Sunday, May 22, 2016

Egypt - Aswan

When we arrived in Aswan, it was the first time I truly felt like I was in Africa. 
The pace was slow, the roads were dusty and the air was dry. Aswan hasn't seen rain since 2006 and that isn't unusual. It might go ten years without a single drop. This was a place like nowhere else I'd ever been. I was utterly enthralled.

Spending a lazy evening watching the Nile was simply perfect.

Our hotel was simple and quaint.

Walking around the market in town we met some fabulous people. Everyone we encountered here was lovely. 

We could have come just for the town, but what had brought us here was Abu Simbel
There are two temples there, built by Pharaoh Ramesses II, 13th century BC, as a monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari.

This place is really amazing. Not only is it this stunning complex of staggering proportions, it actually used to sit at what is now the bottom of Lake Naser. 

A huge archaeology project coordinated with several foreign nations allowed Egypt to preserve this incredible place while also creating a dam that would flood the area. They actually moved it.

In a museum in Aswan, there are photos of that event.

It's pretty mind-blowing when you see it and consider the work put into creating it, then moving it.

You can also go inside - but no pictures allowed!

We has so much fun here. It was an unforgettable day too, because of the experience I'm about to recall. We'd been instructed to visit the temple on a timetable. In order to get to Abu Simbel from Aswan, drivers of tourist buses make a convoy. The drivers make this seem critical. And of course; they are concerned for the safety of themselves and their passengers. It's the middle of the Sahara Desert, 40 kilometers from Sudan, and anything could happen. After we spent the day checking out the sites and the small crafts market next to it, out time was up and we went back to the parking lot for our bus ride back.

Only not everyone showed up. One Swiss woman was nowhere to be found.

The drivers are standing around, waiting. The parking lot was emptying out and the convoy left us.

My husband, second from left, and another passenger, third from left, who just happened to be the personal assistant to Donatella Versace, pictured above with four drivers as we wait. There is a nice view of the lake.

After even more waiting happened, me, my husband and another passenger went to look for her. We found her casually sipping some tea.
I'll admit, we were furious and had no idea what was going to happen.
We ended up just driving back without much of a convoy.

Nothing but desert out here.

We had another day in Aswan. As it turned out, getting a train out was a little challenging. We did get tickets but ended up with several hours to kill.

We had a great time though, strolling around town..

having lunch...

and visiting a cool museum.

I loved little Aswan.

Check out our time in Cairo and Luxor as well...

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