Egypt and Austria - Week 7

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June 24th 2013
Published: June 24th 2013
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<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">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 Nubi show us around. He called us all Nubi’s group. He sat us down on the ground in the temple and taught us about the history of it. It was really cool to just sit there in this deserted place listening to his stories. Then he dragged on a bit. And a bit longer. Nubi also reads palms apparently so my left hand told him I will live ‘til I’m 120. I will have 3 girls and 2 boys. I will marry twice and my second husband will be Italian. However, he also said my first husband will be an Egyptian guide. Hint hint! Sorry Nubi, not interested.

After lunch we took a boat ride along the Nile to a small beach where we were allowed to swim in the Nile. Well you’d think in the 40 degree weather we’d be itching to get in but the water was freezing. I made it half in and was going no further. Next up we took a camel ride to a Nubian village. Apart from the getting up and down part it wasn’t too bad. In the village we went to school and had to learn to count to 10 in Nubian and Arabic. Then we had to do the Arabic alphabet. Our group got really into it and we were almost shouting the letters at the teacher. The teacher wrote my name on the board in Arabic and then had me come up and copy it. My name is much easier in English. We visited a Nubian family in their home and they had pet crocs. Not big ones but still… crazy! We did a bit of shopping in the town before headed back down the Nile in darkness.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 44 - Aswan

Well you’d think after the big day we had yesterday and the lack of sleep we got on the bus the night before that we all deserved a sleep-in. No chance. 2:45am wake-up call. Oh yes! If we weren’t on that bus by 3:15am it was leaving without us. We headed to Abu Simbel today which everybody told me is a must see. I didn’t quite realise just what was involved in getting there though. We needed a police escort to get there and back, and they only do them twice a day so we had the morning slot. The reason we were given for the police presence was that it was close to the Sudan border. Yep sure. Anyway it took almost 4 hours to get there so I was expecting something pretty damn spectacular for that effort and luckily it was INCREDIBLE!!! You walk around a mountain and begin to see these massive statues carved out of rock. You automatically go ‘WOW’ before you know you’ve said anything. Then you hear the echoes of ‘wow’ behind you as other people start to see it. Definitely a must see. There are two temples there. One was for Ramesas II and the other for his prettiest wife (cause he had many). It overlooks the dam and the spot where it used to be as it had to be moved when the dam was created. We had an hour or so to look around and then it was back onto the bus and back into the convoy.

Just before we got back to Aswan we stopped at a perfumery. They had heaps of essential oils and different blends. I bought a bottle of papyrus oil which smelt amazing. The plan for the rest of the day was a felucca boat ride and some markets. As I’d been on the boat yesterday and I’d had enough of being hassled to buy things I decided to give it a miss. It’s been a busy last few days and I needed some time to recharge, read a book and catch up on my blog entries.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 45 – Aswan

We had a lazy morning on the cruise boat deck. I got super burnt legs but only half of one leg and a quarter of the other. Weird. Needless to say I’ll be wearing long skirts for a few days to cover up my funny look. After lunch we headed to Edfu Temple by horse and carriage. We were warned by our guide that this would be a full on experience and not to take anything with us that we didn’t desperately need. A male had to travel in every carriage and there were all these other little rules. We were so glad to get back on the boat in our sanctuary.

For dinner tonight on the boat it was traditional food and if you wanted to you could dress up in traditional costumes. The food was great but the after party went a little flat. They got it going with a dance game called clumps which went fine. Then we were told the boat was going through a lock and we could go up to the roof to see it if we wanted. So everyone went up to look and no one came back to the party after, haha. So it had only lasted about 10 mins.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 46 – Luxor

Another early start this morning at 3:30am but we didn’t mind too much as Monica and I were going on a hot air balloon. Yippee! We got to fly near the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Nile, desert and farm land. It was also sunrise. Our flight went for 1 hour even though it was only supposed to be 40mins. Our pilot was excellent and the company that ran it were so professional. The highest we got was 1600 feet and we landed in a sugarcane crop. Our landing was so smooth that we didn’t even need to take the brace position.

