Abu Simbel: Ramses II and Nefertari's Temple

Abu Simbel Travel Blog

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We woke up early anxious and excited for our short plane ride to Abu Simbel where we get to see Ramses II and Nefertari's Temple.

Although we didn't leave on time due to several people who overslept and were hungover from the previous night, we arrived at Aswan's airport with 30 minutes to spare before our flight. We were on EgyptAir Express - a small-sized plane making multiple direct flights between Aswan and Abu Simble daily. Our group of 32 took half of the seats on the plane and were a noisy group. It was only a 45-minute ride, but being me, I slept all 45 minutes. I woke up just in time to see Lake Nasser and the view of the temples prior to landing.

From the view of the skies, you can see endless sand dunes of the Sahara desert with Lake Nasser seemingly out of place. Lake Nasser is the result of the Aswan Dam flooding the Sahara desert. After more than 30 years, plant life can be visibly seen at the shores of the lake. One would expect more plant life. I certainly did, but when I think of it more, it is A desert with temperature skyrocketing up to 50 degree Celsius in the summer! Only a limited type of plant life can survive such heat!

And as the plane started to descend, we were awarded with a quick glimpse of the temples. The temples were facing the lake, proudly carved out of the mountain.

It was surreal once we faced the two temples. The amazing size of the temples were jaw-dropping! After more than three thousand years, they were still standing! But then of course, being buried under the sand for a couple thousand of years does help with its preservation.

On a more disappointing side (for me anyway), was to hear that the two temples are NOT in its original place. Okay, so, it is impressive that the team of construction/historians/scientists/architect experts were able to move such massive temples in parts (over 10,000 pieces) and put them all back together. But for me, I would still prefer something to be in its original place. However, due to the building of the Aswan Dam that caused the flooding of the Sahara Desert and formation of Lake Nasser, the two temples were in danger of being flooded over and become underwater temples if it was not re-located. So, I guess it's better that it was moved to its new location, eh?

After 90 minutes of taking ridiculous amounts of pictures outside of the two temples, holding the temple key, ankh - which symbolizes 'life' in Egyptian hieroglyphs, guarded by the Nubians - the residents of Abu Simbel - that opens the two temples, and taking pictures INSIDE the temples even though it was PROHIBITED, we finally went back to the bus which was air-conditioned - thank the Egyptian gods because it was bloody hot outside with temperatures already in the high 90s- to low 100s Farenheit (and it was their winter/spring season, mind you!).

Another 30 minutes at the airport were spent waiting for our flight back to Aswan and back on the riverboat as we sail down the River Nile - which really means we were sailing north since the River Nile runs from south to north.

We arrived on the riverboat, had lunch, and enjoyed the views of the Nile River Valley as we sail down the River Nile to Luxor.

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Abu Simbel
photo by: ellechic