Completely Karnakered

October 23, 2008

Forgot to mention that our first cultural was to the Luxor Museum, which was really interesting but I got distracted by a strange lady who we twice found with her head pressed on the exibits.  I suspect she was trying to commune with Isis, Goddess of Magic, or maybe she was just tired of hieroglyphs.  I can understand that.

Sunday 19th October

The sheer volume of tourists in Luxor is pretty extraordinary.  The cruise boats are moored 3 or 4 deep for about half a mile down the Corniche.  Imagine if the view from your cabin was the view of someone’s cabin!  Karnak was an eye opener, by 8.30 there were literally thousands of people throning around their respective tour guides.  Karnak was breathtaking, primarily because it is just so massive, and it has a lot of pillars.

Big pillars, big statues..

Big pillars, big statues..

Later we visit Luxor Temple, which is likewise heaving, but at dusk it is very evocative if you can try and imagine away everyone else.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Monday 20th October

Visiting the Valley of the Kings is virtually compulsory, but we were both a bit disappointed as the tombs that Sean wanted to see were all closed.  The Tombs of the Nobles however were much more interesting.  One tomb we visited had well preserved paintings depicting grapevines all over the ceiling and foot massage on the walls; the intention to let the good times continue to roll in the afterlife was very clear.

Thursday 23rd October

We’ve made it a bit further South to Aswan.  It is compulsory to travel from Luxor to Aswan in a police escorted convoy.  On Tuesday we were able, thanks to our new friend Wael, to join the back of the Italian Camper Van Convoy, who had their own police escort.  This meant that we were able to travel at a stately 80kph, as opposed to screaming along dodgy roads and being undertaken by psychotic taxi drivers at 120kph.  We were in the van of the convoy, which was great until they all pulled over to empty their toilets.

We stayed at ‘Adam’s Home’ camp for a couple of nights which is a Nubian house about 8km North of Aswan.  It’s a lovely location and I could see the Nile from my penthouse apartment, however there is little to amuse, so we decided to shift to an hotel in downtown Aswan this morning.  We completed our formalities with the Traffic Police today, having visited the ‘Court’ yesterday and got a stamp to prove that I have no outstanding warrants for my arrest.  That complete, we visited the Nile Navigation Company to arrange our onward transport to Sudan aboard the Aswan – Wadi Halfa ferry on Monday.   We had some very welcome help from Wael in locating both of these places, and securing cabins on the ferry.  Wael is an Egyptian tour leader, who befriended us and was very kind and generous with his time, so thank you very much Wael!

For any would-be overlanders reading this we found the legendary Mr Salah to be charm personified, and had a chat and a lovely cup of tea with him this morning, having secured our ‘First Class’ cabin (better dressed cockroaches), and a place on the barge for Elsie.  All for about EP3600, which wasn’t as scary as we expected.   Apparently last Monday some English guys had to charter an entire barge and it cost them EP19,000, but they were driving a Routemaster double decker bus.

The ferry with us on it leaves on Monday and arrives in Sudan a day later.  The barge with Elsie on it doesn’t arrive till Wednesday, so we have to ensure that we have everything we need with us, and keep our fingers crossed that Elsie arrives intacto.

The Nile here is lovely, and we will be taking the obligatory Felluca trip when we finally buckle to the touts



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