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
Indeed a virtual travel through your photos.Thanks for sharing the great clicks.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the tour!Delete
I have to confess that I too think of Egypt as sand in varying shades of tan with dunes rather than mountains. Changing those preconceived notions is one of the best things about travel. Loved the enthusiastic greeting your group received as well as seeing pics of people involved in their daily activities. Being reminded that we have so much in common with others, no matter where we are is another great thing about traveling!ReplyDelete
You do learn so much from travel, don't you Anita? I absolutely am becoming intolerant of my friends who don't go see the world but prefer to judge it and its people by just what they read in the headlines. . .Delete
Great photos and so much to learn from your travels. I too was under the mistaken impression that it was all flat sand. Looking at the pictures of the young childeren outside the buses reminded me of my youth when I would visit Greece and the kids would be waiting outside the buses and playing around. Looking forward to the next post!! :)ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoy the tour and I do so love the enthusiasm of children in greeting 'strangers' to their areas. And your mention of Greece has me counting the days until I return (six weeks and we are back!)Delete
I, too, thought of sand when I thought of Egypt...maybe photos of all those camels walking across the sand...?ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing these lovely photos of your trip... it looks so amazing.
I've got some of those photos of camels BJ, they'll be showing up in future posts!Delete
Fascinating - thank you so much for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/02/potted.htmlReplyDelete
And as always, thanks for hosting it!Delete
Interesting that you would mention the working ports. We stopped at many of them in South America and Genoa is also one of our favorites~ReplyDelete
I have a less-traveled friend who snarled at a cruise she'd taken because the ship was docked at a working port, I couldn't understand what her complaint was - we love those ports and the activity that takes place there.Delete
One of my favorite things about traveling is just looking out the window and glimpsing daily life. I asked my Syrian foster son what the sign says and apparently it's just one of those signs announcing what company is doing repairs on the road. Sorry to disappoint!ReplyDelete
We suspected it was simply directional as it appeared early on as we left town and headed into the unpopulated area.Delete
The "Moving the Crop Photo" I've seen before on the other side of the continent in Morocco! I can feel the excitement of the bus ride through your photos.ReplyDelete
It was fun and a nice way to see a lot of the country going about its regular daily routines. Thanks for stopping by Jan!Delete
When I went to Egypt (more than 10 years ago), two body guards were assigned to the group. Nobody said we were having body guards but we kind of understood why they were with us. I observed a lot of security measures (like when taking a taxi). I guess some things have not changed.ReplyDelete
Taxis were without any kind of security and we took several (aside from having trunks and under bellies of cars screened as we entered hotel parking lots but then that is done in Turkey and other countries as well. We had security at the entry of each hotel but not sure they'd have had much effect had some heavily armed group come bursting in. Thanks for the visit, Ruth!Delete
Life and travel should always be about the journey. I like seeing the everyday people, not sure about noise around the working ship yard but that would still be better than the tourist area.ReplyDelete
Noise never seems to be too major a factor in these shipyards; certainly not like Fort Lauderdale and Miami cruise ports where the happy cruisers let you know they are there! ;-) Thanks for visiting ~Delete
A wonderful introduction to traveling in Egypt. I long to go there. Sorry though to see as in many developing areas that garbage is a big problem. No infrastructure or traditional support, I guess.ReplyDelete
That's the beauty of travel on our own Elaine, we can see the warts as well as the wonder. I sometimes question those who rave about places when they have taken hosted trips and have seen only what the tourism folks want them to see and then they report what they've seen as though there were no garbage, strikes or traffic jams or other of life's realities. Guess I kinda like seeing that less-than-pretty side of life; makes it more real somehow. Thanks much for stopping by!Delete
Now that you mention it, Jackie, that's exactly what I've thought of Egypt too. I'm scratching my head trying to think were I would have gotten that idea.ReplyDelete
Like your posts on Greece, I'm really enjoying your posts on Egypt. Your first two photos had me staring at it for a good minute.
Glad I am not the only one Marcia! I suspect I read children's books about camels and deserts and therefore figured that is what it looked like. Oh travel is so good about breaking down those preconceived notions, isn't it?? Thanks for the visit!! Happy Valentine's Day~Delete
Hi Jackie, the journey is indeed as rewarding as the destination. I loved how you captured the people going about their daily lives. Your photos of them gave a good feel of the spirit of the place. I look forward to see your Luxor post. I know it will be grand.ReplyDelete
Marisol, how nice to see a comment from you but on Valentine's Day? I imagined you two Sole/Soul Mates out on some romantic adventure! ;-) Happy weekend~Delete
I'm glad they are taking tourism seriously with guarded check points, unfortunately they have to work this way, but the journey is definitely interesting.ReplyDelete
It is a way of life so utterly different from that which we know that it is difficult to comprehend - security checkpoints, yet smiling children along the way. Thanks for visiting today Noel!Delete
Great intro and looking forward to more on Luxor. I would love to go to Egypt, even now. So happy you were able to.ReplyDelete
I do hope you make it to Egypt - such a wonderful country so rich in history that it is sad the events in recent years are keeping so many people away; it is a world treasure. Hope to see you back again for our look at Luxor coming up next.Delete
Fascinating. The security and checkpoints would have unnerved me. People going about ordinary life and the waving children would have been a welcome antidote to that. I too imagine this area as vast stretches of sand, but the mountains in the background of your photo remind me or Arizona.ReplyDelete
Well, it was like Dorothy in Oz, Donna. The security and checkpoints are so far removed fro life as we know it, that it does take you back for a moment. But the kids, those kids were so incredibly special - I'll remember them longer than the checkpoints. And that is a great point about the landscape (I'd once thought of Arizona as flat desert-land as well ;-) )Delete
Looks like a great "magic carpet ride." It's always nice to see how real people live out of the tourist spots!ReplyDelete
My favorite part of travel is going to and through those places that aren't 'tourist destinations' - I love seeing the everyday lives of people! Thanks for the visit~Delete
We really want to see Egypt but have been hesitant. Glad to see everything was OK. Guess we should start planning.ReplyDelete
As I've written about our more recent trip to Cairo, we did feel safe. Unnerved every once in a while like when passing those security checkpoints, but never 'unsafe' (On the flip side there was tight security everywhere like pulling into the hotel parking lot and having bomb sniffing dogs and officers check the vehicles, having bags scanned at hotel entryways, but yet the historical treasurers and the kind, warm wonderful people were such an antidote to those things, that it made it all worthwhile). If you get serious about planning DM us or write, we've got some suggestions for guides and such).Delete
I had no idea Egypt had mountains either!! What a stunning contrast between water and land.ReplyDelete
Isn't that crazy, that you get a notion of how something 'should' look and then it doesn't and it knocks your socks off??!! Hugs to you~Delete
I love the "everyday people" photos, as well as the breathtaking landscapes. What a trip!ReplyDelete
So interesting to see a different side of Egypt! A fun post.ReplyDelete
Ii´m also looking forward to read it. Great pick!ReplyDelete
Egypt has taken security seriously for many, many years. I look forward to visiting Luxor with you!ReplyDelete
We did Egypt with a private guide in 2007 and also did the caravan to Luxor.ReplyDelete