Travel in Egypt: Aswan, Abu Simbel, and Sailing on the Nile

Salam and welcome to Aswan! 😀

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Accommodation: 

While in Aswan, our group stayed at the Helnan Hotel.helnanThe rooms were quite comfy, yet the WiFi strength was almost non-existent. We were also up too early to have their breakfast buffet, so instead we received these packaged meals.DSC_7906I’ve never heard of chips for breakfast, and the sandwiches were quite processed, but at least they made for good treats to feed the precious street dogs. 😛DSC_7910

Attractions:

Aswan

Aswan is Egypt’s southernmost city, and prospered for many years along the caravan route, as a gateway into Africa. Like Cairo and Giza, it is also situated along the Nile River. DSC_7972Highlights of Aswan include a massive High Dam, which provides irrigation and electricity to the whole country. 2016-12-02 12.57.00Likewise, although the temples in Aswan are not necessarily a highlight, one of Egypt’s most beautiful temples is just a short 3.5 hour-drive away. 😀IMG_0581
Abu Simbel Temple

These two massive rock temples were carved into a solid rock cliff, and overlook Lake Nasser, on the border of Sudan.15250772_10106016199639577_1394556699936893260_oThe greater temple honors Ramses II, and is known as one of the most beautiful in Egypt.DSC_7954DSC_7952 DSC_7956The lesser temple honors Hathor, the goddess of love, joy, and motherhoodDSC_7942 DSC_7950DSC_79392016-12-02 17.36.38Fun fact: the temple was relocated by UNESCO in 1959, to save it from rising sea levels.DSC_7958DSC_7946Cost: As an optional activity, it cost 60 USD. This include the 7-hour round-trip transportation, entrance fees, and guide.DSC_7911
Activities:

Felucca Sailing on the Nile
We also spent two days in Aswan, cruising in a Felucca Sailboat along the Nile.15259667_10106025833657927_2129460978830050659_oOur tour group of 30 was split up between three boats, and the people on my boat got on real well. There was a couple from New Zealand who work in animation on movies like Lord of the Rings and Avatar. There was also an Australian who had recently spent 5 months traveling across East Africa, doing the same trip I would be doing starting next month. It was nice to ask her questions about the trip and start reading her book, Love, Life, and Elephants.DSC_8027We all slept on the deck of the boat, which was covered in a mattress and bed sheet. The outer deck was wrapped in sheets and even decorated with Christmas lights, like an adult-sized fort. So much fun! 😀felucThe crew also prepared our meals while on the Felucca. Our first day we dined on falafel, kofta meatballs, and whole wheat
pita, a specialty in Egypt. On day two we dined on eggs, stewed broad beans and coffee for breakfast, then later a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern dips. brekkibrekkie4They had spicy eggplant dip, tuna with onions, cucumber/tomato salad, and whipped potatoes.brek7One of my favorite things was a spicy tomato and potato soup.brek5As for the other boats, they were full of extroverted Aussies who enjoyed the cheap drinks, and sure knew how to have a good time. 😀DSC_8013 We spent one full day sailing up the Nile, enjoying beers, beach swims, and worrying very little about anything, other than working on our tan.DSC_8006DSC_7996DSC_8001The biggest concern was that there were no toilets on the boat, so all of us had to find natural toilets when we stopped at shore. 😮

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potty break at the beach

DSC_8005Anyway, in the evenings, we would all gather together on the beach for a bonfire before cuddling up in our warm blankets and sleeping on the sea.DSC_7967DSC_8023We awoke in the morning to cows mooing in the nearby field, and horses galloping on the shore.
DSC_7985DSC_7980Anyway, at this point, we had seen so many historic sites, and we’d made our way up and down the length of the country, with over 9-hours of driving each day. Needless to say, we were all ready to settle in one place and enjoy a little beach vaca. 🙂DSC_7974For this we headed toward the coast, to Dahab, where we’ll be enjoying Red Sea views, and hopefully some spectacular diving as well. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until then. 🙂

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