Abu Simbel, Egypt

By Christy Collins

May 15, 2010

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Abu Simbel is another one of those places that it’s hard to believe you’re actually there. The four colossal statues of Ramses II that form the façade set the scene for the interior – put it this way: if he’d lived today, I don’t think he’d have been camera shy. I particularly enjoyed the tableaus of him “smiting” his enemies – varying between those showing the smiting in detail, and those conveying the actual number of enemies appropriately quaking in anticipation.

There’s a smaller temple off to the side that Ramses II commissioned to honour his wife, Nephertiti and he’s pretty prominent in that one too – in some ways Nephertiti’s temple is the more charming, its filled with scenes of the two of them offering flowers to the gods and there’s considerably less smiting and counting of the severed enemy hands in hers.

For this evening’s Egyptian fancy dress party I have acquired a rather fetching galabia in red with blue embroidery (the cheapest they had in the gift shop). They have promised games, prizes and general hilarity. Our tour guide has expressed that he’s keen that we (there are three tour separate groups, each with their own guide) win – it reminds me of school sports days.

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