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Published: July 18th 2012
Just Setting Off
Another beautiful shot of the Nile.
Convenient being already on Elephantine Island, since this is the oldest part of Aswan. So today I basically just walked down the island. But some interesting things happened along the way. Once you leave the Movenpick you immediately hit two Nubian villages, which are beautiful enough in their way - mudbrick houses, with some farmland attached to them, and a bunch of goats, sheep, and donkeys wandering around. I was led through the villages by a nice young Nubian, and this half-naked little Nubian boy who followed about 10 yards behind me, and was carrying this gigantic walking stick. I found the whole situation very funny and had a grin the entire time. But I was led right up to the gate that goes into the site of Ancient Abu, what this area was at one point called.
This is a massive wreak of a place, with 4-5 ruined temples dating from the earliest pharaonic times, all the way to the Romans and Christianity. I was helped through the site by a nice older temple guard who said he'd been working at the place for over 20 years. He took me to some off-limit places, which was nice, and we
At Ancient Abu
What makes this interesting is the chiseled in Christian cross in the lower right hand corner.
truly covered this sweltering hot area right at the very end of the island. From here I took a quick ferry boat across the Nile to the Old Cataract Hotel, another ritzy type of place where Agatha Christie is said to have written some of "Death on the Nile." Then finished at the excellent Nubian Museum up the street. The main take away from this museum: most people don't realize that the High Dam and Lake Nasser basically submerged major Nubian sites, and a huge part of Nubian history was lost below the waters. Actually, a lot of temples were piece-by-piece taken apart and reconstructed. Over the next couple of days these temples are the places I'll be going to.
I really like Nubia. The people are very gentle, quiet people, and the haggling that nearly drove me insane in Luxor is virtually nonexistent here. They truly seem to take an interest in foreigners and you don't feel like they expect a tip. They help because, well, why wouldn't they? A great place to end this very long trip. Makes me want to at some point venture deeper into Africa.
Tomorrow I arranged a driver through Thomas Cook
to take me the 2 hours or so South to Abu Simbel. Very excited. This will mark the absolute farthest extent that I will have traveled on this trip (in terms of how far South I've gone since landing in Istanbul). Should be great.
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