After four nights on the Nile cruise, we awoke early and boarded a short flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel for a quick tour of the two temples on site before boarding another flight back to Cairo.
Abu Simbel: Built by Ramses II, Egypt’s longest ruling pharaoh, it’s one of the most recognizable images in the country. It’s actually two temples: the Great Temple of Ra-Harakhte, fronted by four colossal statues of Ramses II and the temple of Hathos, dedicated to Ramses’ favorite wife Queen Nefertari. They were both moved to their current location when the creation of Lake Nasser threatened their existence.
With two more days in Cairo before our departure back to Jordan, our last outing was an Islamic walking tour which included Sultan Hassan’s Mosque and a walk down the main street of the walled city of Cairo, one fortified gate to another, followed by last-minute shopping in the souk.
Sultan Hassan Mosque: The Mosque of Sultan Hassan, completed in 1363, is one of the finest in Egypt. In recesses around its open courtyard, each of the four school of Sunni Islam was taught to students, and in its mausoleum, Sultan Hassan’s sons are buried.
On the drive back to the hotel after a great day of walking and shopping, Raj eyed a shwarma stand on the side of the road and asked our driver to stop to get us some. I’ll admit, I was hungry, but I knew better! Despite my trepidation with ‘street food,’ I ignored my inner voice and fell prey to Raj’s urgings to ‘live a little.’ Of course I got sick the next day (our travel day) at both the airport and on our flight home…while Raj was just fine…I suppose I have to forgive though with ALL of the bargaining he did for me throughout our shopping excursions.