A Lesson on How to be Remembered

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Mar 31, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aswan was noticeably smaller and quieter than Cairo. After leaving the train we checked into our hotel and set out to explore the town. Crossing to the other side of Aswan, were were shown around Fatmid Cemetery and its many 9th century mausolea by one of the cemetery caretakers. As this guide had limited English and we knew absolutely no Arabic, he attempted to explain the purpose of the different buildings in the older part of the cemetery using a series of hand gestures. 

On the other side of the cemetery was the site of the Unfinished Obelisk in the Northern Quarries. Somehow we managed to walk through the whole quarry without actually seeing the obelisk. We had actually walked passed it and dismissed it as ancient ramp the Egyptians must have used to transport stones in and out of the quarry. We had to backtrack to see it again. It was fairly big, if they had finished it it would have been the largest in Egypt.

After crossing back though the cemetery, we visited the Nubian Museum, before heading back into the town through the tourist markets. In the afternoon, we took a boat tour around Elephantine Island before landing at Nubian beach. Here, I was able to hold a baby Nile crocodile (which was actually quite docile), and the group climbed up the sand dunes for a view over Aswan. After the sun had gone down we visited a traditional Nubian village on the west bank of the Nile. We were intoduced to a Nubian family who prepared food for us and performed traditional music.

The following day we had to get up at four in the morning to make the convoy down to Abu Simbel. The trip took about three hours each way but it was well worth the effort. At Abu Simbel itself was the Great Temple of Ramses II and beside it the smaller Temple of Hathor. These temples were absolutely phenomenal and really give you a sense of the power and influence of the the pharaohs of ancient times.  You are just dwarfed by the seated statues of the Great Temple and inside there are columns and walls all intricately carved and painted with ancient Egyptian designs. What was equally impressive was that this whole temple complex had been moved in the sixties from a point 65 metres lower down, prior to the creation of Lake Nasser.

On the way back to Aswan, we visited the Temple of Isis (Philae Temple). Philae Temple was also moved and reconstructed when the Aswan High Dam was built and valley was flooded. The temple was moved to a different island which was then sculpted to look like the previous one. We reached the island by boat and spent about an hour exploring the different halls and structures. The temple was richly carved with beautiful images of people and gods, however many of them had been defaced in what looked like deliberate damage.

Day three in Aswan was spent on a felucca.  During the day I was able to swim in the Nile. It wasn't the cleanest water to swim in and a few of our group chose not to take the opportunity for fear of getting sick. We sailed downstream most of the day and in the evening the crew lit a fire on the bank as the evenings were still quite cool at this time of year. We spent the night sleeping on deck whilst moored on the bank.
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becccurren on

Sooo inspirational!!!
Jussy!! You did so much in Eygpt! You write so passionately...makes me feel like I'm there experiencing it all! So can't wait to see and experience such an adventure as this! Miss ya heaps by the way! xo

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