Best Laid Plans

Trip Start Apr 10, 2009
Trip End Apr 20, 2009

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Where I stayed
Nile Dolphin Cruise Ship

Flag of Egypt  ,
Friday, April 17, 2009

BY: Barbara
After checking out from the ship and a quick breakfast, we were off to the airport for the short flight to Abu Simbel to see the temples honoring Ramses II and his wife, Queen Nefertari. As we ventured further south toward the border of Sudan the temperature went up again, so it was good that we only had an hour or so at the temples — which is about all one needs anyway.

The Pharaoh Ramses II built the colossal monument to himself in this remote location along the Nile to send a message to travelers heading north down river toward central Egypt that the king who ruled over the land beyond was a force to be reckoned with.

The temples were certainly impressive as all have been so far, however these felt a little ‘theme park’ like to us. Having been reconstructed and restored, they just didn’t feel as authentic as some of the other temples we had seen.

What is really impressive though is the monumental effort it took to relocate both temples without the help of aliens (…Kelly has been waiting for me to mention aliens). In the 1960s when Lake Nasser was being formed with the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the temples would have been underwater. At the request of the Egyptian government, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) came together and saved the temples from a watery grave. The temples were relocated 200 feet higher and now stand in man-made mountains that look like the real solid cliff they were carved from originally.

Bit of trivia, the Ramses temple was situated so that twice a year the suns rays would reach the back of the temple illuminating gold covered statues of the gods. Now that the temples have been moved, the day is off by one from what Ramses originally planned.

There was some confusion about our return flight schedule and we ended up going back to Aswan for a few hours before flying to Cairo in the early evening. We were fine with it since it gave us a little down time from our non-stop schedule and we really liked Aswan. Kelly went for a walk. Mel sat in the shade of the top deck on the cruise ship and wrote blog stuff and I tried to get the swelling in my ankles to go down by sticking my feet in the swimming pool for about half an hour. Between the heat and all the walking and climbing stairs at temples and tombs, my ankles swelled quite a bit. I had never had this happen before, so it was a bit disconcerting. Kelly nicknamed me “Kankles” and had been teasing me for days. I guess it’s only fair since both Mel and I took every opportunity to tease Kelly about whatever we could. All in good fun.

Our guide, and now friend, Ehab was not as fine with our messed-up flights as we were since he was blamed for the mistake even though it wasn’t his fault. He took care of us like the professional he is though and got us back on track and on the plane to Cairo. We were all a little emotional when we had to say goodbye to him however as we had grown to like him so much and hope some day to see him again. 

Back in Cairo we settled into our hotel and returned to our favorite outdoor terrace restaurant overlooking the Nile for a relaxing dinner and some Egyptian wine.
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