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19/02/02, restday at Dongola

Today was another restday. Woke up at 500 anyway so was tossing and turning in my bed untill 630. Then got up and brushed my teeth and stuff, washed out my toiletries bag which was full with dust, and collected my laundry so that someone else could do it for me (iโ€™m still traumatised by my Abu Simbel laundry experience).

After all that Vikas send a message asking me what to do for breakfast, so we took a Tuc Tuc into town. The Tuc Tuc driver tried to find us a breakfast place but failed, so we had ourselves dropped off at the Souk. We found a place where they sold bread and the local Sudanese were pushing around the counter to get some of the bread as soon as it came out of the oven. Vikas managed to get a spot among the Sudanes men and after some ten minutes the bakers brought out the bread on two large racks. After that the chaos started and everyone started to wave with money to get the attention of the salesmen. In al this chaos Vikas was able to get for 20 Sudanese pounds worth of bread, equalling about 50 cents, which was good for about 20 freshly baked and still warm pitas. We took 6 from the bag and gave the rest to some little kid ๐Ÿ™‚
After that we bought some fruit and found a place to get coffee and tea. They had no tea so I got coffee, which I normally never drink, but this was actually quite good. It had a lot of sugar in it and some ginger, making it sweet and spicey. I can get used to this kind of coffee ๐Ÿ™‚ We sat outside with the locals and drank our coffee and ate and shared our bread and fruits. It was great breakfast!ย 
At 830 we had to leave for the campsite to be there in time to join the group to visit the Nubian (or Kushite) pyramids at Jebel Barkal. We arrived at Jebel Barkal after a 2 hour ride in a crowded minivan straight through the sandy Nubian desert. Again, the desert just remains very impressive and diverse. It was again different from anything weโ€™ve seen before!ย 
Jebel Barkal is actually the name of the 98 meter high mountain that dominates the archeological site on the shore of the Nile. The Egyptians believed that the mountain was home to the god Amun and established a temple at the foot of the mountain in his honour. Part of the mountain is a peaky rock, which with some inagination looks like a cobra snake. The cobra snake was believed to protect the mountain and for that reason the temple is also decorated with images of cobras. Inside the temple some Italian archeologists were at work to restore and protect the ancient engravings and paintings. They explained a bit about their work, which was nice ๐Ÿ™‚
After the Egyptians left, the Jebal Barkal site became the capital of the kingdom of Kush. For the Kushites it was a sacred place as well as they believed the world was created there.They expanded the site with additional temples and pyramids for the royal burials, making it the largest archeological site in Sudan today. And even now the locals consider the ruins of the temples to be sacred places. In 2003 the site of Jebel Barkel was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage.
Then followed a 2 hour ride back to Dongola. After arrival we took a Tuc Tuc to the Tarhaqa resort for dinner. And after dinner we asked the Tuc Tuc driver to take us to a pastry shop for some desert. We entered the place and before I knew it I was invited by two men to share their sweet delights. So while Vik, Ash and Fred were still looking at what to have, I was already fully emerged in the experience ๐Ÿ™‚ We ordered some more sweets and not long after that the Australian girls accompanied by two other cyclists walked in and joined our table as well…
The day was great! Again ๐Ÿ™‚

Buying bread ๐Ÿ™‚

Riding the desert…

Modern burial site at the front ans ancient royal burial site with pyramids at the background…

Jebel Barkal, the Cobra Rock

Remains of the temple of Amun with images of cobras as well…

The Italians are restoring and preserving the Hieroglypics inside the temple…

Remains of some other temples from the Kushite Era.

And pyramids. Not so big as in Egypth though. Much more modest…

But well worth the trip!


Ending the day with dinner at Tarhaqa resort… Apparantly we know how to find nice places ๐Ÿ™‚

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