Egyption History & Travel - 2010

The modern engineering feats comprised of the British-built Low Aswan Dam completed in 1906 and the Russian-Egyptian project which produced the High Aswan Dam in the 1960s were highlights of our visit in the city of Aswan. A few of these experiences deserve some special mention because of their impact on the four of us during this moving visit to Egypt. Camel Ride to St. Simeon's Monastery No doubt that our most fraught episode was the visit to St. Simeon's Monastery, following an eventful camel ride starting at a staging area about 150 ft. from the Nile. The walk up to the camels was more accurately described as a “slog” since the terrain was quite steep and composed of loose sand which produced a forward motion consisting of two steps up and one slide back. The heat didn't help either; our guide had told us it was 112 degrees when we were taken off the ship and loaded onto the boat that would take us to the other side of the Nile and would be getting hotter. It probably took about 10-15 minutes to reach the camels with lots of huffing and puffing going on. We all made the “grade” and were helped onto the camels in various ways—some were picked up bodily and placed atop the camels like heavy sacks, others were helpfully boosted up, and taller folks were able to get astride with little or no help. Egyptian saddles were not particularly uncomfortable and there was an large saddle horn to help keep balance while the camel moved along in its rolling side to side fashion. The ride to the monastery entrance took about 20 minutes after we were all “aboard.”

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