Early morning arrivals had become the norm on that Magic Carpet Ride of a cruise we took from Bangkok through the Middle East to Istanbul last spring. As we approached Port Safaga, (Bur Safaga) an Egyptian port on the Red Sea, the early morning sun was illuminating the mountains surrounding it.
|Port Safaga, Egypt|
|Port Safaga, Egypt|
Unlike the working port where our Oceania Nautica would be docked next to local ferries for two days, Safaga, the resort town some 37 miles away, hosts snorkelers and divers drawn here from around the world for its stunning reefs and fish. In 1993 it was the site of the World Windsurfing Championships. Silly me, did I know that tourism promotions had billed the Red Sea here as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Underwater World”?
Cruise ships stop at this working Port Safaga because its location, about 230 kilometers or 143 miles, away from Luxor, the city built on the site of the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. It is the gateway to that treasure trove of antiquities.
Frankly we find these working ports, teeming with frieghters, commerce, ferries and everyday life far more interesting than the beautifully landscaped cruise ship ports. But we didn’t have a lot of time to watch port activities because. . .
. . .we’d opted to visit Luxor on one of the ship-sponsored ‘big bus’ tours. We were new to Egypt and weren’t quite ready then to explore it on our own, as we recently did on our visit to Cairo. It wasn’t so much security concerns - and there are security considerations when traveling in Egypt - it was more a question of acquainting ourselves with the country in a short amount of time.
(BTW, thanks to the world’s geopolitical situation, it could be said their are security concerns in going to your own local grocery store these days, so it isn’t fair to single out Egypt.)
|Caravan loads and departs|
We didn’t have a sense of caravan on our return trip to the ship. However, the local tour guide assigned to our bus had us back aboard and out of Luxor by 6 p.m. because after that time vehicles weren’t allowed to leave the city and travel the route we were taking back to the ship.
The Journey to Luxor
So off we headed for Luxor on a near three-hour journey each direction; a journey that we quickly realized was as interesting as is the destination!
|En route to Luxor|
|One of many guard stations in Egypt|
|Views from the bus - every day people. . . doing everyday things|
|On the way to Luxor|
As we neared the Nile River, the life giving impact of is tributaries was evident in the greening of the landscape - trees and agricultural fields lined our route. This portion of the trip by far was the most fun because we had such an unexpected welcome:
|An enthusiastic welcome to Egypt|
|And another group of enthusiastic greeters. . .|
|We'd reached agricultural land en route to Luxor|
|Man and beast|
|Moving the crop|
|Waiting to cross the road. . .|
Linking this week:
Mosaic Monday –
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration