Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Backtracking: Egypt Part 1

So, here we go finishing off the trip’s itinerary with plenty of photos:

From Aswan, a day and night were spent on a felucca (local sailboat) on the Nile, camping on an island overnight. It was a nice, relaxed day between hectic ruin-visiting stops and a chance to catch our breath before heading west into the vast distances of the desert.

Luxor and its magnificent temples of Karnak were the next stop, and we were there over Christmas. We visited the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut, which is pictured below. No cameras are allowed in the VOTK, but that pyramidal peak up above the temple is what looms over the entrances to the tombs on the other side of the ridge. Hatshepsut’s temple had some pretty good examples of intact colors on some of the carvings, which were beautiful.

From Luxor, we drove out into the Western Desert, which is part of the greater Sahara (you might have heard of it). Our first touristy stop was a semi-deserted village called Al-Qasr, which was mostly built from mud bricks. All the doorways were really low, and there were random low beams between buildings across the walkways, so one either made like the Ministry of Silly Walks or brained themselves if attention was not paid to the head room.

It was then out into the deeper desert for a few days, including a cold night camping amongst the fanciful ventifacts of the White Desert. Heading west from Bawiti, we went through a very empty expanse of desert, where the asphalt often was missing or abandoned, so we could drive at 120 kmh over loose sand and dust and rock. That involved about 10 hours of driving, with only a few stops at bleak military checkpoints along the way.

More to follow shortly.

“Iced drinks are deadly...The ice is usually full of microbes, all the more spiteful for their temporary imprisonment.”

~”The Happy Traveller”, Rev. Frank Tatchell, 1923