Luxor, my daily struggles with the kids and decisions to make

First, let me start with the good stuff. Luxor was the great capital of upper Egypt during the new Kingdom (16th-11th century BC). The valley of the kings, with the beautiful Luxor Temple right in the middle of the city as well as the astonishing Karnak temple, is close to it.

While in Luxor, you are definitely in the biggest outdoor museum on earth. With it comes tourism. I was told that before the revolution in 2011, it wasn’t as bad as today, but since fewer tourists visit the city nowadays, some locals try as hard as they can to get as much money as possible out of the remaining tourists. That made me feel really uncomfortable. Of course, in the end it is like 1% of the local population that gives you a hard time, which is a sad story, but it changed my whole attitude towards Egypt for some time. I just wanted to get out of this place because I literally felt like a walking ATM. Every time I had to pay something I had to be careful to get enough money back. Sometimes paying a meal, which was 35 Egyptian pounds, with a 200 pounds bill and only getting back 65 Egyptian pounds. This happened to me on numerous occasions and I just got really tired of it. I lost the whole trust in anyone just because of the few. I hate the feeling of getting ripped off every time I need to use money. Luckily the people in Aswan were friendlier again.

My way from Luxor to Aswan

I left Luxor at 05:00am to get a head start before the sun goes up. I don’t know if little boys in Egypt don’t need any sleep, but they started following me as soon as I had left the hostel. They were screaming and shouting at me, laughing about their jokes, which I didn’t understand and kept asking for money. I truly thought this would not start until Ethiopia… I always tried to be friendly, denying that I had money and pointed at my mean of transportation. Guys, I am riding a bicycle, I really don’t have any money. Some just turned around and left, others were saying Fuck You while they disappeared. Others tried to push me off my bicycle, and the most common thing was to throw stones at me whenever I told them that I didn’t have any money. I know they are kids, but if that happens during the whole day, and I am spending a lot of time on the bicycle, it can become really tiring. It is hard to switch from super happy mode, to being angry and back again to smile at people because everyone is waving at you. I guess that is also part of the experience of the way I travel. It’s tough on the mind but also a big learning. I will have many encounters with people in the future who might not like me, where they will try to put stones in my way, causing me to fall. However, I guess that’s part of life and I am in the process of learning how to deal with it. The physical challenge of my trip is way smaller than the mental one. The sad story is that 99 people can be very nice, and just one encounter can destroy how the other 99 have treated you. So, I am really focusing now not to get disturbed by the one that tries to do bad things to me, and rather enjoy how the other 99 brought happiness into my day. I am highly enjoying my trip, and no one said it would be easy. If I learn to accept everything they way it is, since I can’t change it anyway, I think I can benefit a lot from this trip. This is also an initial thought of why I want to do this trip. I have so much time to work on myself every day, so I might as well take advantage of it to look at everything in a positive way in order to strengthen my thinking and my mindset.

The beginning of Eid Mubarak

Eid al Adha is also called the Festival of Sacrifice and lasts for 4 days. As usual I went to sleep at 8:00pm to be ready at 04:00am again to leave. It is nothing special if the honking of cars, motorcycles and tuctuc’s goes on all night long. Even to the chant of the muezzin at 04:30am I got used to. Hitting the road again along the Nile towards Aswan, I was able to experience the holiest day of the whole Muslim calendar on my bicycle, cycling from one town through another. Before 05:30am the roads were very empty, and it was amazing to see the sun rise over the mountains in the background. Then suddenly people started to come out of their houses and walked along the road to the praying field. I think the reason for them to pray on large fields on that day is because mosques are not large enough to fit everyone inside. All the men and boys were walking together, wearing their Thawb or Thobe and everyone looked really nice. All the women and girls did their own thing, usually gathering in front of a bigger building, I guess it was a mosque as well to do their prayers. At 06:00am the praying started, it looked amazing all the men being lined up and praying together. Out of respect towards them, I did not take any pictures. After the praying was over, people moved back to their houses again. From then on, the slaughtering of sheep and cows started. I was passed by many cars and motorcycled loaded with animals. All along the road I saw the men butchering the animal, and the wives cleaning its entrails. I didn’t see what they were doing with it afterwards, I guess they ate it, but the skin and some entrails of the animals are still, as of now, laying all around Elephant Island, where my guesthouse is. The smell of rotten animal skin is not pleasurable at all. Nothing for a weak stomach. Nevertheless, it was amazing for me to experience this procedure on my bicycle. See, if you travel slow, you can experience so much more just by pedalling through the towns.


