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Published: February 22nd 2012
The train from Cairo to Aswan ended up taking 15 hours so it was lucky that it was one of the most comfortable trains I'd ever been on. The seat reclined most of the way, although the a/c was on the whole way which made it fairly cold.
I arrived early afternoon in Aswan and as soon as I got on to the platform I was approached by somebody looking to get me to their hotel. But as he was from one of the hotels I planned to check out and the price was fairly cheap I agreed to take him up on his offer of a lift to the Horus hotel.
Before I had even seen the room, another guy had me sat down trying to sell me tours to Abu Simbel and Felluca rides. I told them I would think about it and had a lie down in my room. I ended up booking the Abu Simbel tour for the next morning. When I say morning, it was at 3.30 a.m. that night.
I went for a walk along the corniche and got something to eat. I had heard great things about Aswan. It was supposed
to be much more chilled out than Cairo, with less of the hassle or scams. I can't say that I saw a whole lot of difference and even something like buying food was more of an ordeal than in Cairo - and worked out far more expensive, unless it was street food.
I went back to my room early enough to get some sleep before the Abu Simbel tour. Having a three inch mattress and some sort of nightclub going on the floor above me meant I lay awake until it was time to get on the bus.
It's over 3 hours to Abu Simbel from Aswan and all the tour buses ride in a convoy, as there are some security issues in the area. Our bus was packed with cramped seats and no A/c. Somehow, I was neither asleep or awake properly for the journey there and back.
Abu Simbel is at the very southern end of Egypt and looks on to Lake Nasser, which borders Sudan. The two tombs are well worth the ordeal of getting there. Inside, where you can't take photos, the hyroglyphics are amazing. We were given 2 and half hours there,
agai was probably a bit much.
Next we were taken to the Aswan High Dam, which is basically a big dam, that they charge you to see. Fairly underwhelming. We then went to the Temple of Philae. This is on an island in the Nile. After you pay your entry fee, you still have to pay a boat driver to take you out there. Being Egypt, this involved quite a bit of time trying to haggle down the price of the boat and eventually we got over to the island. The Philae Temple was originally on another island and was moved to the current island because it was going to be flooded after the High Aswan Dam was built. We were due to go to the Unfinished Obelisk, but everyone was so wrecked at that stage that we just asked to go back to Aswan.
Back in Aswan, I made my way to the Sudanese Consulate only to find it closed at 3. After another failed attempt at the Sudanese Visa, I went to bed.
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