April 13-14, 2014
Leaving Luxor, it was a change to be riding through green areas again. We’d been so used to riding through desert and sand that we hadn’t realized how much we’d missed seeing plants. The road passed close to the Nile, so it was cooler too. It was a treat to hear the breeze rustling in the palm trees. Everything felt green and lush.
Shortly outside of Luxor we stopped in a small village for foul. Local schoolboys were curious about us and tried to cluster around our table. Everytime they got too close though, they were shooed away by the old men at the table next to us. We noticed this all throughout Egypt. Anytime children approached us an adult would always intervene to send them away.
We planned on stopping in Edfu, a town about halfway between Luxor and Aswan. Besides a famous temple, there’s also a sugar refinery in Edfu. It felt like we rode by kilometers of trucks full of sugarcane waiting to drop it off at the refinery. We stopped to take some pictures and a couple of drivers offered us some cane. We asked for a little bit, but they kept pulling out cane after cane from their truck. Scott strapped our four long sugarcanes to the back of his bike and we rode into Edfu.
We met a local English teacher who directed us to the two hotels in town and gave us his number in case we needed anything. It was always impressive how frequently this happened when we met people on the road.
We had a view of the temple from the roof of our hotel, but we decided not to visit it. By this point we’d seen enough temples and ruins. It was still early so we walked around the souk and explored the town a little bit.
We stopped in a busy koshary restaurant. Koshary was sold in four sizes there and we tried to order two large ones, six Egyptian pounds each. The waitress misunderstood us and we ended up with two miniscule servings, for a total of six pounds. We were still hungry but didn’t want to order a second round.
As we were leaving, we noticed a falafel stand across the street. It looked busy, so we decided to check it out. The sandwiches were made in pita bread halves. I thought that one half was one sandwich and we were still hungry, so I ordered six. One sandwich was really two halves and the stand owner could have taken advantage of us and charged us double but he didn’t. We were served only six halves and charged for three sandwiches. The falafel was spiced with dill, the only time in Egypt we tasted falafel like this. It was one of our top falafel spots in Egypt.
We walked around the souk, looking for a solution to our gas problem. We needed gas cannisters for our camping stove and the last place we found them was in Cairo. Of course, we knew that we probably wouldn’t find them in this small town but it gave us a nice mission to explore the souk. Like every souk in Egypt it was hustling and bustling until late at night.
Scott got a haircut. I sat and chatted with the barbers and their kids until he was finished. At night the streets were busy and the music came on. It was tough to sleep with the loud pounding music, but we eventually managed.
As we left Edfu, the terrain changed a little. It was no longer the easy flat riding of the day before, but gentle hills. The sun was hot.
We stopped at a police checkpoint when we left the Luxor governate and crossed into the Aswan governate. There we met Yousef, a policeman living in Aswan. He was friendly and wanted our phone number. After that, he called us every day for a few weeks just to make sure we were okay. Poor Scott had to answer the phone each time, doing his best to communicate in broken Arabic with Yousef who didn’t speak any English.
When we wanted to leave, the police told us to wait. We didn’t understand why until they pulled out a van to follow us. We had a polite police escort. They never told us to get in the van and followed a respectful distance behind. We wondered how long they would follow us for when after about 30 kilometers they turned around without a word and drove back to the way they’d come. They never asked for money or anything from us.
I’d noticed the whole area we drove through with the police was plastered with signs and graffiti of a four fingered hand. At the time I didn’t realize it, but this was all Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. Now we understood the purpose of the police escort, especially as things had been heating up a little bit before the upcoming elections.
Nico and Julia had arrived in Aswan the night before and texted us the details on their cheap hotel. We rode through Aswan and went to check it out. There was a hotel next door so we checked that one out too and ended up staying there, at the Noorhan. The receptionist was pleasant and the room had everything we needed. It turned out to be a great choice.
That night we met up with Nico and Julia to have a celebratory dinner for Nico’s birthday. They caught us up on applying for a Sudanese visa and we spent the rest of the night walking around the souk.
April 13-14, 2014: 214.3 km (Total km: 9515.77 km)