04.01.2011 19 °C
Well we're in the home stretch, sitting on the East Bank of dusty Luxor, Egypt.
Since our last entry, we explored the desert of Wadi Rum in southern Jordan and ate / slept with a Bedouin family. This was such a unique experience right on the edge of the travelling comfort zone.
We re-entered Israel and stayed a few nights in Tel Aviv over NYE. This is definately the most cosmopolitan place that we've been to with an endless procession of outdoor cafes, kilometers of boutique clothes and jewellery and a lively bar / club scene. NYE was Friday night and Shabbat. We were lucky enough to be invited for Shabbat dinner with a mate's family (Sasi). Thanks so much Sas, your family are fantastic and the meal rates as the best on our trip. After the blessing, we were treated to scumptuous dish after dish before delicious sweets and coffee. It was great to be able to sit and talk with Israelis about their country and lifestyle. Afterwards, a few drinks at a cool bar was the perfect way to see in the new year. Happy New Year to you all!!
We spent new years day touring the Dead Sea. A trip highlight coming from a salty dip / float, smearing every inch of our bodies with therapeutic mud before being cleansed in a soothing hot spring - stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
We biked and shopped Tel Aviv and Jaffa before hopping on a flight to Cairo. Cairo is just as crazy as all the reports suggest (2+hr traffic grid lock included!!). We did however manage to get to the ticket office and score the last cabin on the overnight sleeper train south to Luxor. After an 8pm departure and simple dinner, we were ready for our bunk beds. There is something romantic and old worldly about a cabin on a train and not even the 5am wake up call dampened the experience.
Arriving at 6:15am left us with limited accomodation options but we finally found a traditional mud brick place which was perfect. Comforatable room in a shady garden with old school and hearty Egyptian food. Yesterday we cycled the tombs of the West Bank including the Valley of the Kings and Queens. Today we've seen the Temples of Karnak (boasting the largest religious building EVER built) and this afternoon we're sailing the Nile on a Felucca, a traditional and time tested wooden sailing boat.
Tomorrow we're back in Cairo to do the Pyramids, Sphinx and Cairo museum. We then start the trip home, via day and night in Abu Dhabi. We'll try and send a trip summary with photos from there (including the Gold medal for the "best homous in the Middle East")
CP & Lee