The Great Pyramids, Walking like an Egyptian and sailing the Nile via Felucca


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April 8th 2013
Published: April 8th 2013
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Greetings all and happy Easter from Dahab.

Just over a week ago I arrived in the wee hours of the morning to our lovely resort in Cairo. It was great to reunite with Amy and we stayed up chatting until we heard the morning call to prayer at 4am. I very much enjoyed a bit of shut eye in my very comfortable bed after 54 days on a blow up mat, in a tent.

The next morning we enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast by the pool in the sunshine and heat. Amy was very excited to finally catch some rays after a dragging winter in London. We spent the day sunbaking, reading, and swimming which was very relaxing and that night we met our tour group and guide Meaga, to find out what the upcoming week entailed. We then went for a buffet dinner on a boat on the Nile where we were treated to an interactive belly dancing performance and a lit up whirling dervish as well as some Egyptian karaoke. What more could one want in an evening!

The next day saw us heading to the west bank of the Nile, Giza, to see the Great Pyramids. They were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Before we hit the Great Pyramids we firstly went to the Saqqara pyramid which was a large stepped, semi impressive pyramid. It was hard to get too excited because we knew what was to come. The Great Pyramids are thought to have been built in 2589-2566 BC! Over 2 300 000 blocks of stone were used, with each stone averaging 2.5 tonnes each and 140m high in total. Cheops and Chephron are the other two slightly smaller pyramids on the site. Although smaller, Chephron Pyramid has been built at a steeper angle resulting in the illusion that it is the same size of the Great Pyramid. Picking up from our posing in Pompeii, Amy and I took to walking like an Egyptian and holding up the pyramids in a little photo shoot. The sheer size of the pyramids, their age, and how they were built is absolutely incredible and left you wondering about the theories and in awe of the enormity of effort required to construct them. We then went on a short little camel ride, as you do, with a nice back drop of the pyramids. Texas was my camel and Amy was riding Colin, both well behaved and obliging. We cracked the old camel toe joke before having a little stroll and gallop on our camels.

From here we went down to the impressive monument that is, the Sphinx. Sphinx means ‘strangler’ and is a creature which has the head of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. The Egyptian Sphinx is usually the head of a king wearing his headdress and the body of a lion. Once again, after a few kissing poses with the Sphinx we had a buffet lunch and then visited a perfume shop, where we sipped on some Egyptian tea whilst testing many perfumes. Smelling pretty, we set out on a five hour drive down to Hurghada. It turned our that our resort was filled with Russian tourists and after our buffet dinner (yep again, I’m going to be rolling home) we were treated to the ‘Disco Tec’. The scene was like watching across between Eurovision and the movie A night at the Roxbury at the and left us laughing hysterically at not only the diamante outfits but also the creative dance moves.

Following a lovely sleep in and morning by the pool we had more lunch time entertainment as we were perusing the buffet to a good 50 odd Russians performing some aqua aerobics in the resort pool. Once again, this left us in fits of giggles, as Amy suggested it was like the eastern European version of Kellermans (the all-inclusive resort in Dirty Dancing). The afternoon drive took us to Luxor, one of Egypt’s largest tourist destinations built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes. Enjoying some local cuisine at the local Irish pub Murphy’s we picked out a Tarkosch pendant each with our names on them in hieroglyphics.

I apologise for my lack knowledge of dates and kingdoms and dynasties, 4000 years of ancient history is a lot pharohs and kingdoms to get your head around in seven days but will do my best to give you a bit of history. The next morning we set out to the Valley of the Kings. This is a secluded dry gully which houses the tombs of the kings from Thutmose I, in the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom period. Here, we saw the tombs of King Ramese !!, Siptah, and one other king I can’t remember the name of. We then visited our mate Tuts’ tomb, where we saw his mummified body, however the contents of his tomb is in the museum in Cairo that we would see on Saturday. Tuts was a pretty little king of about 5 foot and ruled from the age of nine until he died when he was 21 years old. The hieroglyphics within all of the tombs were beautiful and the vibrant colours very well preserved. A little hot and bothered (we found out it can get up to 50 degrees in the Valley of the Kings in July) we sourced an Egyptian Calipo and headed to the temple of Hatchepsut (pronounced Hat-ship-suit, say that one a few times quickly!). Hatchepsut was the first and only queen who was a ruler in the new kingdom. Her temple was once again quite impressive, but slightly spoilt by a huge group of Egyptian male uni students, who gawked and hassled us. We continued on that afternoon to Aswan, Egypt’s southern most city and the country’s gateway to Africa. That evening we enjoyed a felucca ride along the Nile to a Nubian Village. We enjoyed a typical Nubian meal in a typical Nubian style house and watched the host’s six year old son, play with his little pet crocodile. I also got some Henna painted on my hand and we enjoyed a Nubian sing a long on the felucca ride home.

