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July 18th 2012
Published: July 18th 2012
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Just Setting OffJust Setting OffJust 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 At Ancient Abu 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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


The Vast Wasteland of Abu The Vast Wasteland of Abu
The Vast Wasteland of Abu

The ruins in this picture are mostly of the Roman settlement. Very hot.
Looking Out from AbuLooking Out from Abu
Looking Out from Abu

In the upper left is the Tomb of Shah Aga Khan, and on the right, in the distance, a monastery - in Aswan, different religions are right up next to one another (and no one seems to mind).
Building through HistoryBuilding through History
Building through History

Temples are built right on top of each other. History runs deep in the area, literally.
The ancient NilometerThe ancient Nilometer
The ancient Nilometer

Used to measure the height of the Nile. See the marks on the side?
Abu Temple Guard with a Human SkullAbu Temple Guard with a Human Skull
Abu Temple Guard with a Human Skull

Strange. He randomly stopped and pulled it out of a big pile of rocks. I didn't ask any questions, just nodded and smiled.

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