Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but moving to Texas and starting the job search process over again has taken up most of my time. I’m really excited about this post because it is about my favorite place in Egypt…Abu Simbel!
Most people go to Egypt in hopes of seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx (that was what I was excited about), but there is something far better awaiting you in Egypt. In my opinion, the two temples built by Rameses ll at Abu Simbel surpasses the Pyramids in every way.
Set on Lake Nesser, the two temples provide insight into the artistic ability of the ancient Egyptians. The entrance to the main temple is guarded by four enormous statues. I began to have the Indiana Jones feeling again as I entered the temple; if only I had brought a whip (most likely a lot of people would have gotten hurt, myself included, if I had brought one). Inside the temple were statues acting as columns, carvings lining the walls, and paintings covering the ceilings. The temple was covered in artwork, inside and out. It was amazing that the artwork had been so well preserved after three thousand years of being exposed to the elements, not to mention both temples were moved to avoid flooding. One of the coolest parts of Abu Simbel was seeing the remaining blue, black, and yellow ink on some of the carvings. The colorful artwork gave me an entirely new appreciation of ancient Egyptian ingenuity.
The six standing statues outside the other temple were fun to examine because hieroglyphics bordered each statue. As I spent time observing the hieroglyphics, I began to understand some of the writings. It was crazy because one strand of hieroglyphics stated, “Everyone must donate money to Brandon so he can continue his world travels.” Who would have guessed that Ramses ll made a royal decree that would benefit me three thousand years later (I accept cash and checks, but no credit cards because I don’t have a place to swipe it). If you don’t believe me, go to Abu Simbel and read for yourself; otherwise, pay up!
Although Abu Simbel is amazing, there are a few negative things that I must mention. First, you have to stay in Aswan (I didn’t like Aswan very much), and the bus drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel takes about three hours each way. Second, there are a ton of tourist there because all of the buses ride in a convoy and arrive at the same time. Third, they only give you two hours to tour the temples. I spent a little more than two hours looking around and my bus almost left me (I would have had to start giving tours if my bus left me because I didn’t bring any money). As a side note, there are ways to spend more time at Abu Simbel and avoid the crowd (let me know if you want to hear about it). Even with these negative aspects of my trip to Abu Simbel, the temples were my favorite part of the the entire trip.