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October 21st 2008
Published: September 9th 2012
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21st Oct: Can't really remember much about this day, also it was a travel day so pretty uneventful. Woke up early but just stayed in bed. Had brekky in the hotel and then we left to take the bus to Siwa. The drive was pretty uneventful and lasted pretty much all day. We either changed buses somewhere along the way or had a big break, can't remember which now. The highlight of this break was a woman blatantly taking pictures of me and Jodie on her mobile. Was quite funny and we joked that we would end up on, however it was proboably just due to the fact we are both blonde.

We arrived in Siwa as dusk was approaching and it was a short walk to our hotel. I don't know what it is about Jodie, but Egyptian kids hate her. A few started throwing stones at her as we walked through town. A nice greeting, eh?

Got checked in to the hotel and made the arrangements to hire bicycles the next day to go around some of the sites nearby that were just out of walking distance. We went to a lovely restaurant just around the corner from the hotel that night. I had a lovely meal, meat shakshouka, which was lovely. One of the best meals I had on the entire trip. Siwa so far is pretty different from everywhere else we have been so far in Egypt. It is lot smaller, there are less (visible?) tourist and it less modern compared to the big cities. It was really interesting to see people going about the streets by donkey and trap.

Back at the hotel before heading to bed, whilst having a smoke in the reception area I got talking to the owner of the hotel. Earlier I had noticed all the photos that he has of himself, with various different people, hung up in the reception. I think the majority of them must of been Egyptain bigwigs, however the only one I recognised was Colonel Gaddafi. So I asked the manager about this and he says that Gaddafi regularly comes to Siwa, as he is travelling around with his desert caravan. Also because Siwa is really close to the Libyan border, about 50 kilometres, Gaddafi feels that really Siwa is part of Libya. Interesting!

22nd Oct: Another early start. After having breakfast on the lovely roof terrace of our hotel. The views were cool and we could see a lot of Siwa and locals going about their daily business. We headed around the corner to the bike rental place. I thought that I wasn't going to be able to go for a while because we couldn't find a bike small enough for my dwarfy stumps. However a bike was found and we were on our merry way. Since it had been well over 10 years since I had been on a bike, I took things very slowly and stayed at the back of the group. Our first stop wa s the Hill of the Dead, but none of us went in for a look around, I think, if I've remembered correctly. It was nice cycling around although I did have to pay a lot of attention to what I was doing so that I didn't end up coming off the bike.

Our next stop was the Temple of the Oracle and a few of us opted to have a look around. It was pretty nice inside with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Then it was back on the bikes and we headed off to Cleopatra's Bath, which is a natural spring and popular for swimming. I didn't partake in the swimming. But it was cfun to watch the others splashing about. We set up camp in a lovely cafe/restaurant ther owned by an Egyptian and English couple. They were lovely and Camilla told us about how disrespectful the Italian tourists are who come here, using their sunbeds, not buying anything and sunbathing topless. The cafe did loads of lovely fruit cocktails and I tried a couple of different ones. The Red Sky was a big hit for me. Also they had camel on the menu, and I really wanted to try it, but I wasn't that hungry and also having had a bit of a gyppy belly earlier in the trip, Wahid said it might set my belly off again. Ah well there's always next time.

After a couple of hours lounging about in the cafe we cycled back to Siwa and returned the bikes. Then me and a few others had a wander around the town. The old city is a bunch of ruins that were destroyed by heavy rains. The views from up there were great and it was really nice to wander around as there wasn't many people up there.

Later in the afternoon we headed off into the desert to do some sandboarding. Our 4x4 got stuck in the sand dunes, which was funny as we had to dig it out. THe sandboarding was fun, but since I've done it before I couldn't really be arsed to climb the sand dunes, so only did it a couple of times. Then we all climbed one of the sand dunes to watch the sun set across the desert. That was lovely, it was a great moment in the trip. On our drive back to town luckily we didn't get stuck in any sand dunes and made it back safely. We went back to the restaurant across the road from the hotel. I had the vegetable shakshouka, it was okay, but nowhere near as nice as the meat one I'd had the night before. After dinner I think most of us had decided to call it a night, as we were leaving very early in the morning to head out to another oasis town and we had to be up at an ungodly hour for breakfast.

Additional photos below
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Typical Street SceneTypical Street Scene
Typical Street Scene

Donkey and trap, Siwa

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