More pictures have been posted at this web site: http://community.webshots.com/user/TomandHollyTravels Just click on the picture under Israel, Egypt and Jordan and then click next in upper right hand side to see next picture. Captions on top of pictures.
In the morning, we stopped the ship so we could all look at a fort built by the Pharaohs, to protect themselves from the enemies to the north. The fort had not been moved and was still very much on the high ground. Currently the French work all winter excavating the fort and are still finding artifacts. Speaking of enemies, we are currently only 25 miles from the Sudan border.
Some past history from the trip: The Muslims are excavating under Temple Hill in Israel, but dump their garbage over the wall. The Muslims keep their findings very secretive. No problem, the Jewish archeologists go and collect the garbage and have found all sorts of important artifacts to give them clues as to what is under the Temple.
Then on to Abu Simbel temples. One temple was built to Nefertari, the favorite wife, of Ramses II. The temple is built to her as a god. If you wanted to be a god, you just sort of turn yourself into one. The temple is dominated by four colossal statues, 60 feet high and directly facing the rising sun. The Statues are all of Ramses, with his queen and daughters at his feet. The statues as well as the entire temple were chiseled from the side of the mountain. However, her temple is very diminutive compared to the temple Ramses had built for himself. Deep into Ramses’s Temple there are four statues of Horus and of course Ramses and two other gods. Two days of the year, the statues of Ramses and Horus directly capture the rising sun’s glow as it reaches the interior of the sanctuary. It is good to see these temples last. They are remarkable. The art work is something. Ahmed was not allowed to enter these temples, so we had fun as a group walking through spouting off our knowledge of which god was which and reading all of the other hieroglyphics carved into the walls. Actually, I am rather impressed with how many we actually know.
Tonight we are going to a laser light show that supposedly shows the temples like they were. Now the challenge is going to be whether we can safely navigate the rocks, and steps complete with loose stones without injury. Luckily there is a full moon and I hope that helps. I guess we were supposed to bring flash lights but somehow we missed that bit of information.
Well we all found our way over the rocky, dusty, dark road to the light show last night. It was about a thirty minute walk each way. The light show was fascinating because it told the story of Ramses II using the paintings inside the temple. We were all pleased with ourselves because we had guessed what we were looking at in the afternoon quite accurately. Of course, we are definitely not Egyptologists because just when you are quite certain what god you are looking at you find you are wrong. There is some subtle difference in the painting and it is some god you have never heard of before.
This morning we are flying to Alexandria, the city built by Alexander the Great, spending today and tomorrow there and then taking a train to Cairo where we will spend another two days before flying on to Jordan. We should have better Internet from now on. Last night we stood along the rail of our ship over looking the Nile and had to pinch ourselves to believe that we were actually on the Nile River for the last 7 days.