Location: Cairo - Luxor, Egypt
We headed down to the train station to travel a first class sleeping train to Luxor, where the valley of the kings, queens and nobles reside.
The taxi driver exclaimed he wanted 60 pounds for the trip from the island of Zamalek in Cairo but by now we were getting the hang of this haggling buisiness and settled at 25 pounds and headed out into the fray.
Traffic in Cairo still amazes me, such a tangle of cars zigzaging accross the lanes and no accidents but I guess we were blessed.
We headed out of the station at 8.30 pm for an over night ride to Luxor, the toilets are locked at the station, I found out why as they empty out onto the tracks, I pity the rail crew.
The morning sunrise had us clackating along beside the Nile and arriving around 7.00 am in Luxor, enough time to book into the hotel and have some rest before exploring the town and its temples of Karnak - fantastic and Luxor.
Luxor is supposed to be the hasstle capital of Egypt, fortunately it did not live up to its name but the "Caleesh" (horse and carrage) do really test your patience. They can be absurdly cheap, 2 pound an hour if you bargain hard but 5 pounds is more the going rate - make sure you get a horse that is well looked after.
The light show in the evening at Karnak gives you a different look at the temple along with some history a little hollywoodish but OK.
Heading out the next morning for the valley of king, queens, and nobles, get there early as it gets very warm toward midday, Ramesis IV we thought was the best tomb and the temple of Queen Hatchetsup also is not to be missed.
Egypt really is a fantastic place once you get use to their way of life I felt like a walking wallet but hey I guess they have to make a living
We rested for the next day before grabbing the Train back to Cairo that night and grabbing the morning flight to Bankok for some shopping before getting home a couple of days later.
We thank all the hope the people who have taken the time to read our blog and epscially those who left messages, we both had a blast of a time meeting all types of people and cultures and hope that our gibberish has made sense to you.
"Get out and travel its great"
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.
66 hours of flying
73 different beds
82 taxi trips
most common other travellers met - all great
British, Dutch, Australians, NZ, Germans
Friends made, un - countable
Best regards to you all
Reece and Dave
Location: Yorkshire - Cairo, Egypt
We headed down the winding roads of Yorkshire, stone walls outlining the green rolling fields pulling over to now and again to allow another vehicle to pass through these narrow avenues. As the dark grey stone buildings flick by at an increasing rate as the small local villages join together to form towns and the reality that our journey is to turn another page becomes a reality with Manchester Airport coming into view.
Reflecting on this chapter, England is quite different from the perception and if you allow some time to explore the country lanes and villages, the vast metropolis of London and other cities are seemingly balanced by the agriculture and openness of the wilderness areas. We visited the Peak district, Cotswolds, Moors and country lanes, the best thing is the Vast network of public walkways, which allows you to walk for miles through private fields to access the more remote regions beyond.
Our stay was punctuated frequently by welcoming friends and relatives we thank you all for your hospitality and hope to see you soon again.
Our bags hit the conveyor belts and we waltz down the corridor to the awaiting plane for the flight to Cairo in anticipation of what is to come. We have joined up with Kyle for this part of the leg and his excitement is evident as he bounces off the walls looking forward to the journey.
We skip down to London and have a 2 hour stopover before heading to Cairo with British Airways and we are on our way.
The flight attendant announces she has no arrival cards for Egypt but she has arranged for them to be handed to her upon our arrival; we touch down and head off the plane without the cards,
- Welcome to Egypt-
At the arrival hall there is a scrummage at the counter for cards and bench space, having them filled in entry visas are required at US$15 each is required, I reach for my travelers cheaque and look for a bank to cash it and see that they are on the other side of immigration I ask at the counter and he points at the bank and shrugs
Welcome to Egypt-
Heading out of the terminal the time is 12.30 pm and we are inundated with calls of Taxi, booking a fixed price Taxi we are herded toward a dilapidated piece of metal, the bags are thrown in by persons unknown until the echoing sounds of Baksheesh are resonating through the cab.
- Welcome to Egypt-
The taxi driver Mohammad squeals the tyres and we are off, with no seat belts, lights off and the window winder broken the gloom broken by the gleam of reflected light of the street lights emanating from the maniac smile of gold teeth from our new found friend. After forcing the window down to get some air I place my elbow on the sill and try for some small talk but that dries up along with my mouth as we hit traffic, all seemingly bent on being getting in front in I can't say lane, as it would normally be 3 lanes but 6 cars battle for pole position.
I retract my elbow as the hairs are scraped off by another beaten opponent sliding millimetres by. Screeching to a halt outside the Hotel, Mohammad broadly smiles and glints in the bright lights, record time he announces, surely that is good for some Baksheesh?
I cant wait for tomorrow.