Daily I need to make decisions, sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s not. While arriving in Aswan on Tuesday, I had to decide whether to wait until Sunday to take the ferry to Whadi Halfa, or to cycle to Abu Simbel on Thursday and take the Ferry from there. Taking the ferry from Abu Simbel would have meant to cycle 300km through the desert with barely any shops, but I kind of wanted to move on, I already relaxed a lot in Egypt and I felt bored waiting till Sunday again. However, I have decided to take the ferry from Aswan on Sunday, I heard it is a beautiful journey along one of the biggest artificial lakes on earth, called lake Nasser. It was the right decision, I needed some time to talk to my family since my grandmother peacefully passed away at the age of 95 last Thursday. For you it sounds like an easy decision, but Inreally had a sleepless night because of it, haha, but talking to my Mom always helps. I don’t think I could do all of that without my Mom and Dad as well as my brother at home, supporting me whenever I need it.

Taking a swim in the Nile, such a nice refreshment!

„Cycling“ around Aswan


The ferry will approximately take 22 hours, until I arrive in Whadi Halfa. From there I will have only desert until Khartoum where I will hopefully arrive before my birthday. It is around 1200 km, and I am planning to do it in 11 days. I guess around 90% of the time I will be wild camping in the desert, but I heard from other cyclists that Sudan is amazing for that and that its people would be very very welcoming and friendly. As you might now, for my fundraising project I am sending out postcards. It will be interesting to see if I will be able to send postcards out of Sudan. Some people that live there even told me there is no Post service in Sudan. I really hope there is one, since sooo many people have already ordered postcards from Sudan and I am looking forward to writing them.

My boat to Sudan

Through the desert to the Red Sea and back to the Nile again

Leaving Cairo

After staying three days in the second biggest city of Africa (after Lagos, Nigeria), it was time for me to head out to the unknown, the desert and the heat. I had been told that getting out of Cairo was no fun, but I didn’t imagine it to be that crazy. It took me over an hour to get out of downtown. The streets were filled with thousands of cars. Nasty exhaust emissions made breathing unpleasant and above all the heat was grilling me again. Nevertheless, I kind of liked this craziness. It’s something you don’t experience in many places and super hectic cities have their charm as well. Riding into Ho Chi Ming City or through India taught me a lot of how to adapt to disorderly traffic but it is still quite different with a bicycle since absolutely everyone passes you. My GPS had its difficulties with Cairo as well, sometimes leading me through one-way streets where people weren’t that happy about. Since I did not know how long it would take me to ride through the desert to the Red Sea and if there would be any possibility along the way to get any water, I took 12 litres of water with me and food for 4 days. My bike has never been that heavy before and it took me some time to get used to it. After overcoming the whole city hustle, the road was surprisingly good. What I realized is that Egypt is investing a lot of money into its infrastructure. Many locals who I have talked to have confirmed this to me. As the governmental institutions provides stability, it has become more attractive for investors to invest again. A whole new city is being built outside of Cairo because there are too many people living downtown which is running at capacity. So, for many kilometres I was passing construction zones, where thousands of new apartments are being built. I have now done almost 850 kilometres through Egypt and the roads have all been very good so far.


Country Facts

Egypt still suffers from the image displayed in the media all around the world. Since the revolution in 2011, tourism is slowly picking up again, but most people still think it’s dangerous to travel to Egypt. It is crazy how the media can have a lasting negative impact on the reputation of a whole country. It hurts my heart to see how reality is and how people back in Europe think about Egypt. I get asked every day, isn’t it dangerous, aren’t you scared? what is if….?!

