I hope you are well today! I'm sitting on the rooftop of my hotel in Luxor, Egypt, and am SO hot! It is now 95 degrees (but feels like 98, according to weather.com). I was prepared for warm weather but WOW!!! This heat wave is quite the opposite of what has been going on in my homeland!
Ryan and I have covered a lot of ground over the last few days. We flew into Egypt on Friday and after finding a potential hostel decided to opt for a sleeper train and head south to Aswan immediately, and then work our way back to Cairo for our last day. I think I wrote something about that in my last post... the sleeper train was a no-go but we made it anyway.
Aswan was nice -- a fairly large city on the Nile with several islands. On our second day we took a ferry to the main island and decided to walk around rather than take the recommended (by boat captains) course of sailing around and between the islands. We started walking and were soon climbing some stair-like rocks, suddenly finding ourselves in what seemed to be the island's Egyptian ruins. We kept walking and came upon a poor village, with trash and animals around everywhere. We wound through some streets trying to get back to the ferry, and eventually made it onto a small street (about eight feet rather than the former four feet wide).
As we walked we met some other Americans who are traveling through Egypt. The girl has been traveling for about 11 months all through this region as a couch surfer, and her boyfriend met up with her for a few weeks of vacation. She seems to have had many interesting experiences! It was fun to hear stories and connect a little with others on the road.
Yesterday (Monday) we got up at 5am to go to the train station. We traveled for about 4 hours, during which we were moved to different seats in the train twice, and arrived in Luxor in the late morning. We came to our first-choice hotel and had to negotiate for two rooms, and then hung out on the rooftop for a while while they decided if they would let us stay. This hotel is not very nice, but has wifi and a nice rooftop where they serve cheap food and many travelers hang out. It is where I am now
We went to a western-style cafe for lunch and walked around to see the city for much of the day. At sunset we joined the other guests on the rooftop for a "sunset tea" included in our stay, and used the internet more.
Today we went on a tour to see most of the main sites in Luxor's West Bank. We had a guide and about 15 others on our tour, and saw the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and the temple of one of the few women who reigned in Egypt "as a man." It was interesting. Haha, I admit one tomb looks like the next to me. I guess I'm not cultured enough for Egypt:-).
During lunch we ran into our friends from Aswan again, which was fun. There seems to be quite an international backpacking community, and it makes sense that you'd run into each other fairly frequently.
Tomorrow we plan to rent some bikes and see more of the city, and then take an overnight train back to Cairo tomorrow night. Thursday we plan to see the pyramids, and Cara and Luke have an Egyptian friend who now lives in Cairo who we hope to meet up with. Friday morning we will go to Morocco to see Kevin and Keely. I'm really excited for that!!!
Thank you so much, again, for following my trip, for your prayers and for your encouragement even from a distance. I have needed it this week and I have been really blessed through you.
PS: In case you were worried... the henna tattoo is not permanent:-)
PPS: I'm having trouble uploading pictures right now, but will do it when I have a better connection (possibly soon)