-Welcome to Egypt
Well tomorrow arrives with a trek to the Pyramids of Giza, we get going around 11am, the new taxi driver wants 100 pounds Egyptian for a day I negotiate 60 as it is already half gone and off we go. On the way there are the customary stops at the Papyrus and Perfume shops where prices go up and down quicker than the Nile. We struggle out of the shops and say straight to the Pyramids please arriving at his cousins shop just around the corner who happens to run camel and horse treks around the pointy stones, prices start at 400 E. pounds per person and fall like a meteor when met with a less than excited response, we offer 150 for the three of us and world war three erupts.
All we wanted was to see the pyramids so we extract ourselves and walk off.
- Welcome to Egypt
Walking through the gates the pyramids are great the sphinx is not as big as you think but the blocks on the pyramids are huge up to 12 tons each and some come from Aswan, 1000km away, while walking around a trio of Harley Davidsons motorcycles round the corner looking just great until the last one suddenly slips side ways and sparks fly along the road, we rush to help the American rider up. He is fine and our worry turns to smirth as we realize his demise was a load of camel dung on the road causing him to slip, unhurt but pride demolished he quickly mounts up and rides away to laughter and comments of could you do it again, I didnt get it on film
After 2 hours of looking around and drinking in the enormity of the project completed over 2500 years BC thats 4500 years ago. I still am totally in awe of the scale of this task Simply Amazing.
We wandered back to our Taxi driver and hustle him away from his Sheesha (water pipe and head back to our hotel for some rest
Location: Anita and Craig's House, England
One of the days we checked out the battle field of 1066 in a town surprisingly called Battle, this was where the fight with the Normans was lost and the future of England was changed forever. We wandered around with earphones listing to the accounts of both sides, that weekend they were having a reconstruction of the battle with 100 horses and 1000 people taking part.
On one of the last days at Steve and Jeanettes we headed out to Dover where we visited the Dover castle and the white cliffs. Being the closest place to the mainland the castle was placed on a hill and gives a great view out to sea.
Our final goodbyes were said to Steve, Jeanette, Zofia, Halina and Casia saying it would not take another 18 years to get together we all had a great time and we set off to check out a pub one of Dads mates Dave Helliwell had owned when he was in England so after tracking it down Dad went inside to have a beer for Daves sake while we waited in the car.
The next day it was off to Salisbury to check out Stonehenge.
For those not in the know this place is a ring of monolithic stones arranged in a circle for reasons unknown but probably to revere the changing of seasons and sun positions.
The stones way upwards to 12 tons and there are 2 types, a bluestone and a limestone, the blue stone was quarried 240 miles away and how they were transported here is a mystery.
After all, this all happened 2-3000 years ago. Amazing.
We also visited the town of Winchester which was once the capital of England it has some interesting buildings and makes you aware that every place you go here has a long history behind it. We visited the cathedral and went down to the crypt which was creepy, but the worst part is when you walk down the aisles you walk over headstones on the floor where people have been buried inside the church, here there are over 1000 on the floor.
We visited some more friends of Mum and Dads and had a great time checking out some small villages with thatched roofs and weird shaped walls, some houses are so close to the road that you have to check for traffic before stepping out the front door. We also visited a 14th century church which has been converted to a house and the front and back gardens have grave stones and above ground crypts in them I dont think I could sleep there. Yuk!!!!
We next visited Avesbury which has some standing stones done around the same time as Stonehenge, it has a massive moat around the stones and must be 3 km around and is 4 meters deep, it was dug using deer antlers for shovels must have taken years to do.
Location: London, England
Our second day we started off in London with the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, although we couldnt really see the guards we could see a lot of on lookers and police officers, some on bikes and some on horses.
Harrods was our next stop which is one of Englands most expensive shops, Kyle and Mum could not help themselves so they bought a smoked salmon roll each for 4 Pound, probably the most inexpensive item in there.
We also, well I got to go to the Hard Rock café as I we went to the one in NYC so we had to go to this one, also the Madam Tussuards (wax museum), which I walked around by myself as Kyle didnt want to go on it. Oh well I gave a speech at the United Nations that they had going on inside, also spoke to Jamie Oliver and also Mel Gibson, so I wasnt lonely.
We were pretty worn out by that stage so we caught the early train back to Steve and Jeanettes where we ordered Indian Takeaway, which was very yum and hit the hay stacks ready for the next day
Location: london, England
We headed into London for a day of Touristy attractions. After our 1 Hour train ride into the city we started off with seeing the London Bridge and the outside of the Tower of London.
Seeing as Kyle and I had not heard a lot about the Tower of London we decided to spend that money on something that we could relate to as it did or was going to cost a fair bit when you convert back to Aus Dollar.
We headed over to Hyde Park, Londons largest park at 180 Hectares. Although not as large as central park in Manhattan which we visited a few weeks earlier it was still Very large to walk around, although we didnt I can imagine.
After a Great Lunch at a place dad and mum use to eat at when they were living in London about 17 years ago we ventured on to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Oxford street, we did not however get to see Mr. Monopoly in his little Tuxedo though.
