January 26, Lake Nasser, Egypt
Today was wonderful.
I woke up just before 7.00am and laid in bed reading until breakfast. I’m re-reading the Hunger Games for the fifth time. I can’t help myself. It’s so good. But! Breakfast was at 8.00am so I couldn’t read forever. I had an omelet and cereal with tea. I must say, I’m loving the tea times Egypt has here. Traces of the English ruling can be found in that practice.
After breakfast, we explored a temple. The temple was small but covered in hieroglyphs. As we arrived at the temple, I asked the guide if I could touch it. He responded with, “You may touch anything you like.” So I touched everything. I ran my fingers along the carvings, drawing falcons and Pharaohs. I put my palms onto the wall of the temple. I laid on the floor of another temple. I took my shoes off and walked around barefoot soaking up the temple from my toes. I walked through doors that should have been bolted shut but left ajar.
What was so amazing was the fact that thousands of years ago, someone took the time to carves each and every hieroglyph, column, statue, and effigy. Their lives work was to create lasting images and tell stories. They were artists and authors. They were historians and religious leaders. And I got to see, touch, understand their work all this time later.
We learned about Egyptian history and listened to our tour guides. After listening for an hour, I needed some exploration time. Mom and Dad, I did wander away from the group but I never left the temple site.
I wandered first around the back of the temple. I came face to face with a massive carving. These were not normal hieroglyphs. They weren’t flat against the wall. Instead, it appeared as though there were people stuck in the side of the temple! The detail of their faces and roundness of their calves and length of their toes have the appearance of real people with animal heads. My hands shot into the air as I reached to touch them. All I could reach were the legs and feet. I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story when he runs his hand up the leg lamp. I was that taken back by what I saw.
Next I ran into Laura, who had broken away from the group to go on a solo adventure. We wandered around the site. I climbed columns; she sat on stones. I explored the ancient world away from the fifty other tourists in our group. Sometimes it’s difficult to adsorb a place when there’s a mass horde of people surrounding you. You have to get away to get the real feel. We spent just over two hours at the temple site before heading back to the boat.
The other best part of today was the lunch! Today, I ate quail. And it was AWESOME! I’d never had quail before! When I walked into the dining hall and saw the sign stating what the grilled bird was, I half shouted, “I was some of that!!” I had two pieces. Oh it was so good! And I had sea bass and carrots and broccoli and potatoes. I feel like a grown up eating all of these healthy foods. But that quail though… Man! It was good!
I’ve spent the afternoon reading and soaking up the sun. I’m a touch sun burnt but not too bad. Tomorrow will be more exploration. They said the temples only get better from that one. I can’t even imagine what I will see.
As you can tell, I am easily amused. That was the smallest temple we saw in our entire two weeks in Egypt, but it had the largest impact. That was the first temple. It was the first hieroglyphs. I wish I could fully express you what it was like to place my hand on the temple walls. For a small moment, I was connected to people from two thousand years ago. I time traveled.
Looking back at the pictures from this particular temple, I can’t help but laugh at how small and insignificant it is in comparison to the other we saw. However small it was though, I do remember it best.
When I wrote this post back in January, I couldn’t remember the name of the temple. Lucky for you all, I’ve taken the time to go back and look everything up. This temple was called the Temple of Kalabsha. You’re welcome! (And your welcome for my future self to remember that!)