Margaret Hinkson


Margaret Hinkson

Happily retired on a tropical island - life doesn't get better than this. Unless I'm traveling.

Africa » Egypt April 1st 2018

The first free time I had on holiday was in Egypt, on the afternoon of the 8th day. In Luxor. For a self proclaimed solo traveler like myself, proud to travel independently, this was shocking. Yet I had buckled down to being shepherded by some excellent guides, I have to admit. There was just too much ground to cover too much to see, too much information to get during my visit. There was no other way I could have done it. Not by wandering around on my own in an Arabic land. So on my first free afternoon, I could finally do what I love best. I simply walked out into the streets, with curiosity. I roamed the small roads of the Egyptian neighborhood around my Hotel…Ammon is a bit superior from it’s ‘hood having a ... read more
Across the Nile River a minaret and the skyline
Random street scenes in Egypt men seated under shade trees, a cyclist
Random street scenes two young girls wear slacks and a hijab scarf

Africa » Egypt » Middle Egypt February 9th 2018

More mysterious than the Pyramids? Yes really! Welcome to Abydos and Dandara! It's a long drive 172km heading north from Luxor to the ancient Middle Kingdom region. We leave at day break, 6.30am giving me half an hour to have breakfast. Traffic is easier on a Friday, the Moslem day of rest. It takes us 3 hours to get there. At both Abydos and Dandara we will find yet more temples and columns adorned with fine artistry and brilliant colors. They are both acclaimed as outstanding Temple complexes. Their wall paintings and reliefs represent millenia of continuous devotion to the gods of the after life and creation. We've met these gods several times already... Isis, Osiris, Amun, Ptah, RE Horakty, Horus. And the goddess Hathor. These are all represented here again in abundance in monuments equal ... read more
The entrance to Abydos temple
High overhead carved in stone among the unreachable hieroglyphs
Trying to Zoom in for a closer view of the mysterious helicopter hieroglyphs

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 21st 2018

LUXOR I'm in Luxor for my last 3 days in Egypt. I'd saved the best for last. Several of the world's most famous and most ancient sites now lay at my doorstep. My hotel was on the West Bank of the Nile, in the Valley of the Kings, the location where the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered a century ago. Despite knowing that I still wasn't prepared for just how astounding and exceptional the antiquity would be. There is so much. I explored them under the expert guidance of Ahmad Almozamel my Egyptologist guide. I was more than eager to get out there so we made an early start, as always in desert lands it is customary to start early to avoid being out in the midday heat (though I love that!) Called LUXOR today, it ... read more
scale model of the temples at Karnak complex showing a series of massive pylon gates
further section of scale model of Karnak temple with the ceremonial lake and obelisks in one section
Karnak temple history

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor December 27th 2017

LUXOR. A SURFEIT OF RICHES. There are people today who have such excessive wealth you wonder what they do with it all. Billionaires. Bill Gates, the Saudi sheiks, institutions like the Queen of England and the Vatican. So much wealth its unimaginable and sickening. If Luxor was a person they would be one. The quantity and quality of antiquity here is unimaginable. There is the East Bank with Karnak temple, the world's largest temple complex. There is Thebes the city of a hundred gates, and Luxor Temple. There are the West Bank monuments with Hatshupset's Temple aligned on a direct axis with the Karnak Temple on the opposite Bank. There are the Colossi of Memnon just sitting casually on the road leading to the monument area. There is the Temple of Ramsis II second only to ... read more
A roadside tent with grass for animals, along the road to Luxor
Saw many white donkeys in Egypt
The courtyard garden at Ammon hotel had a variety of plants which included the Egyptian cousin of our Silk Cotton tree.

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Kom Ombo December 11th 2017

To travel through the reaches of the Upper Nile in Egypt is to experience ancient Egypt in what a friend calls a "sufficiency of plenty". With a heavy emphasis on the plentypart. This was Day 7 of my travels. We left at the crack of dawn, a 6.30 pick up for 3 hours driving. Heading north by first retracing my steps across the desert to Aswan and ultimately wind up at Luxor by night fall. But first visit the Temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo. EDFU is the best preserved of all Egyptian Temples. Like the KOM OMBO temple it was built in the period of Greek rule under a Ptolemy (ie not an Egyptian Pharaoh). So these are "recent" Temples dating back to only 330BC following the conquest by Alexander the Great. Greco-Roman inputs in ... read more
The imposing100 ft high pylons with mirror images are the entrance to Edfu and the Temple of Horus
Edfu gate standing between the twin Horus figures
This famous black granite Horus statue still perfectly preserved wears the double crown of both upper and lower Egypt

