Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday, Feb 9th, Abu Simbel and Philae


Today’s adventure began 23 hours ago, and has involved a six-hour, round-trip bus caravan, an hour’s boat ride to an island, a great meal at a floating restaurant, a hike around two ruins relocated by the creation of a dam, four gauntlets through dozens of vendors hawking everything Egyptian, and a birthday party.

After our return, we visited the quarry where most of the world's obelisks were chiseled out of granite. The largest in the world still rests, broken and unused.

We ended the evening with a boat ride out into the middle of the Nile to an island which was designed to replace the ruins brought up from beneath Lake Nasser when Philae was inundated. it's a spectacular site, and the light and sound show includes the story of its resurrection.

The depression in the travel market has us showing up at ruins with only a few Europeans joining us. We’re really having fun, and are enjoying once again our travel colleagues on the trip with us from Adventures Abroad.

During this time of turmoil in Eqypt, the new government is trying its best to keep its guests (tourists) safe. That includes placing military personnel with us on our bus, and arranging them in a convey caravan with more personnel in the front and back. That may seem a bit heavy-handed, just to drive a few hundred miles across the desert, but it does make one feel welcome. And we can tell that tourism in Egypt is at an extremely low point currently.

It’s midnight, so I won’t go on much longer (I’m falling asleep on the sofa in the lobby) except to remind you all that our next few days will be spent sailing up the Nile to the southern limits of Eqypt. There is no wifi onboard the ship, and very little in towns at that end of the country. We’ll be back in touch when we can, and we hope you can spend the time taking a look at the photos we’ve posted so far. We’ve enjoyed the trip thoroughly, and are eager to see what more excitement comes our way.

To view the photos taken today, click on:Abu Simbel and Philae

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