Blogs from Upper Egypt, Egypt, Africa

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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan March 10th 2014

14 December, 2012 Waving goodbye to Sudan, we headed off into the Egyptian dark. Originally the agreed plan had been to stop at Abu Simbel, only 20km or so from the border but the Egyptians now had other ideas and wanted us to continue all the way to Aswan. Feeling terrible for Suse and Nat up the front, the three of us in the back rugged up in sleeping bags and blankets and dozed, only sitting up when we arrived in the town. It was almost 1am and Suse was exhausted, having been unable to convince the police that she was too tired to continue. We parked near a train station on the outskirts of town and Suse slept in the front while the four of us spread out in the back and fought with mosquitos ... read more
Felucca with friends, Aswan
Hieroglyphs, Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt December 2nd 2013

One thing I definitely wasn’t expecting when I went to Egypt last December with a broken leg was a marriage proposal from a man who asked my dad whether he would depart with his only daughter (me) in return for five camels. An interesting start to a holiday. Then again, I hadn’t read any of the guidebooks and went to Egypt, relying on my mother who had not failed to research the country in great depth. One thing guidebooks warn you about is the conmen who stand outside the airport – unfortunately this useful bit of knowledge was something my mother did not have. We had naively handed our luggage over to a local who promised to take it to our car but instead, demanded money after he had pushed it a few steps. An outrage ... read more
Riding camels
The view from our room - the boat was in the way
The Nile

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan October 23rd 2013

After the week-long emotional high of Libya, we were soon brought back to earth by the worst place on earth: the Egyptian border offices at Salloum. Suspicion, arrogance, repeated searches, requests for "tips", and endless bureaucracy was the theme of the day. We were ushered into the dark, grime-smeared corridors of a rotting building to get our passports stamped. Shifty characters loitered about, eyeing us up with what seemed to be a mixture of curiosity and resentment. Finally we were issued through to a dark room with a large desk where three uniformed guys sat. We were introduced to "The General" who with incongruous politeness informed us that we would need to purchase our visa on exit from the country and then waved us away. I had organised a fixer to travel from Cairo to sort ... read more
Near Tahrir Square
Giza

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan » Nubia June 24th 2013

Day 43 – Aswan The bus wasn’t comfy but I managed to get some broken sleep in there. Mon and I had the most ridiculous sleeping positions to try and get comfortable. Legs in the air, half off the seat etc. We woke up early and had a pre-packed breakfast ready for us as the bus still had a few hours to go before we reached our destination. We got juice, croissants, cheese and surprisingly a boiled egg. Haha! We didn’t eat ours but drew faces on the eggs to amuse ourselves for a few minutes. Once we arrived we had a quick peek in our cabin on the boat…. very nice and headed to Philae Temple. It took a bus and boat to get us there and we had a local guide called ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Valley of the Kings May 4th 2013

Today we join the cruise...but before we do we are going to see The Valley of the Kings. The Collossi of Memnon was our first stop. It consists of two enormous twin stone statues of pharaoh Amenhotep III and was built in 1350 B.C. In 27 B.C. it was damaged by an earthquake. Next we traveled to Habu Temple and then to Queen Hatshepsut's temple. It was in in great shape and I think is one of the prettiest temples we've seen yet. Now to the Valley of the Kings...We were able to go in three funerary temples. Ramses II, Ramses III and Ramses IX. It was amazing how many royals were buried in this valley. Their temples were empty and some were very plain while others were colorful. King Tut's tomb was one of the ... read more
Colossi of Memnon
Colossi of Memnon
Donkey and cart

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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor May 3rd 2013

From Cairo, we flew on Air Memphis to Luxor (Thebes). We arrived at our hotel and then proceeded to the Karnak Temple. It is a vast open air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. Karnak is from the era of Ramses II in 1391-1351 B.C. It is located on the West Bank of the Nile River and consists of three distinct sections. The Precinct of Montu (son of Amun-Re and Mut) near the front. The Precinct of Amun-Re in the center and the Precinct of Mut (the wife of Amun-Re) near the Sacred Lake (used by priests for purification). On a frieze there are many battle scenes and many sections of sandstone with very clear images of ancient characters. After the Temple of Karnak, we proceeded to the Luxor Temple. It was ... read more
Giant Obelisk
Tim standing in front of Amon-Re
Entrance to Karnack Temple

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor April 23rd 2013

After the rush of our first couple of days in Egypt we slowed it down a bit and spent some time floating down the Nile on a felucca. The weather was perfect for it! Not too hot with a bit of a breeze and bright sunshine in a deep blue sky. We cheated a bit and had a second boat with some facilities meet us as designated spots for lunch and supper. It was a luxury that we all appreciated! The boat ride was a good opportunity for us to chat and get to know each other better, and to just sit back and watch the scenery go by. Or nap. Whichever. I can't say that a lot happened on the boat, but it was nice. Feluccas aren't allowed to sail after dark, so in the ... read more
the other felucca

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor April 23rd 2013

Luxor for me was a city of highs and lows. We started out our second day in the city by riding donkeys from the river to the Valley of the Kings. It was a neat way to get from point A to point B. The donkeys were cute and a bit sassy as donkeys tend to be. Mine was fairly well behaved and obedient for the most part. It had a tendency to follow the other donkeys very closely so I had to keep pulling it back to give the others some space. Eventually though, I kind of stopped caring and let it do what it wanted. What it wanted was to bite one of the other donkeys on the ass! We were following one of the other girls fairly closely and all of a sudden ... read more
in the tombs
mom

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Valley of the Kings April 18th 2013

Our first stop today was the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. We had to drive a little way out of town and into the desert before weaving our way through the mountains to get to this famous valley. The site itself does not look like much. Big rocky sandy mountains and nothing really resembling ancient royalty. The site was used as an ancient burial ground for the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt between 16th-11th century BC. Our guide advised us that about 64 burial chambers have been discovered. He told us that when a king started his reign, valley workers would start carving out the king's burial tomb. Over the period of his reign, they would dig and dig and dig until the day that the king died. At such time, the artists/carvers would arrive and ... read more
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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor April 17th 2013

We got a 'sleep in' Expat style today – 7am wake up call! But we were asleep by 10.30pm last night so had a good solid sleep. We got up, changed and headed down to breakie which was good. We both had fruit, croissant and an omelette so filled up nicely. We then headed off the boat and we had docked overnight in Edfu. The first thing we noticed – it stunk like horse crap! And sure enough there were horse and carriages everywhere. We got on one in groups of 4 and they took us on a 'city tour' of Edfu and we got told a total of "here is the hospital, here is the school, here is the market." We were hoping to god we didnt get sick in Edfu as the hospital looked ... read more
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