After ten days in Luxor we took a train to Aswan in southern Egypt. We assumed that with over a million people, Aswan would be a little too big for our tastes, so we didn’t have high hopes for the city. Basically, we went there because Aswan is the jumping off point for seeing Abu Simbel.

The city surprised us, though, as being more laid back and slower than Luxor (especially in the souq), and we enjoyed ourselves. With only about three days there, and a full day taken for seeing Abu Simbel and other sights, we really didn’t have time to explore the city much, but we did cross over to Elephantine Island, home of two Nubian Villages.

There was a great deal of poverty in Luxor and Aswan, but it was nothing compared to what we saw on the island. There were no roads, just narrow dirt paths between houses and fences, most of which were built of mud bricks and were in poor shape. We had to keep reminding ourselves this was real, and it felt much more intrusive to be on the island than to be in the cities. Still, one woman invited us into her home for some tea and Amy bought a bracelet from her. We went on a tour of a very simple museum explaining Nubian culture, and later a man who said he was the chief of the village took us on a felucca (small sailboat) ride. We probably spent less than €20 the whole day, but this was how the locals made their living.

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