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Friday, June 22, 2007

Today we take the convoy to Abu Simbel. Pick up at the hotel is 3:30 am, so ten very bleary eyed people got onto the van to take a ride. But they don’t care, because there is much excitement about visiting Ramesses II’s most famous monument. You see Adam, at the entrance, with Jon, Jessica, and Sarah around him. Then all of us happily heading toward this great rock cut temple.

Adam at the entrance to Abu Simbel.
The group at Abu Simbel.



A group shot at Abu Simbel.

Our group photo for this season could not have a more wonderful setting! Jim has thoughtfully brought this Hopkins banner all the way from Baltimore so that we could use it, and this just seemed like the right moment. Everyone is smiling ear to ear. It’s a great picture, and Ramesses couldn’t resist putting his face right into it! Typical.

Sarah taking pictures.
The sun god above the doorway to the temple.

Abu Simbel, the most famous of the salvaged monuments from the building of the High Dam, is erected within and in front of an artificial dome that has been disguised as a rock face.  But the sandstone of the original temple and its incredible façade sculpture, are as authentic as when they were carved for the pharaoh more than 3250 years ago. Sarah is busy taking pictures such as this one -- the sun god placed above the doorway to the temple. You can also see the queen who is dwarfed by the king’s knee to her left.



A few steps away is the smaller temple of Ramesses’ great wife Nefertari, where the king and she alternate as façade figures. Adam, looking so pleased at the visit, stands like one of the guardian figures to the temple. It’s only about 8:30 in the morning, and I think that by noon he would ready to give this up and leave the king and queen on duty. Dorothy’s constant wonderful mood is just as much fun here as everywhere else. We could not resist putting in this snap shot of her.

Adam at Abu Simbel.
Guardian figures at the temple.
Dorothy at Abu Simbel.



Not at all a damper to our great visit, but just a reminder that Abu Simbel really is 230 km south of Aswan and all the road is desert. We had a flat tire and had to crawl out to await the change. But we had a great driver with a ready spare. No worries – just real heat. And now it’s another six hour drive back to Luxor, but we have had a great time.

A flat tire in the desert.
Changing the flat tire.



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