Since the construction of the Aswan dam in the 70ies, lake Nasser is the largest man-made lake. There has been a road along the lake for some years now, but it is not open for public transport. So we take the ferry like everyone else across the lake to Aswan. With over 500 passengers it looks like one of those overfilled refugee boats. We find ourselves a space on the deck where we can spend the night. The arrival in Egypt is chaotic as expected. We wait for another hour until the jostling masses have passed through migration until we proceed.
Egypt, of course I have been following the news carefully and worried for the past month. More than once I put off the decision of whether I would go there or not. Finally I decide to go, but to take the shortest route through the country and not to go to Cairo.
When we walk through the nice Souk in Aswan on the first night, people greet us strikingly friendly and ask us almost desperately to come into their shop. In the Nile there are dozens of huge tourist boats bobbing unused in the water. In the first days we often feel like people are especially friendly. The total absence of tourism has hit many very hard here.
That there are no tourists at all, can also have some disadvantages. In Aswan I fail to find some other tourists to go together to the famous temple of Abu Simbel. On the other hand I can marvel at the well known tombs and temples in Luxor and have them all for myself where normally hundreds of tourists are. After Qena we finally leave the Nile that we followed now for so long and head through the Eastern desert to the Red sea. The arrival there is quite a shock. Never ever have I seen so many hotels and resorts, although most are closed at the moment.
We had planned to take the ferry across the Red sea to Sharm el-Sheikh. But only a few days before we find out that it is not running anymore, so we take the bus instead.
Sharm is definitely no place for individual travelers and the remark of a guard while looking for a beach ("there is no free beach in Sharm!"), lets us quickly head on. In Dahab I can finally go for a swim in the Red sea. The ride along the Sinai peninsula I will mostly remember for the many heavily armed checkpoints and the barren rocky desert where not a single grass is growing.