North Africa: 1. Egypt
Deciding that you want to go travelling somewhere is the easy part. Organising and making the dream happen is the much harder next step. To make an east-west traverse across North Africa was the idea of my friend Oli, as a sort of procrastination for returning to the UK from her home in Syria. I was game, but needed to finish writing up my Ph.D thesis by the end of September before setting off. Our friend, Rich, was in too, clearly keen to leave his desk job for more exotic adventures.
Oli was unexpectedly back in the UK early in the summer because of Syrian visa issues, and it was largely down to the time she put in during those few months in Aberystwyth with paperwork and research that made the trip happen. A number of things threatened to disrupt the plan before we had even left; getting Algerian visas proved to be an overly complex process, and in the end we ran out of time to get our passports stamped in London. Our entry into Libya was also not guaranteed and would depend on our application being accepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli while we were travelling in Egypt. Finally, the night before Rich and I were due to fly out together, he came down with a crippling fever and heart palpitations. In the end he caught up with Oli and me in Cairo a few days later, but the illness would come to be a recurring theme over the trip.
The following photos offer a glimpse into our adventures in North Africa, with photo captions giving a brief insight. Albums for Libya, Tunisia and Morocco will appear in due course. Thanks must be given to Oli for all the time and effort she put in. Her spoken Arabic also proved invaluable while we were on the road, helping to ingratiate ourselves with locals, and also getting us out of some scrapes.
Cairo skyline, taken from the Citadel overlooking the Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan.
Nile view hotel in Aswan.