From Cairo we took the overnight train to Aswan- 1st class sleeper – very nice.
We had arranged a bus trip from Aswan to Abu Simbel, left at 4am in an armed convoy of about 20+ vehicles. Abu Simbel is the home to Ramses II and his queen Hefertari's temples. These temples were rescued from an area that was to be flooded when the High Dam was put in at Aswan. These massive temples were sliced apart and moved 60m up from the river bank. The temple entrance is guarded by 4 huge statues of Ramses, inside more statues and wall engravings with the original color still showing. For 5000 years old these temples are remarkable well preserved.
In Aswan we toured the High Dam. There’s a 100 ft lotus style monument erected as a friendship symbol between Russia and Egypt. Russia financed the construction of the High Dam. This is really a cool monument.
We took a ferry to Philae temple complex. 2000 years after this temple was built the Romans started persecuting the Christians. The temple being abandoned, the Christians hid out & lived in the temples thus destroying the lower rows of carvings and carved their cross in the walls. Lots of hieroglyphics in this temple.
We hired a felucca for 2 hrs and sailed around Elephantine Island and Kitchener Island. Really peaceful and relaxing time.
We joined our 5 star cruise at Aswan. When we booked this we forgot 5 star cruise usually means 5 star clothes. Keith was not too worried about clothes as he planned to wear his new zip off pants he bought in Nepal. One small problem --- he lost his new pants and with all the travel we have been doing everything he owns needs washing. He had bought 2 new Egyptian cotton shirts. They don’t sell pants in the markets here. However, he did get his sandals polished. So there he is all dressed for dinner in his new blue shirt, spiffy polished sandals and his clean swim trunks! We headed down for dinner a little early, as Keith was hoping we could get in and get seated before anyone saw him. At the door we were stopped and told we couldn’t go in. Keith thought “ oh hell I’m overdressed”, but no, we were just too early. We did get in and seated and watching the rest of the diners it turned out that Keith was one of the better dressed guests!! Five star Egyptian is not 5 star Canadian!! It was quite relaxing which was nice as we had been going at a pretty good pace. Nice to have some downtime.
Our ports of call were at Kom Obomo & Edfu two huge temple complexes.
Kom Ombo took 480 yrs to complete.
The Edfu is the most complete temple in Egypt with the Holy Room intact.. There were amazing etchings in the sandstone. Sometime in the 1960’s French archeologists thought they could clean the salt off the Edfu temple by flooding the area, these temples are 60-80 feet tall, they completely submerged the structure and totally wrecked the place causing untold damage.