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March 10th 2014
Published: April 8th 2014
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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 and exhaustion. It was not pretty.

With no food for breakfast, it was decided that Nico, Kevin and I would take a taxi into town to the hotel that we would stay at and Suse and Nat would follow with the truck once the paperwork was in order. Whilst in Egypt we would need an Egyptian number plate among other things.

From the main road parallel to the Nile, we lugged our bags up the alleyway's stone steps until we reached the hotel. Joseph on the desk was lovely and sold us beer from their fridge which we took up to our room. The guys had a drink and I showered before we headed three or four doors down to a local vendor and had pita stuffed with falafel, salad and chips. And then another one. Then my stomach caught up and I was the one who was stuffed. It was a great feeling.

None of us really wanted to do much. We knew Gill and Dan were in town and hoped to head out on an evening felucca ride with them later that evening. I went back to the hotel and dozed, watched rubbish television and stood at the window, looking out across the rooftops that were strewn with debris that might still be useful one day. A cat cautiously made its way amongst the planks of wood and disappeared from sight. I resumed my spot on the bed.

Gill and Dan turned up and once Suse and Nat had arrived, showered and changed, we picked up beer and made for the felucca. It turns out that although Egypt isn't a dry country, alcohol isn't very popular in Aswan and is hard to find. Joseph quickly caught on that in the few days we'd spend there, we'd be drinking and made sure the fridge was well stocked.

The felucca (a traditional wooden sailing boat) was manned by two men who helped us board and once we'd removed out shoes, we set out at a gently pace along the Nile. We sailed past the Old Cataract Hotel which I was lucky enough to stay at on my previous visit to Aswan and on the opposite side, the tombs and mausoleums high on the hills. The temperature dropped with the sun and I reveled in watching lights appear along the banks. It was a wonderful chance to reflect on Sudan and wonder about what was to come. The rest of the gang had moved onto Luxor and we would see them in a few days. From there we would travel up to Cairo and apply for visas to Libya. It was for all the wrong reasons that we would not be able to pass through Syria to Turkey (our original finishing point) but the idea that we could finish in Algeria and have done the complete perimeter of Africa was thrilling.


15 December, 2012

It's an early start for the minivan to Abu Simbel. The requirement to travel in a convoy meant all tour buses were to be assembled at the meeting point by 5am (I think!). Needless to say, we all tried to sleep some more on the way there, succeeding to varying degrees.

Regardless of the fact that I'd been before and was not keen on the early start, I was on the bus. Abu Simbel is by far my favourite of the Egyptian sites and it was nowhere near as busy as last time. Great for us, bad for the locals who make a living off tourism. Photos were taken as were seats so we could just watch the world go by as we stared at the immense statues, made all the more amazing after being moved from their original site (where they would've been flooded by the new dam) and thus saved for future generations.


8 April, 2014

As anticipated, I'm less than two hours away from heading to the airport for my next trip and I didn't finish this blog the way I'd like to. Having only two weeks in England meant I needed to pack, catch up with friends, attend my goddaughter's second birthday and the blog was pushed further down the To Do list. As did a lot of other things. I apologise to all who read this blog, especially as I found out this morning that I am in the Hall of Fame which is an unexpected delight! And means I really should be a more dedicated blogger...

I have put as many interesting photos up as I can and hope the captions underneath will suffice for now. To be honest, being robbed in Cairo on Christmas eve definitely overshadows my time in the country and has unfortunately left me a little nervous and apprehensive which I don't think I'd ever been before. I'm sure this next trip will restore my confidence and I look forward to bringing you more updates over the next 4+ months.

Africa was the one continent I couldn't wait to see for so many reasons and it exceeded my expectations. There are many countries
Edfu templeEdfu templeEdfu temple

We had planned to stop at both Karnak and Edfu but somehow managed to miss the turnoff to Karnak.
I hope to revisit and many new countries to experience. It is still in my thoughts daily and I can't imagine it will ever leave.

'Fernweh' (n.) an ache for distant places; the craving for travel

Additional photos below
Photos: 79, Displayed: 26


Edfu TempleEdfu Temple
Edfu Temple

Edfu was also a favourite due to the colour still visible in some of the hieroglyphs and artwork, giving you an idea of how it looked in all its glory.
Defacing a pharaohDefacing a pharaoh
Defacing a pharaoh

On occasion, pharaohs' faces and cartouches were scratched out by a succeeding ruler. Romans also did it, seeing it as 'a punishment worse than execution: the fate of being forgotten'.
Christmas day spread, CairoChristmas day spread, Cairo
Christmas day spread, Cairo

From Edfu we travelled to Luxor to meet up with everyone else before once again splitting up. I went to Dahab with a others for a few days before taking a minibus up to Cairo on Christmas eve. In the city for only hours and while out shopping for Christmas presents, I was robbed of my bag containing everything including my passport and Kevin's passport. It was a devastating blow having never carried my passport without good reason for the entire trip and then having it stolen the one time I do. It was an effort to be happy on Christmas day and I thank all those I travelled with for helping me do so. We started with this amazing amount of food in our hotel, sharing it with other guests.
Christmas in CairoChristmas in Cairo
Christmas in Cairo

Our Christmas tree with Kris Kringle presents underneath. With a set budget, people made a lot of effort to have unique and amusing gifts and there was a lot of laughter as each present was opened.
Tahrir Square, CairoTahrir Square, Cairo
Tahrir Square, Cairo

With Santa hats on, we crossed Tahrir Square heading for a dinner cruise on the Nile. To the left, just out of the photo, is the roundabout full of tents, banners and people. Tensions were high and patience was limited (only a day later I saw a fight break out as one group literally walked up to another and started hitting them with metal bars) so I didn't dare take a photo.
Santa visits Cairo!Santa visits Cairo!
Santa visits Cairo!

We found Santa and his elf just before we boarded our boat!
Alexandria skylineAlexandria skyline
Alexandria skyline

Having never been to Alexandria, it was such a change from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities south of here. People were friendly, never pushy, the food was fresh and the sites were wonderful.
German (and) chocolate cakeGerman (and) chocolate cake
German (and) chocolate cake

Toni with the biggest piece of chocolate cake I've ever seen! We sat at this café across from the bay and smoke shisha, drank coffee and ate amazing desserts. Our wastes were still expanding...
El-Mursi Abul Abbas mosque, AlexandriaEl-Mursi Abul Abbas mosque, Alexandria
El-Mursi Abul Abbas mosque, Alexandria

It is dedicated to the 13th century Alexandrine Sufi saint el-Mursi Abul Abbas whose tomb it contains.
Prime seatingPrime seating
Prime seating

Near the Citadel, couples and friends sit on plastic chairs and stare out to sea whilst they chat.

9th April 2014

on completing the blogs of your Africa trip and being inducted into the TB Hall of Fame...intended to encourage your continued blogging of your impending Silk Road trip. I saw your Dragoman itinerary and it is fantastic. My son and I traveled the China and Uzbekistan portions exactly a year ago, so look forward to your impressions.
9th April 2014

It was great to read about your epic trip in Africa and I'm looking forward to more blogs on your new trip. Congrats on being in the Hall of Fame!

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