cairo to luxor.
It actually does get cold in the desert at night…
So we have made it to Luxor after leaving Cairo approximately 7 days ago, currently enjoying the first rest day along with a cheeky rooftop beer. It’s kind of well deserved after doing 170km+ for each of the first 3 days, over 100km each other and had Justin unwell in the ‘I might have eaten chicken that was a tad pink’ way.
It was certainly good to actually get the cycling part of this trip underway, considering that’s what it’s all about. Despite the reported dangers of cycling in Cairo we avoided all of this by simply getting on a major freeway to take our chances with speeding cars rather than a plethora of slow cars. The first day went really well besides a few small fixable issues with bikes and my brand new ‘gopro’ camera dying straight away… there goes time- lapsing my whole trip.
Riding along the Red Sea involved petroleum ports, rocky cliff faces, tranquil waters and a lovely Russian financed ‘resort’ town, Hurghada. A place I can confidently confirm that I won’t be going back to although this said the cutting edge eastern bloc fashion is worth the visit alone oh and the pizza hut. After riding along the coast for a few days we headed inland to a landscape that was debatable between very arid and desert. Either way we called both of our camps desert camps mainly because we were surrounded by sand and literally nothing else. We now have a little routine where when its approaching 4pm we start searching for a suitable site i.e. somewhere that no from the road can see us and secondly a place that will offer good surround sound whilst watching movies on the ipad. Certainly great being in the absolute middle of nowhere in a foreign country camping, at this stage (2 nights of camping) we could be classed as Bedouin.
Had a beautiful ride into Luxor with masses of kids lining the road to say hello, after a while the celebratory life gets a bit boring and there are only so many times you can answer the question ‘what is your name?’ The cheering kids all came from houses situated alongside the road with nearly all featuring stables at the front for their working donkeys. Despite the satellites dishes it seems life hasn’t changed much along these parts for a while, which could explain their excitement at seeing 4 foreigners cycling past.
Luxor has been pretty impressive to say the least; several sites have you leaving unsure of explanation I mean ‘gob-smacked’ much like the pyramids. From the site of the defining Nile, the splendor of the Valley of the Kings to the actual mummified Tutankhamen. With the recent ousting of the president and associated events tourism is well down making everything really quiet compared to the normal 2 hour queues to get into places. On the downside (or upside) of this I have been approached no less than 50 times for a horse and carriage ride around the city, I have declined each time. The elections were just completed and the ‘muslim brotherhood’ won so it will be interesting to see future changes to Egypt.
So tomorrow it’s back on the bikes again, which is exciting. So far all is going well with simply waking up, riding, see sites and camping. At this stage the pattern of rotating my legs for a ridiculously long time everyday hasn’t got boring. From here we are heading south to ‘Aswan’ which is where we will board a 24 hour ferry for the crossing into North Sudan, I hear the crossing is one of those experiences that you’ll look back on and enjoy rather than at the time. I can already imagine it will be a little off the beaten track, desolate (hard) and possibly feature a little less horse and carriages. It’s perhaps here that we can truly define desert and may (or may not) get accustomed to getting up at 5am and dealing with the -2c temperature.