After we departed the amazing Valley of the Kings, we continued our journey south towards Aswan. On the way, in the evening, we were treated to a wonderful Egyptian party with dancing and some traditional music and also some more recent music too! It was great fun with many of us dressing up in some traditional galabeyas and some not so traditional dresses that still worked!
We had a fairly brief stop, the following morning, in Kom Ombo where we saw the Kom Ombo Temple along with the Crocodile Museum featuring mummified bodies of crocs.
The Kom Ombo Temple is unique in that it happens to be a double temple that was dedicated to both the crocodile god, Sobek and the falcon god, Horus.
It’s also famous for a wall at the back of the temple depicting the first surgical tools used by the ancient Egyptians dating back to sometime between 108 and 47 BC. Some of the tools shown include scalpels, forceps, scissors, dental tools, birthing chairs and bone saws.
Following our temple and museum visit, we were on our way again along the Nile River in the fertile valley sailing towards Aswan.
Approaching Aswan was very impressive with its’ beautiful highly photogenic Elephantine Island. There was much to see and do at this stop beginning with 2 very interesting boat tours, first on a smaller Bird Watching boat and then on a Felucca sailing boat. It was wonderful gliding around Elephantine Island and seeing it from the water and having some great narration about the birds and flora of this lush, botanical region.
The other very interesting visit was to the Old Cataract Hotel for ‘high tea’. This hotel is famous for its’ role in Agatha Christie’s “Death of the Nile” book and movies of the same name. Other famous people who have frequented this hotel in the past included Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Agatha Christie (of course), and many of the leaders of Egypt including Aga Khan and King Farouk. The views were incredible with an amazing sunset for us before we left after our beautiful high tea experience!
We had an optional tour the following morning to Abu Simbel that we elected to take. In as much as we had to get up early and travel by plane to get there, it was a worthwhile experience for most who attended this phenomenal visit.
Abu Simbel includes both the Great Temple built during Ramesses the Great’s rule and the Small Temple dedicated to the goddess, Hathor and Nerfertari, Ramesses the Great’s Queen.
What an amazing story with these 2 massive rock-cut temples needing to be disassembled and moved stone-by-stone. They had to be moved 213 feet higher and 690 feet further back to avoid flooding with the building of the new high dam at Aswan. This huge undertaking took 4 years from 1964 to 1968 to be completed.
Sadly, the building of the dam and creation of the huge reservoir, Lake Nasser, not only required these ancient structures to be monumentally moved but also required the resettlement of some 90-100,000 Nubians.
The evening following our visit to Abu Simbel, we had yet another wonderful party, this time fittingly with a tribute to the Nubian Culture. The gathering included some musical and dancing performances and even some very inclusive language 'fun' where Rene was the
star of the show, which was a lot of fun for everyone to watch! It was a great ending to a very long, interesting and eventful day.