Abu Simbel, King Ramses II Temple, Nefertiti Temple & Cairo

Day 7

Another early morning! Lisa and I had to be down in the lobby of the cruise ship at 4:45 to catch our bus and flight to Abu Simbel this morning. About half of our group was up at the same time. We said our goodbyes to Magic and headed up to the top of the docks to catch our ride to the airport.

At the airport we met with another representative and he got us our boarding tickets, and then also dealt with luggage which would be staying behind in Aswan. The luggage would then go on the plane with us to Cairo later in the day.

This is where a few more in our group were going in a different direction, so we said our goodbyes to them and headed to the gate for our flight to Abu Simbel.

At our gate we were put on a bus and driven out to the tarmac to board our plane. On board the plane Lisa went to sleep right away and I just closed my eyes. The flight between Aswan and Abu Simbel was only 30 minutes so it wasn’t long after we took off that we were descending into Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel Temples

Abu Simbel Temples

At the airport in Abu Simbel we were greeted by our host and guide who led us to our tour bus, which left not long after for the temples of Abu Simbel.

It was a short ride to Abu Simbel, when we got there our host and guide Mustafa led us off the bus and into the Coca Cola Temple. Mustafa proceeded to tell us that we could not take photographs in the temples and that we could only take photographs outside. We ended up losing a couple from our group for a few minutes, but we managed to find them not long after.

We passed through the entrance of Abu Simbel and had a short walk to get to the entrances of the two temples. Just before we got to the entrances, Mustafa had us stop in the shade and he pulled out a stack of photos that had been taken in each of the temples. He went through the photos and explained what the different drawings meant and the story behind the two temples. One of the temples was created for Nefertiti, King Ramses II, 1st of 40 wives. He loved her the most and created a temple for her. The second temple was created for Ramses II and it was used to tell the story of the war with the (name of people) and to which he also declared himself a God in the temple. He is the only king in Egyptian history to do this.

Temple of Nefertiti, Abut Simbel

Temple of Nefertiti, Abut Simbel

After the short history lesson, Mustafa gave us 45 minutes to visit each of the temples. He recommended that we spend 15 minutes in the smaller temple which was the one built for Nefertiti, and 30 minutes in the second and much larger temple which was built for Ramses II.

As we got closer to the temple’s Lisa and I were both quite impressed with the size of them. We were impressed with how they managed to cut the structures out of the rock a few hundred feet away and move them to higher ground in (year). It was nearly impossible to tell that the temple’s were cut up and reassembled – the only way someone would ever know is if someone told you I believe.

Inside Temple of Nefertiti, Abu Simbel

Inside Temple of Nefertiti, Abu Simbel

Lisa and I followed Mustafa’s guide lines and entered the Temple of Nefertiti first. As soon as you walked in you could tell that the temple was way more preserved than any of the other temples we had seen thus far. The inscriptions and drawings on the walls were absolutely amazing and still had a lot of their color. Lisa and I walked around the tomb for about 15 minutes before exiting and heading over to Ramses II temple. Before entering I took several photos of the statues and carvings on the outside of the building. We then entered the temple and were really impressed. As soon as you enter the temple you pass by 8 gigantic statues of Ramses II; the size of the temples are quite impressive.

Lisa and I took our time walking through the temple and stopping at spots that caught our attention. At one point I stopped and tried to imagine what it would have been like building the temple and then on the other side what it would have been like for Ramses II to walk through the temple – it must have been quite an experience.

King Ramses II Temple, Abu Simbel

King Ramses II Temple, Abu Simbel

Back outside the temple Lisa and I exchanged cameras with Joanne and Wayne and snapped a photograph of each couple standing in front of the temple. We then walked around the temple and joined the rest of our group back at the entrance (coca cola temple).

Once our group was back together, Mustafa led us back to the bus which took us back to the airport. We waited 30 minutes to an hour at the airport but during this time we got to watch a video of how they moved the two temples in (year), it was really quite interesting and impressive. On the video it also showed how they moved a few of the other temples along the Nile. I did not realize how many temples they actually moved before putting the high dam in place and creating Lake Nasser.

The little film we watched also showed them moving a complete temple; they were unable to cut it into pieces like they had done with the previous temples because it was made from sand stone and was too delicate to cut through. They literally picked up the temple which was encased in a steel structure, put on rails and moved 6km up to higher ground.

Inside King Ramses II Temple, Abu Simbel

Inside King Ramses II Temple, Abu Simbel

The video pretty much killed our waiting time and before I knew it was time to board our plane back to Aswan. At Aswan airport we said goodbye to two other couples in the group as we went separate ways. We got our boarding passes back to Cairo and waited by the gates with the last remaining couple Joanne and Wayne. They did not have to wait long as their flight back to Cairo was much earlier than ours.

Lisa and I spent the afternoon in the Aswan airport, Lisa tried to get some sleep and I worked on the travel journal.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. We hopped on a quick hour and half ride to Cairo where we had not been greeted by our guide, but he did eventually show up a few minutes later. When they talk about the Egyptian hour it’s actually true, 1 minute does mean 1 hour, but that only when you need something done, not when a service is being provided.

We drove thought the crazy traffic once again and back to our hotel, the Ramses Hilton.

Lisa and I got in our room around 6:30 and stayed in there the rest of the night, other than to go to McDonalds across the street and grab some food. Lisa had the chicken and I had the Big Mac Chicken (replacing the beef patties with chicken). We called it an early night.

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