bicycle travelling
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EGYPT II, SUDAN: cairo-khartoum

24. April 2003

EGYPT II, SUDAN: cairo-khartoum

6205 km, khartoum (SUDAN)

route: cairo - ain sukhna - hurghada - port safaga - luxor - aswan - wadi halfa - atbara - khartoum

on the road again. AT LAST!

after hanging around for nearly five weeks in cairo - due to two visits from home, bines parents brigitte and alfred and my brother kryzzo, and due to changing our planned route, the political situation in jemen and pakistan made it necessary - i was very happy to be on my bike again. our new route now: cycling through egypt, sudan and ethiopia, to reach then bombay-india by plane.

the nile valley is closed for individual travellers. tourists have to join police convoys. therefore bine and i took the red sea coast road. the wind and road was good, although there was nothing special to see. hurghada is tourist hell - high prices and nothing to see. 65 km north of hurghada is port safaga, where the convoy to luxor is starting. at 6 pm we were sitting in the rear of a police pick up which was very chilly we were forced to reload our equipment two times because the police cars changed. it was no pleasure at all. but at about ten o clock in the night the police took us to razniecky camp where we stayed for three nights. karnak temple was very impressive, also the souk and the people. i felt that this is a different region of egypt. and i felt that 'real africa' is just about to begin. i enjoyed luxor more than expected.

the convoy to aswan was more relaxed at day time. we were allowed to travel in a bus of a russian tourist group. the nile valley is much more different compared to all the desert areas we cycled through in egypt. you could easily forget that just one km away the desert starts again. but here on both sides of the nile all is green, and many people are living here. in aswan we met bojan from slovenia, who is on his way back from a slovenia - capetown - slovenia - tour by bicycle. we spent some hours together with bojan who already cycled around the world for two years. it was very nice talking with a real adventurer and hear some stories from him.

to make the departuring day more interesting, we sent a parcel to europe in the morning. it took two hours and some nerves, and on the way to the port, we had to put our bicycles on a pick up for a short time for crossing the small damm. the two soldiers forbit us to go there by bike. after going through all the border formalities we were relieved to enter the ferry to wadi halfa in sudan.

the ferry stayed in the port for a few hours, and bine and I watched very interested the loading of the boat. hundreds of boxes are carried on the ferry, and also two jeeps from a german university. here in port aswan i first 'tasted' africa. it was great.

the travel to wadi halfa was quite pleasant. good views on the nubia lake and the coast, comfortable temperatures and relaxing on the deck. we talked to the german archaeologists and geologists who are in a project in tschad, and now on their way to khartoum. at about 6 o clock in the morning we passed abu simbel, a famous temple who was dissected in hundreds of parts and replaced on an other location .due to the building of the aswan dam.

wadi halfa - much difference to egypt! just a few houses, very widespread, and in between just sand. the only vehicles are 4WD-jeeps. now we are in real desert, no paved road for 1000 km. from the port to the 'center' of the town, bine realized how difficult cycling is. she cried. we camped outside, and in the morning she whispered, 'i am afraid of the desert'. we decided to go by train to abu hamed.

entering sudan was easy, but registration was not. a office-run and quite a lot of money. you feel not welcomed. but that's just the government ' the people in nubia are really one of the friendliest people i know so far. one helped us to get the traintickets and our luggage-ticket. because the train left in the evening, we went early to the trainstation, put the bikes on the train and cooked some noodles.

the train left quite in time, but was not very fast. inside it got very sandy, and after a while really chilly. good luck we had our fleece-inlets in the train. for me sleep was nearly impossible. after 12 hours we left the train in abu hamed. our bikes were damaged, but nothing too serious. it was windy, all full of sand. and about the oncoming route ' 200 km through the desert ' i had very bad feelings. i cannot explain why, but i wanted to go by bus, and bine agreed.

it was awfully bumpy, and awfully hot. we stuck in the sand for 4 hours and arrived atbara in the night. on the next day we walked through the town. everything was new for us, and it took time to get self-confident.

the road from atbara to khartoum was paved and very good. and the landscape for me something new. like a savanna, just a bit dryer, less grass and trees. but it looked very african. and was happy!

khartoum ' the capital of sudan. but to be honest, theres not much to see. we stayed in 'blue nile sailing club' at the blue nile. an exclusive club for sudanese, influential people from the elite of the country and foreign diplomats. but also a camp for the few tourists. most of them longtime africa-adventurer, crossing the continent by truck, car, motorbike or bicycle. after 2 days joerg alias bumbum ([=>http:\/\/\/bumbumbike\/]) arrived. we spend 2 weeks together in khartoum and it was very funny.

because of bad feelings about oncoming ethiopia, and feeling of 'lets go more in the direction of australia' bine and i decided to go to mumbai by plane here from khartoum, and not ' as planned ' from addis abeba. getting the indian visa was a big hassle, and it took more than one week. joerg went with us to the airport, and say goodbye to him was a little bit sad. qatar airways brought us to a new continent ' india. lets go to australia!!
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