Date: 14th December 08
Location: El Alamein, Egypt
Weather: Warm day, cold night. 25°c
Status: Heading to the border, slowly, slowly….
Up early as the garage forecourt we’d stayed I sprang to life, had a bite of breakfast and filled the water and fuel tanks of the trucks before hitting the rod west….got a km down the road then turned off!
Entered the town of El Alamein and due to the excellent signage for once found the cemetery no problem. It’s a very typical commonwealth war memorial with row upon row of light beige headstones all bearing the identity of one unfortunate person who fell in the name of their country many years ago.
There are 13,000 people buried or cremated here and the atmosphere as I walked around the site by myself was quite numbing and moving. Two things grabbed me, the number of unidentified graves marked only by the words ‘ Unknown Solider’, and also the number of dates on many which were the same that of 21st October 1942. a very bad day for the Allied Forces.
I identified the graves of the VC recipients who’d fallen here through the cemetery register and took a moment to talk to the gardener, the only of other person there. After a few photos we all left
We drove west for 200kms until we found a road which headed along the coast and some amazing white sand beaches with some of the bluest ocean of the trip, we had not set a destination for the night and decided to drive off the road across the sandstone and pitch a camp for the night.
We walked onto the beach and I had a dip in the Med, surprisingly warm for this time of year, and as we walked up the beach were greeted by four military personnel who’d been watching us from afar! Great, they then told us that due to smugglers along this section of coast it was dangerous and we’d have to move on. Yeah right, typical Egyptian over touristic diplomacy again…..we’ve camped in the Congo, Angola and other exotic locations and they wouldn’t let us camp here….the middle of nowhere!
So we drove on into the sunset and eventually pulled off the road into a service area where the trucks seemed to be stopping and setup camp for the night…again.
Dinner with Kees in the truck, a movie, then bed.
End of day location: 60kms short of the border, Egypt
Distance covered: 345kms