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Tuesday 19th June - Egypt - Minya
Today I took the girls off to a play area in the morning, while Andrew and Willie got things packed and organised back at the car.

It was good to hit the road again. However, in the first hour there was a period of about 20 minutes when both girls were crying and Andrew and I were saying reassuring things like Theyre not normally this bad in the car. Willie must have wondered what hed let himself in for!

It took us a good hour to get out of Cairo. After the city, we enjoyed being in the countryside. We drove alongside the Nile in the narrow strip of fertile land that cuts through the desert. In some places this strip of land is only a few hundred metres wide, in other places its maybe a mile wide. The fields are neat and well-tended with a variety of crops but the desert is clearly visible on either side - so close and so barren.

We went through a few checkpoints, but werent delayed too much and it took us about 4 hours to get to Minya. Minya is an attractive town, with long parks and boulevards beside the river. I took the kids to a playpark there while Andrew and Willie had a look for a hotel. The playpark was fun but a little overwhelming because everyone, absolutely everyone wanted to speak to us. We should all have t-shirts printed saying what our names are the standard question is What your name?. The second question, if you get that far, is Where you from?. Scotland is associated with different things in different countries maybe whisky, maybe golf, but here, if people react to the answer Scotland it is to say Yes, Braveheart! William Wallace.

We booked rooms in Dahabiyya a houseboat on the Nile for the night. There are only 4 rooms and we booked 3, the fourth room was empty. The houseboat is very atmospheric clean and well looked after but with old fittings and narrow beds.

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