All the time people come up to me, shaking my hand, saying “welcome to Egypt”. I have been invited dozens of times for coffee, tea and food. If I need water along the road, cars and trucks would immediately stop to provide me with it. I have had multiple police escorts, following me for hundreds of kilometres just for my own protection. Egypt is highly concerned with providing stability and protection to its own people and tourists. There has not been one minute here in which I have felt uncomfortable or unsafe.

People here live from hand to mouth. To survive, the people have to spend all of the little salary they earn. There is not much room for savings. Despite this, it happened to me many times that I was not allowed to pay for what I had purchased, the only response I got was welcome to Egypt. The culture and people I can experience here is so welcoming and warm-hearted that I wish more people could experience what I can now!

Economic facts

Against the Euro, the Egyptian pound has strongly decreased in value, many products lost their government subsidies. It used to be that one litre of diesel would cost one pound, now it is five times more. This affects almost everything the local people buy, since transportation costs have significantly increased. The population is going through some rough times now, even though a lot of money is being invested. In the end, what matters most to people is what they have left in their pockets and that’s predominantly less than a couple of years ago.

For me it is always enlightening to get in touch with local people and hear their personal stories and their thoughts on the country’s economic, political and cultural development. Egypt’s population has over the last decade grown by 20 million people to almost 100 million. That fact impressed me a lot.

My Journey along the coast

Riding the first kilometres through a desert was truly special for me. Isn’t it crazy, I am already here now, crossing one of the hottest places on earth just by bicycle. I now understand why they call the Egyptian summer the OFF season for cycling tourism. Who would want to cycle in that heat? I guess I am kind of crazy, but I always think that there have been people doing it before me, it’s nothing special, just drink enough water and protect yourself from the sun.

Doing a break in the shade through lunch, I was just wearing the mask so not all the flies would crawl into my mouth when I sleep

Additionally, it is not like I had many other choices than leaving during the summer. There are still many hot days ahead of me since I follow the sun down, so it’s better to get used to it rather sooner than later. The first night I decided to sleep somewhere close to the road in the desert. The distance to the next town was just too large for one day and it was already getting dark at 18:30. I found a nice, quiet spot behind a sand dune around 100 km out of Cairo. I have always waited for that moment, just to sleep somewhere in the desert all by myself in a mystic atmosphere. However, I need to admit it felt weird to me as well. My thoughts were wandering around, thinking about a lot of things one could worry about. I told Teresie about my feelings. Teresie is a young power-woman traveling home to Norway from South Africa by bicycle on her “low carbon journey”, and she told me not to worry, just to be cautious. She told me that in every single moment in which I have worrisome feelings I would waste too much energy instead of simply enjoying the moment. I highly appreciate her words and it really helps to talk to people who have experienced similar feelings and events but are already a step ahead of me. Follow her on Instagram (Teresiehommersand), she shares amazing stories and I love reading about her adventures.

My tent is in the lower right corner
Pasta Time
I had to get up early, it is just too hot to stay inside the tent as soon as the sun raises (5:00 AM)

Back on the bike, the road along the coast was rather flat and always with a slight breeze going. On one day I had planned to do a 105 km stretch to a police checkpoint where I wanted to spend the night. It is common for cyclists riding through Egypt to stay at Police checkpoints for the night. What happened that day came unexpected. I arrived at the checkpoint at 11:45, asking myself what should I do now? I didn’t want to spend the whole afternoon at a boring checkpoint, but the next town (Hurghada) was still 160 km away, but with the wind on my side I thought it might be possible. I had to wait for over an hour at the checkpoint, until they organized a police escort to follow me. I knew that at this checkpoint they usually do this, so nothing to worry about. Arriving in Hurghada at 18:15, I had done 260 km in just one day, with a total riding time of almost 9 hours, this meant an average of almost 30km an hour which is crazy. I was super lucky to benefit from the strong north wind. That day the wind was on my side. I don’t want to imagine what a torture it would have been if the wind had blown from south. This record will probably not be broken again, with a 60kg bicycle it seems highly unlikely to come anywhere close to those numbers again in the future.

I have spent a total of 10 days in both Hurghada and Safaga, doing 6 dives in the beautiful aquarium of the Red Sea and just kind of slowing down my pace.

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With the water temperature being 30 degrees, a short wetsuit is enough

I have been on the road for more than 55 days and always traveling to new places can be tiring as well. I also fought some stomach issues for around 5 days, running to the toilet on an hourly basis. This weakens the body, I had to sleep a lot and didn’t feel like continuing to cycle. I have the time, so I can also give my body the rest it needs. Having diarrhoea on the road can be super stressful, and it only happened to me once now that I had to ask a man sitting in front of his house to use his toilet. This was in Hurghada and of course I cannot just poop somewhere in front of a house in the middle of a city… I almost did it though hahaha, this older man was literally my “lender of last resort”.

The small world we live in

I was just about to head to my room when I greeted three guys sitting at the bar of my hotel. It turned out that one of them, Sebastian, lives around 10km away from my home town, we went to the same high-school and had the same teachers, he is just 10 years older than me. For 4 days we shared a hotel room together and it was nice to speak some Swiss-German again.

Met as strangers, left as friends!

Sebastian is an amazing guy with a super positive mindset and a very open-minded personality. Inviting me to stay in his room is certainly no matter of course and I highly appreciated it. We had a super interesting time together, meeting amazing local people like Nesar, Gamal, Ahmed or Alaa.


Being at a place for more than just a couple of days makes it possible to dive deeper into the culture and the way of living of the locals. Whenever I spend a long time at the same place, it becomes harder to leave again. Also, I started becoming comfortable with laying around all day long. So, it was time to tackle my next stage from Safaga to Qena, a 160km stretch from the Red Sea back to the Nile through the desert. I planned to do it in one day, leaving Safaga at 5am. The earlier I leave, the easier it is to tackle some distance without being roasted.

Finding my own limits on the way back to the Nile


The sign of an early morning

I have no problem with getting up early, I just really don’t like it. Leaving at 5:00 AM to Qena was the earliest I have done so far, and it turned out to be a smart move. I knew I had to climb a mountain range right after Safaga to get back to the mainland but doing around 1000 meters of altitude in the first 30km of a 160km stretch can be very energy consuming.

Finally, I left the mountains behind me

At 11:00 AM I had already drunk 8 litres of water, and the later it got, the harder it became to drink. The water temperature in my bottles raised to a point where it almost burned my throat when I drank. This made it really hard to stay hydrated. After 13:00 the temperature reached its highest point, at around 45 degrees Celsius. After spending already more than 8 hours on the bicycle, my lungs started to hurt because of the hot air. I have never experienced that before, but it is for sure nothing I wish anyone to experience. During the whole ride, I was followed by the police. It is very annoying having a car driving right behind you for hours and hours. Luckily there were no places to do breaks, so I just rode through, but it’s even more annoying if they are next to you when you do a break. Unfortunately, I had to do an additional 30km detour from one road to the other just to buy some water. I didn’t know that it was that far, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. I got to a point where I didn’t feel comfortable anymore, having done 150km already I checked the GPS to see how much further I needed to go. 40 additional kilometres were just too much, and with the Police begging me since 10 o’clock in the morning to pick up my bike and drive me to Qena, didn’t help much either. For my own physical safety, since I didn’t want to spend the night in the hospital, I decided to hitch a ride with the police for 30 kilometres. For the last 10km I hoped on the bike again. I guess these were the slowest 10 kilometres of my life haha! I got to the hotel at 17:30, checked in, got some food, called my mom to tell her that everything was OK, and went straight to sleep. I got a solid 11 hours of deep sleep, which I needed if I wanted to ride to Luxor the next day. This was the closest I got to my physical limits so far, I was fine mentally but my body just couldn’t go any further. I wouldn’t have done the stretch in one day if I knew that I had to do 190km.

The next morning, as I got out of the hotel, the police was already waiting to escort me. I am now spending a couple of days in Luxor, visit some sights and just rest a bit.

