Welcome to Egypt...
The three pyramids of Giza are simply incredible! The sheer scale of these monuments leaves anyone breathless, everything about them is huge! The Great Sphinx watches over the pyramids, and once again, the size is awe-inspiring!
Various other pyramids and tombs surround the city of Cairo, each ancient site has a magic of it's own. The stepped pyramid of Saqqara pre-dates the Giza pyramids, and at 4500 years old, it's one of the oldest standing monuments in the world. Underneath Cairo's thick blanket of smog lies bustling markets, colourful streets and chaotic traffic. The mosques tower above many streets and and the sound of car horns are deafening! And of course there's the Egyptian museum, floor after floor of mosaic and wall after wall of religious and historic paintings. The golden possessions of king Tutankhamun is by far the highlight of the museum.
Driving out of Cairo, we followed the fertile banks of the River Nile before turning westward into the desert. At first the desert was littered with garbage from the city, but after a while it opened out into the huge expanse of the Sahara. We spent the next few days in the ever-changing
landscapes of the Black Desert and the White Desert with vast emptiness surrounding us. We passed through the oasis towns of Bahariyya and Dakhla, we took an overnight camel safari into the depth of the sand dunes and we even had the privilege of seeing golden mummies, buried in their underground resting places.
There were only four colours in the desert the next morning - the blue of the sky, cloud white, deep brown of the sand and the dazzling yellow light of our Sun. The desert is a beautiful place.
After a few police checks and military road-blocks, we arrived in Luxor. Located in central Egypt, Luxor is built on the eastern side of the Nile and once again the temples, tombs and treasures are mind-blowing. The detailed hieroglyphics on almost every square inch of wall space made Karnak Temple one of the most memorable experiences of in Egypt. The Valley of the Kings, with it's dozens of underground tombs and burial chamber came in a pretty close second.
Slowly moving south via another half dozen temples, we got to Aswan, Egypt's most southerly town. We sailed on a felucca (a type of sail boat) and watched the
sun setting behind yet more temples.
I continued alone with the truck whilst the rest of the group took in some more sites of Upper Egypt (which is actually south Egypt! Lower Egypt is in the north. It's the way the river flows that depicts this). I drove the truck onto a barge where I spent the next three days afloat on Lake Nasser with a couple of other travellers. The barge (which was barely a barge) had extremely limited navigational equipment (i.e., none) and a crew with very limited experience (i.e., none)... We hit a sand bar and ran aground which required me to drive the truck back and forth to shunt us free. Then we hit some rocks and smashed a big hole in the front of the barge, the engines stalled form time to time as they got tangled in fishing nets and black smoke would often bellow from the engine room. But otherwise it was a smooth crossing.
The final day went smoothly, we relaxed on the deck reading, playing guitar and having a beer as we crossed the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 23.27 degrees north, the we sighted Abu Simbel, a mighty monument
on the shore of Lake Nasser. Later that day we could see Sudan...
Tot: 0.092s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 10; qc: 25; dbt: 0.015s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb