Travelog Egypt November 2018

This is my second major travel this year after our Guadeloupe vacation in January in the Caribbean.

And my tenth visit to Egypt. It's almost like a second home.

How nice it is to soak up the sunshine!!! Hey, we had the warmest ever summer ever recorded in Geneva with 2C above average. Now with the foggy and colder weather of automn it is time for our migration south. BTW I almost cancelled the trip after being diagnosed with Horton's in October (I thought I had aged 20 years from June to September, now under cortizone treatment I feel much better).

We arrive in Hurghada after a 4 1/2 hour comfy flight on an Airbus320 (the worlds best selling airplane since 2004) after heading south-east across the alps, Italy and the mediterranean. Then we follow the Nile for a few hundred kilometers before heading east across the desert east to the Red Sea. We are arrive at a beautiful modern airport, quickly go through the airport security and customs and are met by the egyptian tour group driver.

View of the red sea and the eastern desert ... the Nile river lies just behind us and is parallel to the coast line.

The driver of DJED (egytian tour operator) will take us further south to Aswan (another 500Km or about 7 hours by car).

Photo of the freeway beween Safaga (on Red Sea coast) and Qena (on the Nile).

Arriving at the very nice Aswan Movenpick hotel which is located on an island in the Nile (the worlds longest river), and in time for a quick dinner.

Photo of the Aswan low dam built in 1902 to manage the Nile floods. The height was insufficient. In the 1960s the high dam (about 110m high) was built further upstream. It took twelve years to fill the dam and to create the worlds largest artificial lake, lake Nasser. It now generates about 2000 MW of power, about the same as Hoover Dam in the USA or Grande Dixense in Switzerland. Note they are rated in about the 60th position in worldwide hydro production, with Three Gorges dam of China being the number one.

We arrive at Abu Simbel in about 2 hours. Abu Simbel is the tempel found in the 19th century, then taken apart in the 1960s and reconstructed some 100 meters higher up above Lake Nasser.

Abu Simbel is an extraordinary temple built around the 12th century BC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel_temples

Back at the Movenpick pool for a sundowner.

Leaving the following morning from the hotel to the boat that will take us downstream for three nights.

This is the 40m long dahabiya boat which has 6 cabins for 12 guests... https://www.djedegypt.com/dahabiya-nile-cruise/

 

 

Our guide Hamdi explaining the trip to the guests (2 brits, 2 dutch, 4 swiss and 4 americans)... we get to write our names in latin characters and then he translates them to arabic and hieroglyphs. How nice!

Our room. Very comfy, clean and quiet.

Even though the boat gets towed by a very small and cute tugboat, we turn around and try going by sail up-river and do a bout 2 knots with a moderate tailwind and against the current.

Heading north and with the current and with the tug, and without the sail we do about 7 knots or 13km/h which will take us to Kom Omdo.

 

It is fascinating to sail on these same waters as pharoes did in ancient Egypt three thousand years ago. Especially when reading Wilbur Smith's epic novel River God .

A typical three course dinner prepared by the chef. Excellent!

 

Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Kom_Ombo

 

 

 

My buddy Ahmed is happy after I buy all his trinkets.

 

Next day we visit the sand stone quarries of Gebel_el-Silsila quarry. Egyptians went from using limestone to sandstone around the 18th dynasty (2500BC). Very interesting visit commented by our guide Hamdi.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebel_el-Silsila

 

 

Further downstream we take a swim in the Nile. Is it safe?

Well, there are no crocodiles and there seem to be no brain eating amoebas like in some southern USA swamps.

 

Egyptian rosť (very good) Sundowner

Visiting Edfu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Edfu

The Temple of Edfu is an Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt. It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. Sadly many of the stone carvings were destoyed by the Christian Copts in the first centuries of the current era, as they 'disliked the images' of some of the ancient egyptian gods.

Last day we arrive near Luxor and take the DJED van to let off the eight other guests at the Luxor Winterpalace hotel, while we drive on to El Gouna on the Red Sea.

On the road from Luxor to Qena along the Nile. Very interesting and beautiful landscape (including thousands of bougainvilleas) all along this 50km stretch of the road..

Then traversing the easten desert we stop at a midpoint rest station and souvenir shop and see many Chinese tourists!

Finally we arrive at El Gouna a small Red Sea resort built and managed by Orascom the Egytian mobile phone company. There are about 20 hotels and many more restaurants here, along with many happy cats.

chillin' at the pool side of our small hotel and very nice Hotel Dawar El Omda.

We take a tuktuk (1 euro) to the El Gouna marina where a new electric tuktuk is on display. The future lies with renewal energy in the next decades ahead with 20% forecasted to be derived by sun and wind (and there is lots of that here). Eletric production has quadrupled in the recent past and will quadruple again in the near future.

 

The pool water temperature is 27C, as is the Red Sea offshore (it is a few degrees cooler in shore), the air temperature is a nice 28C during the day and around 19C at night.

I am off to kiteboarding with the Osmosis Kite school at the Paradisio Hotel. A quick 10 minute ride on a Zodiac takes to the 4km square reef which is probably the worlds best place to learn kiteboarding.

The flat sandy bottom is 40cm to 60cm deep , the wind almost always blows from the north at between 12kts and 18kts (like 8 days out of 10).

And it rains only once a year. And there is never a hurricane!

youtube video

After two weeks in Egypt it is time to fly home. Note the great Italian coffee at the Hurghada airport.... yay for Lavazza !

And the view of the alps just before landing (snow will be here soon hopefully for another great ski season).

Carol's great pictures on Flickr

Perhaps on one of our next trips to Egypt we will try the Aswan to Karthoum route by ferry, bus and train. Kartoum is where the blue Nile merges with the white Nile. It is 1500 kilometers upstream of Aswan.