Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Catching Up - Update from Idfu

I have been on tour for a full week now and it has been awesome. We rode through the desert for the first few days, that's why my post about the first day came on about the fourth. Tailwind and sun, then the nights got quite cool. Our second day was the longest yet. I wouldn't say the hardest though. It was long and flat, we ended up cycling around 170-175 km that day. I got flat after flat and couldn't figure out why, especially the last 30 km. I ended up racing the sun into camp, there was no way I wasn't riding the full distance. We got to the Red Sea on the second day and followed it until Safaga where we camped on a beautiful beach. Short day (84 km) into Safaga so we got to enjoy the sun and beach all afternoon. Day five was a big climb in the morning and a headwind after lunch - a bit of a push but the scenery was gorgeous and I was fortunate enough to ride in a group for the afternoon, that helped a ton. Day six was short again - just over 90 km - and that brought us into our first rest day in Luxor with all afternoon to get chores done and see some sights. 

Luxor was amazing. The afternoon we arrived there a few of us went to check out Karnak and dear god was that beautiful. Everything is positively huge. We hired a guide at the entrance and he talked non-stop for an hour. Pretty funny dude, he was very secretive about things he knew and the other guides didn't. He liked to wait until no one was around to tell us or show us some things about the temple. I took about a billion pictures of columns that no one will want to see simply because there are so many of them. Beautiful columns though. We went late in the afternoon and ended up being the last group in there, as I was walking out it felt like I had the whole temple to myself.

We have been relying pretty heavily on Nate in Egypt. Probably because he lived in Cairo and speaks Arabic. He took us to a wonderful restaurant for dinner and we wandered around after dinner for a bit. Found a bike shop and tried to buy tassels for handlebars. They were only on the kids bikes though. We were all admiring this extremely impractical horn though no one actually bought one. I bet I have one by the time I get back though. Looked at Luxor temple but didn't go in, it was really close to closing. It is light up beautifully at night. 

Up super early the next morning for hot air ballooning. Yep. Over the Valley of the Kings. It was indescribable. I am so so so happy that I got to go. Spent the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon on the West Bank checking out Valley of the Kings and getting in trouble at Hetcheopsut's (spelling?) temple - you need a ticket to be in the parking lot and we didn't have one and didn't know. By the time we got back to the east bank it was a little later than we expected so Will and I went on a short walk into town and got hassled continuously by taxi drivers. Besides that it was a great wander. It would have been great to have a day or two more to poke around a little but, hey, that's not what I signed up for this time.

Today (Friday, Jan. 16) we biked to Idfu, just over 100 km. Fucking beautiful day, incredible landscape and lovely weather. I've been riding in a group for the last few riding days and as much as I did enjoy riding alone sometimes, chatting with different people and having some company has been a lot of fun. We got in pretty early and went to (another) temple. Idfu is home to the temple of Horus, one of the most complete temples. It is huge and beautiful. My favourite was still Karnak, although I had so much fun exploring all the twists and turns of this temple. I am going to get lost inside one of these, just because I have to see every corner and the end of every weird staircase.

I will try to write a post for photos separately so that this goes up even if the internet sucks and pictures don't. Hopefully I can post this soon because I know I've been bad at keeping home informed of my doings. If you want to see more about the tour check out the TDA website, they have a tour blog and other riders are blogging too - some have links on the tour blog that you should be able to find with a bit of hunting. I think I am just going yo get worse and worse at posting so checking up on other blogs and #tourdafrique on Twitter and Instagram are pretty good ideas. 

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