Thursday, 31 January 2008

Team NZ takes on the Nile

I had a few doubts about the felucca; small boat, eleven of us, Mohamed and the crew, horror stories of no toilets but thankfully it was all fine.

There are no photos (well none I took anyway) of the days we spent lazing, reading, playing 500, no photos from dancing and singing round the campfire but there are millions of photos of the Nile horizons.

We also had a wee side trip to a place called Daraw which a a camel market town. A few of us got back on the camels, albeit they were only short rides in the yards. In the market we got to try sugar cane juice (like the smell of sweet lawn clippings) and see how meet was identified in the shops (they left the tail on).

The felucca was a great palce to relax and we ate like (vegeterian) kings.

Graham putting the flag up.

A Nile horizon.

Bridge over the Nile.

Moored for the night.

A curious local.

On the way to Daraw

Kids in the camel market.

The meat market (check out the tails)

Delia and Mohamed

Sunrise on the Nile.

What to do when the windis light.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Street Life in Aswan

After the early start for Abu Simbel we were back in Aswan for an afternoon to relax, and in our case taking Mum into the souq to try her hand at haggling.

It was a really pleasent afternoon with street meat for lunch and tea when our legs got weary.

Street meat for lunch mmmm...

Tea in the souq (Fran, Graham, Delia, Local Bloke, Paul & Valda)

Chicken transport...

Coffee in the square (Valda, Dennis, Kay, Delia, Mel and Paul)
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Philae Temple

Philae Temple was another temple moved to allow for the changes in the level of the Nile.

There were a lot less people here so we got to explore the passages in peace and quiet.

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Abu Simbel

Getting to Abu Simbel was not the most fun thing that we did on holiday. As there had been some threats of terrorism / disruption a couple of years ago the local police had deemed it necessary to have everyone travel there by convoy.

So it was up at 3am to meet the van and join the convoy south to near the Sudan boarder.

As far as temples go the temples of Temple of Ramesses II and Temple of Nefertari are large and impressive. The maths of getting light into the inner temple of Ramesses II on (allegedly) his birthday and coronation day was quite smart.

But what makes the place especially amazing is that it has been moved! In a hydro project creating Lake Nassar they had to move the temples so that they were not to be 60m below the water only to be seem by divers.

Sun over Lake Nassar

Temple of Ramesses II

Temple of Ramesses II

Temple of Ramesses II

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Inside Temple of Ramesses II

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Christmas Eve on the Train, and Christmas Day in Aswan

Amy's Mum at Cairo train station.

Santa visited us on the train.

Valda and Jess on the Nile in the sun.

Paul and Amy on their Christmas Camels

Nubian dancing after Christmas dinner.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cairo and the great pyramids of Giza

Our first stop in Egypt was Cairo and more specifically the pyramids and sphinx at Giza.

I think we fell right into a proper tourist trap of "you can go inside the great pyramid but be fast as only 200 people can do it a day...". I'm sure that cannot be right given how many people we saw, nevertheless it was a real highlight.

Here are a few photos which will hopefully give you a bit of feel for just how big they really are.

A local guard at the pyramids

Paul and Amy on the Great Pyramid

The entire crew (Graham, Fran, Jess, Andrew, Dennis, Delia, Kay, Amy, Valda, Mel & Paul)

Sphinx & Pyramid

When in Rome

Just to backtrack slightly...

We had decided when booking our flights to Egypt that as the cheapest flights were via Rome, and as we'd both made visits in the past (Amy in 97 and Paul in 2001) and still had things left to see, it made sense to have a couple of days in Rome en route. It was also good to have some time to hang out together as we'd both had a rather manic time workwise in the lead up to Christmas.

The big thing that neither of us had done in Rome the first time was going inside the Coliseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum so that took a good day of our time. We had good guides for these places and managed to brush up and fill in some historical gaps. We also did lots of general wandering to places like the Trevi Fountain and St Peter's Basilica.

Outside the Coliseum

Paul and Amy at the Trevi Fountain

St Peter's by night

Although Amy failed to find the shop with 100 flavours of gelati we did manage to eat our body weights in pizza and pasta and to have ham and cheese at nearly all meals.

Paul having one of the five plus a day pizzas

Monday, 7 January 2008

Back in London

We have arrived safely back in London (although the same cannot be said for my bag).

I'll get round to blogging properly (or at least posting photos) but for now here's a taster of proof we were actually in Egypt.