Those of you who read my lengthy description of our airport adventure are probably interested to know if the rest of our trip to Aswan fared better than the first 12 hours. By the time we arrived at the guesthouse at 6 am in a small Nubian village outside of Aswan, we were exhausted. And we were only able to collapse into bed for a few hours before rising with the sun to catch a ride to our first site of the day. Despite our exhaustion, we were determined to see the sites.
This is the Nubian village we stayed in. It was quite colorful and (surprisingly for Egypt) quiet after dark!
We stayed in a cool guesthouse, like this one. Nubians paint pictures and designs on their houses, a custom that I hope to someday emulate.
Their architecture also makes use of domes, which keep the rooms cool and also amplify your voice in interesting ways.
During this trip, I got my first taste of shakshuka, a delicious breakfast dish of eggs, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and… other stuff.
On our first day in Aswan, we rode in a felucca up and down the Nile to visit all the sites. It was breezy and extremely relaxing, especially compared to driving.
Our felucca driver was very nice and we enjoyed talking with him and also sitting on the roof of his boat. We noticed that most feluccas were elaborately decorated…
Our first stop was Qubbet El-Hawa (meaning “dome of the wind” in Arabic). This hill-side site consisted of many Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom tombs of Egyptian nobles.
To get to the actual tombs, we left our comfortable boat and trekked up this really really long flight of very large stairs. This picture does not do justice to the size of the stairs, the exhaustion of climbing them, and the exuberation of reaching the top.
The tombs were beautiful and totally worth the long climb. This is a “false door” inside the tomb of Menkhu and Sabni. This is the “door” that his spirit was supposed to use to go in and out.
After the tombs, we stopped in the actual city of Aswan to eat and shop in the market. The part of the market meant for tourists was, sadly, almost empty, as you can see in this picture.
Our last stop of the day was the Nubian Museum! It was built in 1997 was very attractively designed, inside and out.
The Museum was pretty spiffy inside. The big guy in this picture is the one and only Ramses II, who wasn’t Nubian, but he built the statue in Nubia, so it totally counts.
So that was our first day in Aswan. We were extremely sleep deprived, but the tombs were awesome, the food was delicious, and the Museum was pretty. 10 out of 10, would see again. Stay tuned for Day 2 of our Aswan Adventure, “Abu Simbel: The Worst Day of the Year To Visit Abu Simbel.”