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Nile Bike Ride Journal

Outward Journey

Sunday 10th Feb, Manchester-Esna c.4000km).

Ok, we didn't actually cycle 4000km, although by the end of the day we felt almost as exhausted as if we had...

This very long day began for me in the Forte Posthouse hotel at Manchester Airport. As I made my way with my husband Mike to Terminal 3, I was disappointed at the bright sunshine - By some strange logic, I felt that flying into somewhere hot and sunny would be more enjoyable if I was leaving miserable weather behind me. Had breakfast at the airport (too cheapskate to pay hotel prices), and hung around while we waited for the Egypt Air checkin desk (the designated meeting point) to exist. On the right you can see a beautiful picture of me hanging around at the airport.

11:00 came, and I joined the group of milling cyclists. Met up with my friend Lesley, and we were handed envelopes containing useful things like tickets, luggage labels and name tags, which everyone dutifully pinned to their chests. Joined the checkin queue and waited for Jason to appear after his flight from Dublin (due to land 15 minutes after we were supposed to meet up). Eventually he arrived, we all checked in, and I said goodbye to Mike, with instructions to keep the cats fed and get his phone fixed so I could keep in touch with him while I was away.

Only 3 or so hours to kill until our flight. Did stuff like eating food (after all, we were at the mercy of the tour organisers from then on - who knows what we'd get to eat?), looking around for other people with cycle helmets and name tags, and generally trying to convince each other that this trip was a good idea and we were going to have fun - and most of all that we were fit enough to make the distance!.

The flight was pretty much a flight. Despite checking in together, we were seated in random positions around the plane, so got to know some other people on the way out. The flight to Cairo left 1 hour late and was only an hour or so long. Cairo-Luxor was another story. Cairo airport was a nightmare. It took 5245276 luggage x-ray machines and human metal detectors, 72457 roll calls and an awful lot of waiting in very slow queues before we could finally get on the plane. Mr. Osman, our tour guide, managed to procure some strange (but nice) Egyptian snacks for us, and we munched on these before boarding.

So - flew on a plane, watched a trashy film, felt tired - the usual. Landed at around 2am local time, all of us shattered. There still remained a one-hour coach transfer to the boat at Esna (as opposed to getting on the boat at Luxor and sailing to Esna, due to the flight arriving too late to meet the boat in time for it to get through the lock). By by the time we had reached and boarded the boat it was around 3:15am - yawn - and we all found our cabins and tumbled into bed, desperately hoping to get some sleep before tomorrow's slightly-later-than-usual wake-up call at 7:30. "You will forget all this when you wake up tomorrow to bright sunshine", they told us. We'll see.


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