It was a good night on the train, better sleep than expected and we didn’t fall out of the bunks. As expected, we were bombarded with offer of taxi rides to anywhere. We negotiated a good deal to the ferry docks and were picked up by a private ferry to take the shortcut to our Nubian House, on the west side of the island on the Nile River.
After drop off we clambered up the rough stairs to the sandy paths that connect everything on the island. There are no vehicles on the island. To get around you walk, bike or take a donkey. But beware marauding, scroungy sheep in packs. They will take you down.
For the first two nights we were on the top floor overlooking the Nile with a large shared balcony to relax and watch some amazing sunsets ($20/night with breakfast). After getting our room they made us an amazing cold Hibiscus Tea. Good for your heart and overall health. We did a walk around the island to check things out and a young Nubian boy decided that we needed a guide through the maze of paths between the old mud and stick buildings. This area averages 350 days of sunshine a year with temps reaching averages of 50°C (low 120°F) during the summer. To my amazement, there isn’t a solar panel in sight.
That evening we had a wonderful dinner of chicken and fish Tangine, cooked in cast iron pots. Along with it was rice, a vegetable medley in a tomato sauce, a salad and bread. We hit the sack early as the next day we would be up at 3,30am for the 3 1/2 hour drive to Abu Simbel, and the temples of Ramses II and his wife, Nefertari, 20 kms above the Sudanese border. Goodnight.
Wow! Four am ferry. We had a shared ride with a cool, young woman traveler from the Czech Republic. I stayed awake to make sure the driver would, and the girls slept, both ways, I might add. A couple check point, a long drive and we were at the site.
The Temple of Ramses II, and hardly anyone here. The twin temples were carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC during the 19th Dynasty reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II. They serve as a lasting monument to the king Ramesses II. His wife Nefertari and children can be seen in smaller figures at his feet. In 1968, another dam, the Aswan High Dam, was constructed, creating a massive artificial water reservoir, Lake Nasser. With the building of the dam, the temple complex would have been submerged. The entire mountain was disassembled block by block and relocated to a higher place along the river. It’s incredible to stand outside and wander inside, alone, at view and feel such history. Looking at the structure from outside you wonder which is the most amazing feat, the building of the temple of the relocation.
Both, I guess.