Unexpected Egypt travel blog


After an eventful night on the overnight train, we rumbled into Aswan early yesterday. I LOVED the train - I will try to get some pictures up - it was exactly like the train I went on as a child with my grandparents out from Rockhampton to Mt Isa. The tiny carriage had three seats during the day, and converted to two beds at night (although I remember sleeping on the luggage racks, but I was about 10 at the time!

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It was lovely to fall asleep just outside Cairo and to wake up around Luxor and see the hot air balloons drifting across the valley of the Kings - we are definitely going to try to do that when we get to Luxor! The train tracks were parallel to the Nile for most of the journey and the distinction between the fertile strip next to the river is sharply contrasting with the desert beside it. It was also amazing to wake up and find out how much the faces of the people outside the windows had changed. Aswan is at the base of Egypt, and is close to the Sudanese border - the people here are a mix of Egyptian, Nubian (the local people) and Sudanese.

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After settling into Aswan, where we are overlooking the Nile, with amazing views as the sun rises and sets, we went for a lazy felucca ride down the river. We visited the Botanical Gardens (lots of gum trees for some reason!) and generally lazed about on the boat eating for much of the afternoon.

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Late in the day we went on a camel ride to visit a Nubian Village, and spent some time in a families home, and visited the local school (my Nubian is almost as good as my Arabic - i.e. virtually non-existent)! The camel ride was amazing - surprisingly comfortable (albeit a long way off the ground). Paul would want me to let you know that his camel was the fastest, but it was just a beautiful way to spend the afternoon, watching the sun go down over the sand dunes as the Nile flowed by in the distance.

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This morning (our anniversary) we got up early for a flight across the desert (and Lake Nasser) to Abu Simbel to see the Tombs of Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari. These are absolutely amazing - not only for there size and presence, but also as they were taken apart and moved when the dam was being constructed. These tombs are monstrous - they tower over the desert landscape, and their position in the south of Egypt was in part to scare the hell out of any armies silly enough to try to invade.

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We are chilling out this afternoon at the hotel, I am trying to convince Paul that we need to visit the Nubian museum later today, but we might just get a few drinks and watch the sun go down over the river. Tomorrow we will see a few more of the sights around town, before boarding a boat to cruise up the Nile for a few days.

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