Cairo and the Eastern Desert

Now we are safely lounging in the Marriott in Hurgharda preparing for the next leap down to the Sudan I thought a summary of our trip round Cairo and through the Eastern Desert was needed.
We decided to try and do the run through Cairo in a “oner” as the tourist attractions in Cairo were all closed…. we were at the height of the troubles!
Set off on the Alexandria Desert road early morning past the usual tanks and road blocks…

fuel was in short supply so we filled up everything we could before setting off.

About 150 miles into the middle of nowhere we found a broken down van and gave them a pull for about 30 miles….not great for our fuel consumption but they were happy. Hit the outskirts of Cairo at about noon and immediately all the signs which had been in English and Arabic turned to just Arabic! We got a bit lost and came across several crowds of protesters and signs of rioting… stones, broken glass, etc, all over the road.

We also saw a crowd round a dead body suspect it was an RTA but could easily have been a looter who had found local justice….. Eventually broke free of Cairo and set off south towards the pyramid of Meidum and Beni Suef a very poor and rather frightening provincial capital which had been the site of serious unrest in the 90’s. We crossed the Nile and got into the Eastern( Arabian) Desert itself

and set off towards the Monastery of St Antony reputedly founded in the 4th century…where we hoped to find secure parking.

Sadly we were refused entry so spent the night far off road in the desert where we judged we would be safe. We returned to St Antony’s early the next morning and had the most wonderful tour escorted by Father Ruwais

amazing coptic wall paintings from the 13th century and earlier and a fantastic atmosphere of peace and tranquility. On again to Hurgharda and a touch of luxury at the Marriott

and some diving in the Red Sea.

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