When the wake up call came through at 2.30am we were unbelievably awake. Not happy but awake never the less. We had to join a 3.30am convoy for the 300km trip to Abu Simbil. Everyone was on time so we grabbed our brekky boxes and boarded to head to the starting point. About 30 buses joined the convoy and the race was on. Well you would think so anyway. The convoy is meant to regulate the speed of vehicles but it really didn't make a difference. Buses were passing buses, then getting passed themselves. Best not to look as we headed out into the desert so we all did our best to snooze.
As the sky stared to lighten we had a laugh at our breakfast boxes and ate what we could. The light brought with it the view of the desert. A scene of nothingness, but beautiful in it's own way. It's just dunes and rocks as far as the eye can see and reminds me of younger days traveling with mum and dad. Every now and again you come across dwellings that have long been abandoned, left to the desert as the people have given up trying to cope. I can't imagine summers here.
We made it to Abu Simbil about 7am. You arrive from behind so there's no big excitement as you arrive but that changes as you walk around the rock face. The statues are humungous, about 20 meters high on Ramses temple. His wife's temple is smaller with only 10 meter statues, but still impressive. Inside both temples it is unbelievable how well preserved they are, from colours on hieroglyphics to statues with all features intact. From inside and out you can see where it was cut to be moved and reassembled, but the job they have done is outstanding. The 2 hours we spent there flew by but we had to rejoin the convoy at 9am to head back. We could of stayed longer but that would be cutting onto our felucca time. It was such an amazing sight made the more impressive by seeing it last year on tv. We were impressed then. Who would of thought we would be standing at the very same place a year later.
After another grueling drive through the desert we arrived back at our hotel in Aswan. We had an hour to kill so just relaxed before the bus grabbed us to take us to the felucca. It is a traditional sailing boat with the whole deck just a mattress. That was our entire lodging on one deck. The toilet was whatever bank we pulled up on. Our food was served on the deck and at night we pulled over to sing songs, drink and dance around a camp fire. The drinking continued with card games on the deck before everyone grabbed a blanket and curled up asleep side by side. We've had an amazing time but the 1 night was definately enough.