|Lots to do in Aswan...the morning of the 11th, we met our police convoy at 3:15am for a three hour drive through the desert to Abu Simbel. The two temples were taken apart and reconstructed when the high dam was built so the temples would not be flooded and destroyed. To date, it remains the largest scale UNESCO project to be completed. The mountain was literally moved to a higher elevation. The temples are incredible with some of the 4000 year old paint still remaining. After two hours exploring, we headed back to the convoy back to Aswan where we took a much needed nap. We visited Elphantine island to explore the Nubian villages...all I can say is, it was a very anthropolgoical experience...Brooke and I both decided that we would pay money to see our mothers stranded on the island for 15 minutes and see how they fare...lol!! Kidding, mom.
Yesterday we joined with our Nile Cruise Egyptologist, George, who took us around the high dam, Philae Temple, and the granite quarries with the unfinished obelisk. Everything was incredible, but philae temple was absolutely outstanding. I had no idea how large it was. We took a small motor boat to get to the island and spent a while exploring the temple. It was amazing to see how much history the temple has experienced. Originally constructed around 300ad during the Graeco-Roman period, you could see some of the gods faces scratched out over time by Coptics (early Crhistians), Arabs, Nubians, etc. The temple at one point was a coptic alter and church, so there were early crosses carved into the walls. Napolean signed his own grafitti on the temple wall too. The temple was also relocated when the dam was built. After all of our stops, George took us to a spice shop where Brooke and I got suckered into buying a ton of tea and hibiscus...can't wait to drink it when I get home (assuming we can get it on the airplane)...
Last night, we had dinner on the cruise, and I got suckered into buying a sheesha and some jewelery...very nice and Egyptianesque though ;) Today, we have a free afternoon and I am going to relax by the pool while we sail to Edfu. Tomorrow, we will be in Luxor on the east bank then the west bank for the Valley of the Kings the following day. We did find out that we can go into Tut's tomb which I heard has been closed for about a decade to the public...very exciting.
Hope everyone is well...can't wait to share all of our pictures when we get back. We have seen so much...