riverside greenery.
I woke up in the morning after an excellent nights sleep and was served breakfast before we pulled into Aswan.
I quickly fond a hotel at the Nubian Oasis Hotel before wandering around the main street Sharia as Souq, which turned into a street full of markets selling spices, crafts, woodwork and more.



This place really came into life at night when the streets were packed with people, sights, sounds and smells. Aswan is a lush green city with the Nile swooping through with an island in the middle and lots of massive grey granite boulders scattered about.
The next day I organised to take a day trip down to Abul Simbel about 200km south. This is stunning monument had to be moved in the 1960s as they flooded the nearby valley with the new Dam. The Great Temple of Abul Simbel and the temple of Hathor which were carved out of a mountain side are massive stone monuments with great colossal statues guarding the entrances and inside stunning Egyptian mosaics and carvings on the walls.

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After this we drove into the desert to take a few photos of the mirages before heading to the Temple of Philae. The Temple of Philae just south of Aswan also had to be moved to save it from flooding in the 1960s. It is located on an island that you get to by boat. This place was a typical styled temple again with excellent carvings.
After this we visited the High Dam 17km south of Aswan. The dam is 3.6km wide and 110 meters high. 451 people had died by the time it was finished in 1971. The lake 'Lake Nasser' it created is the world's biggest artificial lake.
After the lake we headed to the Unfinished Obelisk that lies in an ancient quarry. The Obelisk is a massive 49 meters long and was almost complete except for the inscriptions. A flaw developed in the Obelisk however and it was discarded.
The next day I headed over to Elephantine Island to check out the Nubian Village and huge grey boulders. There was also the Nilometer at the southern end of the island. After this I headed back to the mainland and organised my Felucca boat ride up to Luxor for the next day.



From Aswan I hooked up a 2-day Felucca ride up to Luxor. The Felucca is the traditional sailboat with a giant triangular mainsail that has been plying the Nile for hundreds of years. It has a real romance to it. A trip to Egypt wouldn't be complete without a Nile cruise.
The 2 man crew fixed all our meals which were really lush and the passengers of and Irish guy, an Aussie couple and two guys from Slovenia and a German couple where all pretty cool. It was a really calm feeling tacking up the slowly up the Nile with the classic sounds of Bob Marley. I have learnt that Bob is pretty universal, a bit cheesy but that's the way it goes.
Our first stop was at Edfu for the Temple of Horus, which is a temple that took over 200 years to complete.



After Edfu we stopped at the village of Kom Ombo which had the dual Temple of Obek and Haroeris the local crocodile-god and the falcon headed sky god. There used to be in ancient times loads of crocodiles in the basking at the temples. We also used this stop to pick up a few beers for the night.
After two days we were well short of Luxor, however we were informed we would have a mini-bus to take us the final hour. The cruise was a really relaxing ride and well worth it.
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