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In Egypt: Around Aswan


The Mövenpick from the East Bank, Aswan.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that, bored with the river boat, I’d made my getaway a day early, moved to a not-bad but noisy hotel, and finally learning my lesson, spent the remainder of my time in Aswan at the 5-star Mövenpick Hotel. Set in expansive gardens on Elephantine Island mid-Nile, it was quiet and comfortable, an idyllic location and affordable, considering.

The day I moved to the Mövenpick I took the ferry back across the river to the town to look for a restaurant I’d read about. The location sounded easy enough to find but I was soon lost in the market. I stopped to ask directions from a young man in a small electronics shop and was surprised when, instead of just explaining the way, he cheerfully left the shop to guide me there, some distance it turned out. Needless to say, I was charmed.

Along the way I’d discovered the size of the market area, open and I thought a great deal more pleasant than the market areas I’d seen in Luxor. I returned on other days to wander, buy fresh dates and peanuts, sandalwood incense, Christmas gifts for my granddaughters and to take pictures. I also went back to El Masry, the restaurant, easy now that I knew the way, just one right turn off the Corniche at the mosque.

The very pleasant, large & open, Aswan market.


If you’ve never eaten fresh dates, you’ve missed something.
Aswan is also known for excellent peanuts, a staple in my diet.


The Mövenpick occupies the northern end of Elephantine Island, the rest home to Nubian villages built when the Aswan High Dam submerged many traditional settlements under Lake Nasser. One day I walked down to the river at the back of the resort, looking for a path south to the villages I was told was there. I never found the path but I did find this sweet boat and a closer view of the botanic garden which I’d visit another day.




All episodes of 'PortMoresby in Egypt' can be found here.




And others of PortMoresby’s contributions here.




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Plenty of great memories from Aswan - much more laid back than the churning touristopolis of Luxor, antiquities notwithstanding. The Nubian population adds a new cultural aspect, allowing the visitor time and space to absorb the timeless river’s influence, with the desert at barely a stone’s throw away. Fab pictures.

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