Finally managed to update this blog this morning after struggling to get access to a computer, there were plenty of wireless internet access points to email stuff. We are off to see the pryamids hopefully before it gets too hot. Unlike Italy where it was very expensive from a NZ perspective Egypt is relatively cheap with a air conditioned taxi and driver for 5 hours costing us 280 Egyptian pounds (about NZ$35).
The new motorway system soon had us across the Nile with large floating gin palaces moored on it's banks. The entrance to Giza was a mass of galloping horses and lumbering camels as the vendors prepared for a busy day. Once thru the entrance the Sphinx was there in front of us. It was smaller than I anticipated until I realised half of it was below ground level and its was really 20m high. The pyramids loomed up behind on a sandy rock based plateau withthe desert behind. The heat was oppressive as we walked around getting the a feel for the last remaining standing Wonder of the World. The scale of the site was massive and I struggled to comprehend how they managed to create structures of this magnitude over four thousand years ago.
Back at the car our guide whisked us away to Saqqara, the location of the Stepped Pyramid of Zoser. Scaffolding covered much of this as they struggle to stabilseits sides and replace missing portions. Finally off to Dahshur and the Red pyramid. We descended down into the depths to view the burial chamber. It was extremely hot and just a tad claustrophobic. The climb out had me nearly doubled up, drenched withsweat and startingto cramp up. Withthetemp by now approaching 40c it was time to retreat to the hotel. Queues that night at a recommended restaurant had us dining at an Egyptian style burger bar with little success. Images from Sept 11
Egyptian Museumso we only have to cross the road. However crossing any main road here is test of your nerve as you step out into the traffic and hope they drive around you. Luckily it wasn't busy!! The queues were building so once inside we instigated 'our cunning plan' and side stepped the queue by taking the reverse path of most of the guided groups. With over 120,000 items on display the quantity and quality of the exhibits was mind boggling. You are quickly overwhelmed by the number of items, walking past exhibits that would be highlights anywhere else.Our hotel is opposite the
The Tutankhamun galleries were stunning with the craftsmanship of his death mask something to marvel at. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed in the museum and this was strictly enforced. By midday the heat and crowds were getting to me and we retired back to the aircon at our hotel. Updated the website with content and more images. The overnight train to Aswan introduced to me the advantages of 'the sleeper carriage'. The privacy and comfort of our own compartment and bed provided us with a surprisingly good nights sleep. Even Di who had never had any success with earplugs had an uninterrupted sleep during the 12hr trip.
The train arrived in at Aswan just after 8am and our hotel for the next 2 nights 15min walk away. The Memnon hotel is situated on the banks of the Nile and provided great views from our window and easy access to everything. Had a struggle finding somewhere to eat that evening but eventually had a good Koshary dish for our evening meal. Images from Sept 13
Abu Simbel approx 250km to the south. This is only 40km from the border withSudan situated in a remote desert area on the banks of Lake Nasser. The temple complex was dismantled and relocated to save it from the rising waters when the Aswan dam was built in the 1960s. The temple dedicated to RamesesII is colossal and must have awed the neighbouring Nuban people to the south who had numerous battles with the Egyptians. We encountered a bit of a sand storm and strong head winds on the return trip adding an extra 60min to the journey. We also visited both the Aswan high and low dams and the Philae temple on Agilkia Island. Images for Sept 14The alarm clock had us staggering out of bed at 2:45am. We were picked by our minibus just after 3am and joined up withtheother vehicles in our security convoy to
This morning we are off to Luxor by minibus. On the way we visited Edfu and Kom Ombo temples.We were really starting to suffer from cramped, un-air conditioned minibus and 40c plus temperates. It was with some relief when we were dropped off at the Lotus hotel mid afternoon. A few beers with the evening meal helped to wash the dust down! I have been somewhat disappointed that none of the hundreds of touts offering felucca, calleche, taxi rides etc. haven 't made a decent offer for Di. Six camels, 3 donkeys and a herd of goats I suggested was a good deal. Images for Sept 15
Another early start had over the west bank of the Nile to The Valley of the Kings. I was a little surprised by how far the site was up this barren oven baked gully. We had pre-selected the 3 tombs we wished to visit but 2 of those were closed. We ended up seeing the tombs of Ramesses III, Ramesses I and Tuthmosis IÍI. Of which Ramesses I easily had the most number of images and also the most vivid colours. The crowds were building as we left at 8:30 with over 50 buses in the carpark. We next visited the extraordinary Temple of Hatshepsut, a visually stunning building at the base of 300m high limestone cliffs. Thıs was the sıte where 62 tourısts were gunned down ın 1997 and to thıs day securıty at all the varıous tourısts areas all over Egypt ıs extremely heavy. With little wind and temp climbing we again retreated tn the hotel pool for the rest of the day. Images for Sept 17
Travel to İstanbul today so off to airport to catch a flight to Cairo and connecting flight to İstanbl a few hours later. Will not miss the constant badgerıng from street vendors and suppliers of various modes of transport, tends to wear you down after a while. Arrived in Istanbul mid afternoon and had another budding racing drıiver taxıng us to our hotel right ın the middle of the main tourist areas around the Hagya Sofia etc. After Egypt we have become immune to the erratic drıving, constant beeping of horns and worp speed at all times. The hotel has great internet and wireless connectivity so I have fınally been able to update the site with all the content I have been adding using my phone, a rather long and tedious process. There is a very noticable difference between Egypt and Turkey, Turkey is much more European, wıth better infrastructure and a sense of envromental care. With a hundred cafes and restaurants on our door step we were a bıt overwhelmed by the chooses for dınner tonıght.......