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Abu Simbel November 25th 2017

A brief Stay in the town of Abu Simbel Turning the narrative back to Egypt. Day 5 of my journey. Mohammed my driver is taking me overland from Aswan to Abu Simbel. A journey of many hours. He speaks little English so we can't chat but he stopped driving in the middle of nowhere (this perfectly describes being in the desert) to point at what looked like a very large lake near the horizon. A mirage! A huge one. I remember hearing tales of thirsty ancient travelers being deceived by mirages and losing their lives, dying while trying to reach the water that doesn't exist, always in the distance. We stopped, again in the middle of nowhere, at a shady hut festively decorated with flags of many nations ,a llittle oasis in the desert. This was ... read more
A curious sight, natural pyramid shapes are scattered across the sand
Our Rest stop in mid Sahara, flying international flags. It was a welcome break for my driver.
Arched entrance from the desert to the rest stop

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Abu Simbel November 20th 2017

The Ramsis and Hathor Temples at Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is a Nubian town in Southern Egypt near the Sudan. There is no way to avoid one simple fact - Abu Simbel is all about Pharaoh Ramsis II. Born 1303 BC died 1213 BC at the age of 91. He ruled for 69 years. His colossal figures tower above his wife in the temple he built to honour her, even over the God Horus of whom he was the living representation. The Temples took 20 years to be carved into the sandstone cliffs on the banks of the Nile. That was 3,300 years ago. Today they are a UNESCO World Heritage SITE. RAMSIS II carved two Temples in the cliff face. The Great Temple of Ramsis II and the lesser Temple of Hathor to his wife ... read more
In the far distance are the two colossal Temples now set in a duplicated cliff face at Abu Simbel
The Temple of  Ramsis II dominates the site
Nearby is the lesser Hathor Temple dedicated to his favorite wife Nefertari by Ramsis II

Africa » Egypt November 12th 2017

PHARAOHS of Egypt Simplified for Dummies ..... That day I spent at the Pyramids at Gizeh was very intense and made me understand the complexities of ancient Egypt. Even though I had expert guidance through the services of Deluxe Travel (I highly recommend their services to anyone if you are going to Egypt) understanding the Pharaohs was overwhelming. Like being lost in a maze. For me to tell you about the discoveries of my next four days of sightseeing I need to share some basics. Let me me do something about that now. First of all, let this sink in, that Pharaohs ruled for more than three thousand years, dating back an incredible five thousand years. So yes, it's bound to be complicated. They were 31 FAMILY DYNASTIES (generally acknowledged) who produced 170 Pharaohs. They ruled ... read more
Me and Hatshepsut in sphinx form,  the famous and successful female Pharaoh who ruled for 22 years
symbolizing the suns rays for sun God Ra
There are Hundreds of sphinxes, here the rams head on a lions body with the Pharaohs face between its legs

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum November 5th 2017

Meet Camelus Dromedarius. Lest you get confused. Camelus Bactrianus is not Camelus Dromedarius. Arabian camels are not Bactrian camels, but are Dromedarian i.e the ONE -humped camel of the HOT deserts of northern Africa and southwestern Asia. Whereas the camel with two humps Bactrianus is native to the COLD deserts of the steppes of Asia. Hot or cold, they share the same fate of being used as saddle animals and beasts of burden as they can stand up to life in the desert because of that hump which stores food - not water - They can live for a month from the stored fat. Water...they can drink 40 gallons in 14 minutes. Camels can reach 7 feet in height (at the hump) and weigh up to 1500 pounds. Dromedarians can live for 40 years, the female ... read more
waiting for us near the Lawrence Spring camel trough
Watering stop for ages
Jack Sparrow our camel herd driver at Lawrence Spring

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum November 1st 2017

Our Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum. October 19th the final adventure. We are leaving the remains of ancient desert nomads behind to join living nomads inhabiting the desert today. From the Nabataeans to the Bedouin. They inhabit Wadi Rum which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. A 'Wadi' is the valley of a dry river hence Petra is in Wadi Musa. The &Rum& part I don't know about! Mind you, many of the men there could be family to Pirates from the Caribbean.... looking little Jack Sparrows, so who knows.......! 😎 Our driver was funny, fast talking, good natured with a thick accent. He obliged us by making photo stops as we left Petra. The desert landscape continues to impress and stun me. Who knew that barren land could be so varied... rock types and ... read more
Our team of hosts
camel watering trough at Lawrence Spring
Another landmark named for Lawrence of Arabia

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