Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

« ||| »

Day 2110, Luxor – Qena: The Egyptian Police

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Dec - 13 - 2016

Distance: 67.4 km
Ride time: 3:33:37
Average: 18.9 km/h
Max speed: 29.5 km/h
Total: 52951 km

The Egyptian economy has been hit hard by the development in the region the last 5 years. This means that the Egyptian pound is weak, making it very affordable to be a visitor at the moment; 8-10$ will get you a comfortable room with air condition (much needed at the moment!).

I left my hotel at 6 in the morning and went down to the Nile for a few photos. I find it very fascinating that this river supports life for so many millions of people along the Nile valley – all the way from Cairo in the north to Lake Victoria in East Africa where I passed by a couple of months ago.

After paying my respects to the Nile I continued north towards the city of Qena.

A very central part of cycling in Egypt is the police. I met them at the first checkpoint at the outskirts of Luxor. After a couple of minutes of talking back and forth I was allowed to continue.

When I cycled in Egypt back in 2011 I ended up with police escorts most of the days. I was positively surprised that I was now allowed to cycle by myself along the Nile.

For the first hour and a half the heat was bearable and I enjoyed the fascinating landscape consisting of the green Nile valley with the Sahara desert just a few kilometers away. The peacefulness didn’t last long though.

At the next checkpoint 25 km further down the road I was once again stopped by the police. This time I was told that a police car would be escorting me to Qena, without any further explanation given. The two policeman were friendly enough as we started the trip, me in front on my bike, and the police car just behind.

I was asked where I was planning to stay and answered that I would be looking for a hotel once in Qena. This answer didn’t seem to please the police too much, and phone calls were now being made. “Just follow the car” was what I was asked to do as we entered the city.

The 45°C midday heat was brutal as the police stopped in front of a hotel and I was told that this was where I would be staying for the night. The place was nice enough, and compared to what I had paid in Luxor even reasonably priced. I was asked when I would be leaving in the morning and was told to wait until my escort would show up.

Oh well, I realized that I was now pretty much in the clutches of the police, and there was not much I could do about it. Not really a surprise since I had the exact same experience 5 years ago. On one side it seems like the police as afraid that something will happen to the tourists. On the other hand I also very much think that they like to keep an eye on the strange foreigner cycling through their country. I’m not sure which one of those aspects weights the most. Maybe the next days will show…

Categories: Egypt
« ||| »