The next morning saw a 3am start to head out to Abu Simbal, a hugely impressive temple that was relocated in 1964 due to the construction of the High Dam, which now provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt. Abu Simbal was an incredibly impressive temple that honours King Rameses !!. The story of the battles he was involved in were shown inside the temple walls with incredible detail. You would also never know that the temple had been relocated if you were not told, they did a very good job with their move and restoration. Next to this temple, was a slightly smaller temple that was built for King Rameses’ II wife, Nefertari.

Back in Aswan that afternoon, we enjoyed a visit to the Philae Temple honouring the goddess Isis and her connection with Osiris, Horus and the Kingship in the Ptolemaic period. That afternoon, we met up with our Nubian friends again and boarded our Felucca called Braveheart. The Braveheart Bitches and Ben set sail enjoying the sunset, some cards and a few drinks. Sailing the felucca exceeded our expectations and was lovely and peaceful as we quietly sailed down the Nile. The second day on our Felucca saw much relaxing in the sun, swimming, reading and eating. That night with many sunburnt bodies, we had a bonfire with some traditional Nubian music and some drinking and dancing for Nicola’s 30th birthday. One highlight of the night was when Claire a girl on our felucca, fell into the Nile whilst walking the plank onto the Felucca. The whole boat laughing hysterically, poor Claire clambered back on the board claiming she has always had poor balance and that it had nothing to do with the Vodka that was consumed.

Saying goodbye to our Nubian friends we visited Edfu Temple before heading back to Luxor. After a poolside lunch and swim we set off to see the biggest temple in the world the Temples of Karnak. This was a spectacular series of monuments that were the main place of worship In the Theban times. They could be divided up in to the Amun Temple Enclosure, the Mut Temple Enclosure and the Montu Temple Enclosure. Two huge obelisks were also situated here. The height of these monuments and the size of this temple actually made you feel as though you were in an ancient city, rather than a temple. That evening we visited a Pylorus shop, where they demonstrated how they make the paper and purchased a few little mementoes. That evening we boarded an overnight train, everyone very pleased that we would be lying horizontal in our own private sleeper cabins not reclined like all the other tour groups on the train to arrive 3 hours late (that’s Egyptian time for you) back to Cairo.

Our guide Meaga had been telling us about the political uprisings of recent times and telling us how sad and angry he is with the current government in power (the Muslim Brotherhood) who were corruptly elected after the revolution two years ago. He explained that they are extremists and are not looking after the country and their people. Very recently, they have shot people dead on the streets in Cairo and Alexandria, and then denied that they are responsible and are not being trialled. Meaga was sad to say that he thought that the violence would probably only become worse in the next few months. He did reassure us that he would not take us to the museum in Cairo if it was not safe. Fortunately we were able to visit the Egyptian Museum, where we were able to consolidate the millions of facts we had learnt over the past week, as well as see the treasures of what was found in Tut ankh amun’s tomb. The jewellery and gold were exquisite as well as the golden coffins and other statues. We also went into the royal mummies section where we saw the mummies of several Kings. They were a little bit gross for some, no worse than a cadaver for me and pretty incredible how well preserved I thought.

That afternoon we visited the Citadel and mosque and learnt a bit more about Islam before heading off to the local bazaar Khan Ek Khalilli. Willing to have a joke with some of the locals who offered to marry us, promise to have what we were looking for (even though we didn’t) or accusing us of breaking their hearts, we managed to pick up a few little bargains and birthday presents for each other.

Back to our resort in Cairo we had a re-pack, sorted out my lost credit card and phoned home for Easter.

We are off to Dahab tomorrow for some diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea before heading on to Jordan.

Happy Easter to everyone

Love to all and will be seeing you all very soon.

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