Since our last newsletter we have travelled through Egypt, Europe, the USA and have now just arrived back in Australia.
When we shipped Troopie from Sudan to Italy we were told that the shipping time would be ten days. As a result we spent ten days in Egypt visiting the great pyramids near Cairo and the temples and tombs around Luxor. These places were very interesting. For the first time in Africa, we had to battle against busloads of tourists. All the towns and tourist attractions were very heavily guarded. No matter where you went you would see armed police and soldiers. Touts also constantly harassed us wherever we went. Sometimes it was difficult to know whether people were genuinely friendly or just a tout in disguise. Inevitably the friendly conversation almost always led to "come and see my shop" or "I will show you... (for a fee)" etc. etc. Oh how we missed the genuinely friendly Sudanese people.
We shopped around in Cairo for the cheapest possible air ticket to get
us to Italy. We were agasped at the prices quoted by EgyptAir and Alitalia
Airlines who wanted around US$700 per person. We eventually found that
the three of us could fly on Romanian airlines for US$843. We were concerned
that Romanian airlines may use old Russian aeroplanes but were assured
that we would be flying in a Boeing built plane. Much to our delight the
plane we flew in was a brand new Boeing 737, had great service and bore
no resemblance to Sudanese Airlines. The flight took us from Cairo to Milan
Italy via Bucharest. Having heard about the impending NATO bombing of Yugoslavia,
we kept an eye out for passing cruise missiles as our flight path took
us over Yugoslavia. As it turned out the bombings started later that day.
We arrived in Milan, Italy the day after Troopie was due to dock. Anxious to be reunited with Troopie we immediately rang the shipping line only to be told that Troopie would not arrive for another two weeks. Fortunately Geoff's parents, sister and family were in the UK and decided to meet us in Italy. Together we filled in the two weeks skiing in the Italian Alps around the Dolomites and visiting Venice, Florence, Pisa and the Mediterranean coast.
It was a great relief when we were finally able to pick up Troopie from the docks in La Spezia near Genoa. With my parents we drove from Italy through Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France before catching the ferry to the UK. Our trip had finished.
Driving through Africa was an Amazing Journey in direct contrast to
Europe which was tame, predictable and VERY expensive. We could spend a
month or two in Africa for what one-week in Europe cost us. Fuel in Africa
ranged from US$0.9 cents per litre in Sudan to US$0.75 in Uganda with an
average price in Africa of around US$0.45 cents per litre. In contrast
fuel in the UK cost US$1.20 cents per litre.
We travelled through Africa and Europe from bottom to top, 40,000 km, 20 countries in 8 months from September 1998 to April 1999. Eight months was too short and meant that we had to skip the Middle East. In hindsight we should have allowed twelve months.
We had a fantastic journey through Africa. The only sad day we had during our entire trip in Africa was in Port Sudan when we shipped Troopie to Italy and realised that our trip through Africa had ended. We would strongly encourage anyone who has a dream of doing an overland trip to set a date and go for it. Thanks to all our friends and family who have helped us prepare, fellow Overlanders who we met along the way and provided us with valuable information, and those who have kept us in their prayers.
Now where are we going to go for our next holiday??
Geoff, Kienny and Su-lin Kingsmill
PS: We really enjoyed our two month's travelling through Ethiopia, Sudan
and Egypt with Gunther and Ulli. We were delighted, when they were married,
two months after returning to Austria. It must have been the Nile
Water. For the whole time we've known them, we've never seen them so well
dressed and not wearing their pink and blue thongs (flip-flops/slippers)
which is a story in itself - see the Malawi newsletter for more details.
Congradulations. We hope you're going to join us in Libya next year.