The Queen was busy at the time when we visited her Palace but she did apologize and we got to see the silly looking guards marching up and down front of the Palace and then stand completely still for another half hour, what an interesting life.
After the Full packed day we relaxed on our Aerial tour of London on the London Eye, which is a really Large Ferris Wheel that goes up, and up, and up and you can see most of the sites of London, Big Ben (which we did on the way to the London Eye), the Buckingham Palace, Hyde park and that strange looking skyscraper that looks like a Gherkin?
After our Stay with Olive it was off to Cambridge Where wet and cold weather kept us from seeing the town fully, we did however get to see all the Free Museums in town which turned out to be quite interesting...
Whitstable in Kent where dads mum grew up and then it was to Steve and Jeanett's house where we spent the next Few nights on a Farm on a Oast house.
On Saturday we had a Barbie and had Phil and his Wife and Kids who have moved over from Australia, so it was kinda like an Australian barbie.
Day 2 had us Riding down to the Local Water Reserve where we had a lovely lunch and the kids got to play on the massive slide.
During the time we were with Steve and Jeanett, we also got to go horse riding, which was cool, and we could catch the train to London only an hour away.
Location: Yorkshire & Olive's House, England
We headed up north to York, with its large churches and other old buildings, perfect weather made our stay very enjoyable. Kyle got to go on a Ghost Tour of all the Haunted houses around York, which he has always wanted to do.
The first day however we all walked around the Walls which use to protect the city of York from invaders and other threats, little holes in the brick can still be seen from where the gunmen use to sit with there guns and defend the city that they lived and served for.
Since York has so much history and all, when ever anyone wants to build a new building they have to do an archeological dig to make sure they dont build over anything.
One place was about to become a large shop or house but when they did the archeological dig they found a Viking town, so they transformed it into a Museum, unfortunately we chose not go in as it was 15.50 pounds per adult which is scary for 3 adults and 1 child. About 50 pounds - $125au, ouch
After York it was off North East to Whitby Abbey where Captain Cook received his apprenticeship on flat bottom shop which he later commissioned one called the Endeavor. With Fighter Jets from the English Air Force displaying in the sky, sitting by the water side it was very enjoyable. Kyle bought some original English Lollies and a few hours later it was back to the Santa fe (The Car) and back down to York and on to The Fends in Cambridgeshire to stay with 81 year old Olive, Mums next door neighbors sister (next-door neighbor from Gostford 30 Years ago) that probably makes no sense anyways.
We arrived to Olives at 12:30 to a Roast Lunch, with the lot. After lunch it was over to her daughters house next door, Brenda. While we were talking to Brenda, Stuart rolled up in the drive way with his Bentley, which was also nice to meet, being the first close encounter with the lovely breed of cars it become clear how many cows are used in the making of these luxury cars, each steering wheel is hand stitched and takes 15 man Hours. I can imagine how much the Wheel is worth, considering each floor mat is worth 500 pounds, thats accommodation in Peru for 250 nights, thats 8 months.
Ok enough about the car, that beautiful car with its leather roof and smooth lines and sleek design, No really, back to the English trip.
We stayed at olives house for the next 3 or 4 nights, with a trip down to dads Aunty Josies who lives only a little way down the road (an hour or so) we arrived there to a roast dinner, we were really doing well. Debbie and Her partner and Debbies daughter Lucy also came to meet us. A few hours down memory lane for dad and a few more interesting stories and it was time for the Moger family to head back to Olives for a few more days and eventually head off again.
Location: Yorkshire, England
The last day in New York (the day we flew out) we just had breakfast in our usual deli on the corner of who knows, after our whopping big bacon and egg sub it was on to the subway, this took us half the way to the airport and another airport train would take us to the airport.
We booked in and checked in and we were told that the plane was full and our seats were not available any longer so they had to upgrade us to business class, oh what a shame the plane was full.
Dad and I watched a movie followed by some 5 star dinner and dad finished the night off with 3 beers, 2 Red Wines and a Scotch and I had an orange juice.
We arrived in Manchester after our 5 Hour flight or so to a warm and early welcoming from Mum, Kyle, Sue and Stuart who had got up at 4:30am to come and meet us.
Next Mission was getting the rental car, we all headed out to the rental place to find that the prices that we had confirmed online were wrong and that they wanted another 600 pounds which is about $1500au, Mum was not happy, but in the end we got it to the price we were quoted and drove off in our Santa Fe 4x4, very large for an English car.
Soon came the afternoon of our arrival and already they had dad and I walking all around town, I was very tired as I did not sleep at all the night before and I had major jet lag, and was trying very hard not to fall asleep while walking.
We stayed at Sues for the next few days while dad and I regained our loss of sleep, a few more walks and drives were added in before it was time for us to leave Sue and Sues.