An Egyptian Encounter - Week 3.

20th of February 2000 (Day 15)

Our route down the Nile (Recorded by GPS)

We boarded our felucca early in the morning to start our full day's trip down the Nile from Aswan to Kom Ombo.

The felucca was equipped with a single large platform on which we sat, ate, read, and slept. At the bow of the felucca was a home made "primus" stove on which our crew prepared meals and tea.

Although we were heading down stream (with the current) the wind was against us so that it was necessary to tack all the time. At about 16:30 we moored for the night and were joined by several other feluccas.

The straight line distance traveled during the day was about 33km giving an average speed of about 4.5km/hour. Our average speed over the water was about 6km/hour.

We tacked (or rather the crew did) sixty one times during the day.

A felucca on the Nile
Eating on the felucca
Sleeping on the felucca
     
 

21st of February 2000 (Day 16)

Our felucca was cast adrift at about 4:00 (well before sunrise) and we drifted downstream for more than an hour before mooring to let Michael off.

Michael returned by taxi to Aswan to collect the truck and one member of the group who's desire (nay need) to stay close to a toilet had precluded him from the felucca trip.

We continued in the felucca to Kom Ombo where we re-joined the truck.

Here we visited the Temple of Kom Ombo. This temple is unusual in that everything is doubled up and symmetrical.

The left side of the temple was dedicated to Haroeris and the right side to Sobek. The temple also houses a collection of mummified crocodiles.

On our return journey from Kom Ombo to Luxor (again in a compulsory police convoy) we were diverted to Edfu where we spent an hour at the huge Temple of Horus.

This is one of the largest and best preserved pharaonic temples in Egypt although it was built by the Greeks. It can be thought of as a 2000 year old "copy" of the temple of Karnak.

We returned to Rezeiky camping at Luxor and spent three relaxing hours cleaning every crevice, nook and cranny of the truck. We also discarded a number of unsavory looking food items that had toured Asia and North Africa for some time!

Painting on the roof of the Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
Winner of the "Best Loo in Egypt" award (Edfu)
 

22nd of February 2000 (Day 17)

We drove from Luxor to Port Safaga (223km) avoiding fifth gear because of an alarming noise from the gearbox.

The roadside near the coast was littered with half built holiday villages and tourist hotels, many of which seemed to have been abandoned for years.

Port Safaga itself is a small industrial town based on the export of phosphates from local mines.

A few kilometers north of Safaga there are a number of functioning holiday villages and diving centers.

We stayed at one of these the Sun Beach Camp (GPS). As with most of the camp sites we used nearly everybody was tempted to upgrade to a room for E£10 per person per night.

Sun Beach  Restaurant
Dive boats at the Oric Diving Center
Sun Beach Camp
 

23rd of February 2000 (Day 18)

Most of the group took a boat out to a nearby island. Some swam. The rest of the group "chilled out" on the beach or in the bar.

 

24th of February 2000 (Day 19)

Most of the group went out with Oric Diving (a diving school next to the Sun Beach Camp). Most stayed on the boat, some swam, some hired equipment, two dived.

Although the diving was reasonable, those with experience of many other dive sites did not rate very highly the particular site chosen. Because the charges made by Oric Diving were in a combination of Egyptian pounds and German Marks and because there were a number of unexpected "extra" charges made there was unfortunately a general feeling of dissatisfaction at the end of the day.

At about 16:00 the cooking teams for the next day set off into Safaga by truck. Unfortunately while reversing the truck out of the camp site the front left hand wheel fell through a manhole cover.

An interesting two hours was spent extracting the truck using two jacks, the trailer spare wheel, a short section of railway track and quarter of a tonne of rock. A fine team building experience!

Agent Orange in trouble.
Agent Orange in trouble
 

25th of February 2000 (Day 20)

After an early start (avoiding the manhole) we drove north up the Red Sea coast to the Monastery of St. Anthony (GPS) (450km).

The monastery occupies part of a large isolated compound that includes shops and places to stay. One of the shops sells wine produced by the monastery. We bought two bottle (E£20 each) and left the second on Agent Orange to act as warning to others.

The entrance gate to the compound, with its gaudy illuminated yellow crosses, gives the place a surreal appearance.

An excellent tour of the monastery proper was provided, in good English, by a monk. Highlights of the tour included the spring that supplies all the water and a donkey powered flour mill over 1000 years old.

Some of the group climbed the 1158 steps to the cave occupied by St. Anthony until his death at the age of 105 in about 300AD.

We wild camped in the desert a few kilometers outside the monastery. (GPS) Our last camp.

Monastery of St. Anthony

26th of February 2000 (Day 21)

By popular demand we stopped off at the start of the Suez Canal on our final day's drive to Cairo. Because no large ship passed through the canal while we were there the canal was rather disappointing.

Michael was determined to deliver the group back to the Fontana Hotel in Cairo and in spite of road works, one way systems, the police and the Pope's visit to Cairo he got us to within 200m!

The group met for a last supper at the very popular (and crowded) Felfela Restaurant. Most of the group flew out of Cairo in the next few days.

Part of the group at Suez on the final day
Introduction Week One Week Two Week Three

Home pageLast updated 10th March 2000.