A symphony for the eyes

Trip Start Apr 19, 2009
Trip End Dec 20, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colourful sound explodes in front of me, the many small orange violins play a quick and high tune, weaving in and out of the heavier and more solid sounds of the green viola. Suddenly from the right, a deep double bass resonates – a large blue and grey fish, cruises past. Below us now, we discover the gentle song of the harp, a huge orange, soft coral that looks like an over-dimensional fan, gently sways right and left. I turn on my back, floating effortlessly due to the great invention of the BCD (bouncy compensator device), and look up….about 20 clarinets add their voices to the already stunning orchestra around us – the trumpet fish shimmer in the reflection of the sun. For 50 minutes we literally immerse ourselves in this beautifully delicate and colourful world and for a brief time become part of this wonderful underwater creation. I look around me and thank God that he was so very creative in his making.

It would be a lie to say that all of Egypt was as harmonious as our diving experiences in El Quesir and Safaga….there is little beautiful sound left when hundreds of scantily clad tourists, from every corner of the world, are released by the busloads on the ancient treasures of Egypt. Like ants they swarm towards what their guide has told them is of great importance, take some snapshots, wiggle their bums at the offended Egyptian selling glass pyramids (prices obviously clearly marked in US$ and Euro) and hurry back again to their respective buses (who have let the motor run for the sake of the air-condition, whilst their charges have sweated it out in Ancient Egypt). There is no time to waste – the next crumbling temple awaits.

Arriving in Egypt

To get from the Sudan into Egypt the only route really open is the ferry from Wadi Halfa to Aswan. The ferry crossing takes 17 hours. The waiting on board for all formalities and health checks to be completed another 10. Marvin and I spent the night with the Lake Nasser air in our noses and starry sky above our head on deck - all in all a long but not too unpleasant journey. Nonetheless we were more than glad to finally arrive in Aswan – and there were greeted by Alban, an old friend of Marvin's, who was to join our Egypt leg (see http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/doktor-alban/1/tpod.html for his travel account).

Please note at this point that Marvin and I arrived – but not Bertha. Bertha was to only dock two days after us on some old, and very rickety barge designed to carry sand for building purposes. When we were allowed into the port to see her, she was rigged down on deck with some dodgy ropes. It took another two days of the most unspeakable bureaucracy to finally release the poor car from its captivity. All conversations, forms, signs etc are obviously in Arabic. You need to move to and from countless offices spread all over the city (which usually close at 12:00 necessitating you to return the next day), fill in a file wroth of documentation (in Arabic of course), pay baksheesh through your nose, drink tea with bored (and heavily armed) officials till your bladder threatens to burst and smile all the way. I dare not add to the paper war by going into more detail, suffice it to say that getting into and out of Egypt by car is an expensive and hair-greying experience. Finally we had the Landy back with Egyptian number plates and could head for the temples and tombs of Luxor.

Those of you who have followed this blog will know that Marvin and I have seen a couple of tombs, temples and even pyramids along the way. So our attitude to the touristic and overcrowded Egypt was, and I quote Marvin who said it so succinctly: 'Wir schauen uns an: einen Tempel, ein Grab, eine Pyramide’ – and that is pretty much what we set out to do. All of it was very big, very old, very impressive, very expensive and very full! I would not have missed it – and I would not repeat it.


People we meet along the way and those who email keep on asking us if we have not had rough days and unpleasant experiences. Marvin and I had a long chat about this the other night, the beauty of a trip like this is that you can have many long chats about literally anything and everything. We came to the conclusion that every day, even those that might have been a bit tougher because of a bad road, unpleasant officials or dirty toilets, had something good in them that we could laugh about or savour. So it is an honest reflection to say that we have enjoyed, and keep on enjoying, this trip full-heartedly. The downs have been so few and so far that they do not really warrant being written about or even mentioned. Sitting here now, I struggle to think of something negative that would fill a blog entry – and that is the truth of it.
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Stelks on

Hi guys,
Cape to Cairo - check!! Thinking of you loads and thanks for keeping in touch. Jordan is supposed to also be great. Take care, may God bless you and your travels further and hug from me to you 3!

Clan Gouvias on

Awesome to hear and see from you again, you guys have done soooo well, it makes my heart pump custard! Have a great trip further and keep the updates coming, its great to see.

Billy (the Rocky Diver) on

So glad to hear that you manics are still not manic depressives!!! Really enjoyed meeting you and Alban at the Rocky Valley camp., - felt like we were part of your adventure (for one night at least). Thanks for the mail. Sending lots of love, peace, happiness, luck and best wishes to you both.
p.s. Albans t-shirt loves it's new home! xx

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