Julia Albu's Nubian Desert New Year

In June last year, Carte Blanche waved farewell to 80-year-old Julia Albu as she embarked on the ultimate adventure – a trip from Cape Town to Egypt in her 1997 Toyota Conquest. It’s been a tough 7 months but she’s made it and so has her beloved car Tracy.

04 February 2018

Here's an New Year's update from her entertaining blog covering all her adventures and encounters on her sojourn.

Happy (belated) New Year from the Nubian Desert

Originally posted on January 7, 2018.

Well I started the New Year with antibiotics; I hope it was better for you all and that you didn't feel dreadful as well.  I have a filthy cold and a finger that won’t heal so have decided to take my antibiotics that have been roasted by the sun and frozen by these freezing nights in the desert. Never would have believed I could get this cold. But it is mid-winter here. So much has happened since my couple of nights in the Cafeteria! We came to stay in Abu Simbel, quite the most divine little place on the shores of the mighty lake Nasser: 550kms long with a dam wall of 3kms long and 180 metres deep.  It took only three years to build the wall. It has totally changed the economy of Egypt and provides electricity to most of the country. It took approximately five years to fill.

It remains the largest man-made dam in the world. We stood dumb struck at the enormity of the antiquities that have been rescued from the dam and reconstructed on the shore, to give some idea I would be the length of a foot of one of the kings, really huge.

The temple of Rameses II now stands overlooking the dam, large and imposing.

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We laughed hysterically reading the Hieroglyphics imagining shopping lists and to-do notes:  buy loo paper, go to the dentist, meet the girls for a Camel Milk cocktail, pick up and drop off the Grandchildren at a play-date at the Pyramid play-park, etc.!  Only problem is there would be no room for error, I'd be hopeless without any Tippex or backspace!

We spent a night in Abu Simbel as I was feeling pretty grotty but next morning fourteen of us piled into a taxi, like we have in South Africa and drove two hours to Aswan.   Interesting we went to the Nubian Museum which has brilliant displays of Mummies and wonderful history. Not once have I thought I wished I had listened and worked harder in history lessons at school. We also visited a Coptic church I had had enormous expectations only to find it full of black clad old infirm ladies and ancient men. Nothing at all what I had expected.  What I thought was a Coptic cross is actually not a cross at all, the loop at the top symbolises the continuation of life which the Pharaohs believed in.

We also took a boat and were totally blown away with the temple on the Island of Agilkia.

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I must say Joostie has been the perfect traveling companion and I thought of you Philippa when he even cut my toe nails. So I can recommend him for a pedi. I mean honestly how many sons in law would do that! Aswan has a whole street of markets from spices to goodies each more tempting than the last. As my budget is non-existent I only gazed.

We hired a taxi back so as not to miss the light and sound presentation under a full moon who could ask for more other than that to have you all here with us to share it, it was spectacular.

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You can follow Julia Albu's entire journey on her entertaining blog here.

Get the delicious Viazi Vya Karai recipe here.