Once we got plucked off the side of the road by our tour bus we headed to the Valley of the Kings. It was still quite early but everyone was melting. It must have been over 45 degrees. Going into the tombs wasn’t too bad because they were quite cool but our local guide kept talking to us outside in the sun. He didn’t read the signs of people not paying attention, waving paper at our faces, slinking off to the side to get some shade and the sheen everybody had all over them from sweat. Can’t say I was enjoying it much. Our next stop was the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut which was slightly cooler because the breeze could get to it. Next up was Karnak temple and it was about 11am at this stage. The heat was unbearable and once again our guide wanted to tell us everything he knew rather than the condensed version. Mon and I managed to sneak away and explore quickly so we could get back on the nice air conditioned bus. Our tour leader/bus driver had got everyone falafel pitas and cans of soft drink when we got back onboard. He at least realised the group was reaching breaking point. Everyone said no to going to Luxor Temple which was supposed to be the next stop. Instead we headed back to the boat for showers, sleep and to pack-up. Tonight we drive back to Cairo. Our trip is almost over.

I had to come back in and add this part. Would you believe it… our bus broke down. We were driving along nicely, it was about 9pm, most people were starting to get some sleep when the bus just sort of rolled to a stop. Everyone woke up immediately and we all thought it was pretty funny. Our group is cruisey and we could all just go with the flow rather than freak out. The problem was fixed in about 45 mins and we were on the move again. Luckily.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 46 - Cairo

After a terrible night’s sleep on the bus we headed out to Saqqara which has the step pyramid. We were all like zombies walking around but we got a bit of energy back by doing whole group jumping shots. They came out great. Next we visited a Christian Church known as the hanging church. Then it was onto the Khan el Khallili market where we had our own police issued body guard. Oh yes… cause that made us feel much safer. It was fine though. We explored for an hour and I used up the last of my money.

Tonight we went back to the Pyramids of Giza for a sound and light show. I was fading quickly with not much sleep but I plugged on. The light show was good. I liked how they shone a face onto the Sphinx and could make the mouth move. The pyramids looked amazing all lit up too. Our tour guide took us to dinner afterwards at a place called the Fish Market. It was a restaurant boat on the Nile. It just stayed docked and didn’t go anywhere. We had an amazing meal with lots of bread, dip, calamari and cocktails. It was a nice way to end the trip. We said our good-byes to some people we wouldn’t see in the morning and finally got to bed.

<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 47 – Vienna – Austria

After saying our last farewells to our tour group we hung around Cairo airport for a little while before heading to Vienna. It only took 3 hours flying and we slept for most of it. Getting to Vienna was like a culture shock after being in Egypt. It was quiet, calm, clean etc. It was around 27 degrees so still nice and warm but not scorching heat. We walked around the city once we had dropped our bags off. I had a little moment of ‘Oh my god, I’m in Europe’ which didn’t hit me until I’d been on the continent for almost 2 hours. We got some gelato followed by a MASSIVE wiener schnitzel for dinner. And then we followed it up with more gelato, heehee. Prob wasn’t the best idea cause Mon and I were both not feeling the best overnight. Do we blame the gelato or the plane food? Who knows but it won’t stop us getting more gelato I’m sure.

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<strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Day 48 - Vienna

Today is a crappy weather day. Back to rain and cold. It’s been raining quite hard so we couldn’t do too much today. We jumped on the hop on/hop off bus and did some loops but it was just miserable. The bus was all fogged up and you couldn’t take any photos without the rain showing up on the windows. We watched some gossip girl episodes back at our hotel to warm up a bit. Tonight we headed to the movies to see The Great Gatsby cause what else can you do in this weather. I liked it… very glitzy. Croatia tomorrow!!!


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