Homer's Travels: 2022 Fall Travels, Part Three - Egypt - The Nile, Aswan, Abu Simbel, And Cairo

Monday, December 05, 2022

2022 Fall Travels, Part Three - Egypt - The Nile, Aswan, Abu Simbel, And Cairo

Our relaxing, and fascinating, cruise up the river Nile was coming to an end.  We arrived at Aswan, location of the Low (old) and High (new) Dam that controls the flow of the river Nile and generates forty-five percent of Egypt's electricity. While the river is very photogenic the dam is almost too big to take in.

When the Dam was built lake Nasser, one of the largest man-made lakes was created.  This created some friction with neighboring Sudan that had a large parts of the Nubia region flooded forcing the evacuation of the Nubian people. The conflict continues today as the Sudanese are damming some of the rivers that source the Nile.  The strategic importance of the dam to Egypt is evident by the conspicuous military presence in the area around the dam.

The Temple of Philae.
When Lake Nasser was created many temples were submerged.  A few were saved and one of those, the Temple of Philae was our next stop.  The temple had been moved to an island.  We took a small boat out to the island and toured the temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis.

Young entrepreneurs.
In the afternoon, after having lunch on the ship, we took another small boat, this time a sailboat, onto the river Nile.  Our luck was not so good as there was no wind this day so we had to hire another boat to tow us up the river.  While we waited for our tug boat kids on surfboards paddled out to us and sang a few songs for a tip.  It was fun.

We were pulled to another island that had an extensive botanical garden.  We took some time to admire the extensive collection of trees and plants and to buy some magnets naturally.  This was kind of a filler activity I think.  We were to see the Nubian museum but I believe it was closed when we were there.

Views of an Imam's grave overlooking the Nile from our Sailboat.
The next day we said goodbye to the Oberoi Philae and flew to Abu Simbel.  Here we were met by our third Egyptologist who took us to the magnificent temple of Ramses II.  This was one of the highlights of Egypt.  This temple was moved stone by stone while the water level of lake Nasser was rising to a safer elevation.  The work of the conservationists is amazing.  It looks like it has always been there.

The Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.  They left the one
statue broken as they originally found it when they moved it
After a couple hours at the temple complex - quite enough as it was 112℉ (44℃) this day - we returned to the airport and flew to Cairo for our last night in Egypt.  We were at a hotel near the airport and there were weddings going on everywhere.  Very fancy weddings with lots of music and dancing.

The Temple of Ramses II and his Wife Nefertari's Temple next door.
(He put his statues in his Wife's temple …the guy was a narcissist.)
Our travel agent had booked an extra night in the hotel since our flight out wasn't until 10:35PM so we didn't have to check out and wait in the lobby for nearly twelve hours.  We will have to thank her the next time we see her.

The Pyramids in Cairo … ✔ 
Egypt was magnificent and amazing in so many ways.  We'd tried to get here three times.  The first two were stopped by the Arab Spring demonstrations and the military coup a few years later.  The third try was the charm.  It was worth the wait.  Everything was incredible - the sights, the experiences, and our guides.  All amazing.

Later that night we boarded our plane to our last country.  We said goodbye to Egypt and hello to Ethiopia where our adventure would continue for two more weeks.

Pictures can be found in my Egypt 2022-09 Google Photos album.

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