Annnnnndddd…..another early departure today at 4:30am. Because the hotels are not expected to serve us breakfast so early, this is where the breakfast box comes into play for the next week. The box becomes the source of many jokes and let’s just say they’re not that great. A piece of fruit, yogurt, 5 types of buns/breads. It varies, but this is the basic core of the box.
I meet up with the gang in the lobby and I’m in for a surprise….Ramez is no longer our tour leader! The issues with the one American guy were too much and he has been removed and replaced with Meena. Meena is a fantastic guide as well, and he will be accompanying us to Abu Simbel this morning. Poor guy – he’s coming into a weird situation but we embrace him with open arms because we are a cool bunch of kids. We are all shocked and sad, but Kamali is already on it – sending an email to Timeless Tours head office to fight to get Ramez back on tour with us….. In my time I’ve done 10 group tours, and nothing like this has ever happened.
The show must go on…. It is a 3-hour drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel, so it makes sense to get on the road early. On the way we stop to see the sunrise in the vast quiet Western Desert.
Then there is plenty of time for a bus nap before we arrive at this amazing site.
And now a short history lesson about Abu Simbel. It is a village in the Egyptian part of Nubia, south of Aswan and very close to the Sudan border. It is located on the Nile reservoir of Lake Nasser and for this reason, the temples of Abu Simbel needed to be relocated onto higher ground because of flooding when the Aswan Dam was built. This happened in 1968, and the temples were cut into large blocks, dismantled moved and reassembled. It was regarded to be one of the greatest archaeological engineering challenges in history!
Abu Simbel consists of 2 massive rock temples, the Great Temple for King Ramses II and the Small Temple for his wife Nefertari.
Ramses is regarded as the most powerful and celebrated pharaoh of the New Kingdom. The temples date back to 1244 BC…wow! Eventually the temples were abandoned and became buried under sand until discovered by a Swiss dude in 1813.
In all of my travels, I’d say this one ranks up there as one of the most fascinating. I absolutely love it. We listen to Meena do a quick history lesson, and take some pics from the outside. Then it’s free time to explore and I start over at Nefertari’s temple.
There are six statues with the entryway in between; the statues are of the king and queen.
The stories depicted on the walls inside are magnificent. Here are some pics…
Now back over to the Great Temple of Ramses. You’ll notice one of the statues is missing his head…it is believed that it fell off during an earthquake so when they relocated the temple, they decided to leave it the same as it was found.
Inside there is a hall with towering statues that lead to a back room called the inner sanctuary.
It has four statues of the divinities and there’s a significance as to how the light hits this room from the temple entrance.
More exploring of the halls that lead off from the centre of the temple, and again, the stories on the wall are just amazing.
As I’m leaving the temple, a guy that guards the entrance is holding a giant key which he insists on me holding, which is the “key of the temple”. It makes for a fun pic haha.
It is nearing 10am, and a lot of the tour buses have departed which means that we have the site to ourselves for a short time. It’s so cool to snap some pics without tourists in them!
And then it’s on the bus for a 3 hour drive back to Aswan, as the adventure continues….