Central Alberta

This is a painting of an area called the Sturgeon Valley, north of Edmonton. A close friend of mine lives on an acreage there with her husband and their two Bassett Hounds, Chip and Dale:) Anyway, this painting is my capture of the view from their front door. This area lies in a lush, green valley with rolling hills and the changes in the seasons are always striking and beautiful.

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The Pyramids!

With all the wonderful things we’ve seen on this trip, it might seem odd to say that the pyramids were the reason for coming to Egypt. But they are quintessential Egypt and they did not disappoint. The iconic stone monuments rise out of the heat haze like sentries guarding the gateway to the eastern border of the Sahara desert. We walked around the 3 main ones and some other smaller pyramids for about 3 hours. We finished around noon and the heat was really coming on strong by then. The last thing we saw before leaving was the Sphinx.

The great pyramid:

The eastern edge of the Sahara desert:

Camels waiting for their riders:

The Sphinx:

Lastly, me and Humphrey!

Tomorrow is our last day in Cairo before flying home. Will post if we do something interesting 🙂

Day ? – … I’ve lost count ðŸ™‚

So after Abu Simbel (which was mind-blowing), we sailed north the following day (Thursday) from Aswan to Luxor. That sail took all day and was a day off for us. The next day (Friday) included a visit to the Valley of the Kings . Below are a hieroglyphs from Ramses II tomb.

Today (Sat, September 22) we flew back to Cairo from Luxor – a very short 1hr flight. Tomorrow (Sunday) we go to the pyramids. Really looking forward to that.

Til then…

Day 8 – Abu Simbel

For the last two days we have been moored in Aswan. Today we took an extra excursion to Abu Simbel, a huge temple and facade that was excavated, cut into numerous pieces, reassembled to avoid being submerged by the waters from the High Dam. The dam was built to provide electricity for most of Egypt. In doing so Lake Nasser was formed, the largest reservoir in the world. The stunning Abu Simbel would have been lost forever if not for UNESCO and an international effort. It was disassembled, transported to a new location, then reassembled to its precise measurements. These statues are huge! This was a highlight of our trip.

Here is a photo of us with our lovely Egyptologist and guide who has been like a mother hen to me while I was sick. Just a wonderful guy!

Day 6 – Karnak

Back again. On Monday we visited Karnak, went to a Papyrus shop, and the Temple of Luxor. Absolutely, amazing!

Karnak : this temple is has remained intact to a large degree keeping in mind that the age is around 3000 years old. There are 134 columns that are inscribed with hieroglyphs. There are also a number of hieroglyphs that still have the original paint on them. When you look at the ruins in today’s time, you must try to imagine them all painted and very colourful.

Papyrus Factory: after Karnak we learned how papyrus is made and then spent some time choosing a painting for our home.

Day 5 – Luxor and the MS Blue Shadow

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted mainly because I unfortunately picked up a gastro bug and have been quite sick. This happened the morning the train arrived in Luxor and I spent the next few days in bed in the hotel. Oh, the joys of travel,

On the mend now and we have boarded the cruise ship, MS Blue Shadow. We are moored on the Nile – imagine! we’re actually on the historic Nile. This photo is of the Nile looking west toward the Valley of the Kings which we visit on our return trip at the end of the cruise. More on that later. The next is looking south in the direction we will be heading tomorrow.

The ship has a sun deck with a pool and we have great views of the Valley of the Kings in the distance.

Tomorrow we’re off to see Karnak and the Temple of Luxor. Until then….

Day 2 Cairo city

Tonight we take the overnight train to Luxor but we’ve had the day to explore Cairo beforehand. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon walking the streets and checking out the shops. This is not as simple as it sounds for a couple of reasons. One, the streets are very crowded with both people and vehicles. Crossing the street is like rolling the dice – will we make it or won’t we? There are few crossing signals and no one pays attention to them anyway. People just walk out in traffic and drivers just drive around them. You need a little courage and daring to do this. The other thing is that it is very hot (+35 or more) and one must constantly replenish fluids. Another reason that walking in Egypt is uncomfortable at times, at least for western women, is the Egyptian men. My experience is that they stare boldly at you and whisper comments in your ear as they pass by. I had heard about this practice but didn’t believe it until I experienced it. Despite all this it was very interesting to check the architecture. Many buildings are ornate and must have been beautiful in the day but sadly have fallen into disrepair. Here are some photos. I’ll tell you about the train tomorrow.