, pub-2901454804057242, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 La Vie En Pink: Abu Simbel and Kom Ombo

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Abu Simbel and Kom Ombo

No words can describe my feelings toward Abu Simbel. I'm having a hard time generating and putting my feelings into words. So, I'll start at the beginning of the day. 

We had another early rise with a departure time of 6:30am to get to the airport for the day trip to Abu Simbel. I wish we had time to sit down and enjoy our delicious breakfast at the Sofitel Cataract Hotel, but we rushed through our pastries and coffee to meet our driver to head over to the airport. The flight to Abu Simbel is just a quick half an hour away and the majority of the plane was filled with tourists on the same itinerary. 

By the time my sleep-deprived eyes dozed off, we had already landed and taxied into the airport. Our driver met us and whisked us away for the 10 minutes drive through the Nubian village of Abu Simbel to visit the temple of Ramses II. 

It amazes me that Abu Simbel is another piece of history that has been transplanted from its original location, similar to Philae Temple (Goddesses in Aswan). The entrance to the temple showcases how the landmark was moved and the process. I still cannot wrap my mind around that concept. The temple is housed in an artificial mountain that was created just for it. The walk to the temple is serene, with the sun shining down on the blue water. The short walk turns the corner to the entrance, with four massive statues of Ramses II guarding his sanctuary.

I felt displaced in the world as if this could not be in front of me and I was not looking at this temple that was built around 1260 BCE. Now don't get me wrong, Philae temple, the pyramids, and the Sphinx were amazing, but whenever I have pictured Egypt in my mind, I have always imagined grand statues of Pharaohs and beautiful depictions of history on the walls. I just stood there mesmerized by the sheer size and detail of the monument. 

Inside is as spectacular as the outside with the scenes of war and opulence that Ramses II cultivated during his rule. He was extremely in love with his image and made sure that his likeness was plastered all over the walls. His statues inside of the temple showed his image as he would be in death so that he would live on forever. The sanctuary, which was only open to the high priests and Ramses II himself had a statue of the Pharaoh, putting him on the level of god and life. Ramses II knew that he had to immortalize himself, and he did exactly that by making sure that people came to see his accomplishments both in ancient and modern times. 

Next to his temple is a smaller temple dedicated to Ramses II's wife, Nefertari. He had this temple built first so that there was no room for error in his grander temple next door. What I found remarkable is that Ramses II made his wife the same size as him in the statues. Throughout the rest of the trip, we learned that many Pharaohs would incorporate their wives on their statues, but at a quarter of their own size. This entire temple dedicated to Nefertari was stunning. It was also dedicated to the Goddess Hat-Hur which depicted the cow deity throughout the adorned temple. 

Both of these displaced temples were emblematic and resemblant to the ancient Egyptian culture. We soaked up the rest of our time before we had to get back to the one-gate airport for our flight. When my family and I reflected on this trip, we all agreed that Abu Simbel was our favorite monument that we visited. 

Once we reached Aswan, we made our way to the Amwaj Nile cruise. I do NOT recommend doing a Nile River Cruise for your first time in Egypt. I thought it to be a bit of a waste of time. Our cruise was okay, not the sumptuous luxury that I imagined and had hoped for, but it was doable. After Abu Simbel, we got onto the cruise and had a somewhat decent lunch. We then left the docked cruise to go to Kitchener island which housed the botanical garden. We got to the garden via felucca boat which was a fun and breezy way to get out on the lake. The botanical garden can be missed and was not a must-see sight in Aswan, unless you are very into plants and agriculture. We took our felucca back to the boat and were confined to our cruise. 

We were sandwiched inbetween two other cruise boats, so we could not even open our curtains without the next door boat peering into our room. The food on the boat was not the best, but we ate our dinner and called it an early night to catch up on sleep. 

The only good thing about the next day was that we were able to sleep in. But we wasted the entire rest of the day because we were still docked and sandwiched. The itinerary orginally said that we would sail early in the morning at 4am, but we did not leave until 3pm and we made our way to Kom Ombo. 

We entered Kom Ombo, the temple dedicated to crocodile God Sobek and Haroeris at around 5pm. The sun was setting and we got to see the temple at night, we resulted in not the best pictures. It is astonishing to see a culture that makes the feared sacred. Crocodiles were known to eat fisherman and attack boats on the Nile, so instead of fearing the animals, the ancient Egyptian's prayed to the God Sobek to ask for his mercy. Kom Ombo's south side is dedicated to this god, and the nothern side is dedicated to Haroeris, another form of Horus for the lower part of Egypt. The temple is beautiful, and the side museum housing the mummifed crocodiles are truly a sight to see. After visiting Kom Ombo we went back to boat and departed on our way to Edfu for the next day.

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