Breakfast at 6.15am ready for a 7am walk down to the river Nile for our crossing to the other side to see the Temple of Soleb. The wind is not so strong but it is cold - didn't expect this in Sudan. We had to rummage in our bags to find jackets we haven't worn since the Simien Mountains. The crossing wasn't too bumpy though the boatman had to cross in a big loop to take accound of the current and the wind, which went in different directions.
Once on the west bank of the Nile, we walked through groves of date palms to reach the temple, which really looked stunning in the morning sun. It was built in the 14th century BC by Amentohep III, the same Pharaoh who built Luxor. It has been partly restored by an Italian female archeologist who spent 20 years there before dying in her fifties. Huge rocks have been painstakingly sorted and are just waiting for someone else to come and finish the restoration. The Italian archeologist did not attempt to recreate the missing blocks, but just filled in the missing bits with different shaped bricks so you can see what is the original and what is new. There are lots of graceful columns decorated with palm trees and archways with carvings of the Pharaoh, all in a light sandstone which looked beautiful against the clear blue sky.
All the while the wind was picking up again and the river getting nice and choppy! Good job the boatman knows his stuff and got us safely back to the eastern shore and our truck. We then set out for the short drive to Wadi Halfa, where we catch the ferry into Egypt tomorrow morning. It's quite a big town , very dry and dusty, and our hotel is "quaint" to say the least - but at least the toilet works and there is water in the shower. We are going to the market tonight for dinner - probably falafel, fuul (a bean dish), mashed eggplant and bread, that seems to be the main menu here. Everyone getting a bit excited to be going to a new country tomorrow.