We leave Cairo and fly to Aswan where we stay in the lovely Old Cataract Hotel, one of the old British colonial treasures.Aswan is the last stop on the traditional Nile tours as here the cataracts begin (large boulders flung by giants into the river, making it impassable by anything but sailboats.) From Aswan we fly south to Abu Simbal (30 miles north of the border with Sudan) where the temple of Ramses II and Nerfertari, his favorite wife, have been lifted from their ancient perch 200 feet beneath their current location during the building of the Hgh Dam that flooded ancient Nubia. It’s impossible to comment coherently on the staggering scope of ancient Egyptian temples. Any one of them is a once in a lifetime experience. Together, they have rendered me speechless. Below are postcards from the road.
A quiet moment at the deeply old Cairo mosque of Sultan Hassan dating from 750 AD.
Nubian beauties in Aswan
How we roll. Private transportation:Hop on; hop off. North of Aswan.
At Philae Temple in Aswan. When Coptic Christians lived in the temple in the post-Ptolemiac and pre-Islamic period, they defaced many of the carvings of Egyptian gods and godesses. Plus ca change…
Women weaving and stringing beads in the Nubian Museum in Aswan. I try to buy necklaces but not one of two dozen women has change for the equivalent of $10. I ask to take their picture and they nod enthusiastically, When I snap the picture they freak out and turn their heads.
The cafe at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan. Out of a dream.
Nubian villagers relocated from old Nubia (Upper Egypt) in flooded Lake Nasser to Kom Ombo 40 km north of Aswan.
Baking bread in a lunch stop in Giza, Cairo.
The Mezzuzeh at the entrance to the Ben Ezra Synogogue, Cairo. The syogogue dates from the 9th century and is home to the famous Cairo Genizah. (Closed. No pictures allowed. Seriously; they made people erase them.)
Cool dudes at the Citadel walls of El Saladin, Cairo.
Nubian village on Elephantine Island, Aswan. A startling reminder of abject poverty in the shadow of the elite Old Cataract Hotel. The under footing was one part sand, one part goat shit and one part minced garbage.
The lovely Aswan Souk. Everywhere people welcomed us to Egypt. Tell your friends- we are safe! Come, come! (And buy, buy!)
The eternal Nile and its magnificent greenery.
In the midst of robed, covered women, we offer this cotton candy wedding dress.