With the police following me in the back. There would be no need for this since it is very safe. The Police just wants to make 100% sure that I get through Egypt safe.

Radio and Podcast interviews

I have now already had 2 interviews with Radio Sunshine (Click Here) and I had the honour to be the guest in the Podcast. Check it out here: HERE. Those interviews are a great chance for me to bring you my trip a little bit closer. If you have any questions about my trip, feel more than welcome to send me a message!

People I met along the road

I get invited for coffee or tee on a daily basis, and everyone is always very kind
Heidi, a retired nurse from Zurich, who has been living in Hurghada for many years
Buying fruits is something I missed in the desert


I meet many truck drivers along the road who are cooking, like this one here. Very nice guys, most offer me to eat with them

Welcome to Africa


Final kilometres to Athens

The closer I got to Athens, the more excited I became. The days were long, hot, and I’ve had some serious issues with my butt for the last 10 days. So, I was really looking forward to getting to Athens to treat it and give it time to recover. On both sides of my cheeks I had inflamed spots, that made riding seven to nine hours a day really tough. I did a detour to the island of Rovies, which has a beautiful costal line as well as country side, but it turned out to be hillier than I thought.

Back to the mainland of Greece, right before Athens

On my last day before arriving in Athens I got caught up in a big thunderstorm and sought shelter in a warehouse filled with beer and soda. Unfortunately, I still had 40 km to go, that meant no beer for me yet. The guys running the warehouse were very friendly and provided me with water until I couldn’t drink anymore.

Thanks for the shelter guys!

I was glad that after an hour of heavy rain, I was finally able to hit the road again. People keep asking me what I do when I need to do number one or two. I highly enjoy doing it somewhere in the nature. At least then I don’t need to worry about how dirty the restroom might be.

My camping spot in Rovies. It’s beautiful to spend the night next to the sea when you can listen to the waves all night long

Riding into a big city is usually pretty stressful, cars, motorcycles and reckless drivers. Ten kilometres away from downtown, I was able to pick up a cardboard box to ship my bike. I wrote a few e-mails to bicycle shops around 2 weeks ago and Serkosbikes immediately replied me and offered me a box for free. So, I got that settled. However, I tend to be uneasy until I have everything prepared. Taking the bike apart was straightforward, like always if you take stuff apart you believe that it makes sense the way it is assembled. Putting the bike together again needed some more braincells, haha. First, I didn’t believe that the whole bike would fit into the box, since I was told that I should only take off the front wheel. However, it all worked fine until I had to take off the pedals. My mini 22 tools broke while taking them off. I then had to walk for a about a kilometre with half a bike and everyone kind of looked at me like I were a thief. The bike shop was in the middle of a market, so I was able to get the pedals taken off, some extra Allen® keys and pliers. 


Personally, I enjoyed Athens. The Acropolis is not that spectacular because there is a lot of construction going on and there is not that much left of it anyways. It looks way better from far away. What I really enjoyed about Athens were the many cosy restaurants and bars. The food was amazing, and I definitely regained some kilos, Gyros for breakfast was just too delicious. I also needed a lot of rest. I had to catch up so much sleep. The first two days I was constantly tired.  

The Acrapolis


What did I do during my 7 day stay? I slept a lot, walked around the city, did some sightseeing, went to a close by beach and lake but what I probably did most was eating. It also rained very hard a couple of times, which I guess is unusual for that area during the summer months. 

On one evening I also met Markus, the cyclist I had met three weeks ago in Croatia. While he was checking in at his Hotel, his whole bike was stolen with all his equipment. How sad is this, who would do such a terrible thing? I am very glad that everything went well for me up to now. However, this incidence makes me even more careful when it comes to the question of where to park my bike. For sure, I always lock it to a pole or tree if I can.

I replaced my bicycle in Athens

The closer I got to the departure date, the more I started to realize that I will soon be doing my first steps on African soil. What a feeling! However, the uncertainty of the unknown also made me kind of nervous. When all my stuff was packed I thought I was doing just fine with the weight, didn’t seem to be too much. I could take two 23kg bags as a free allowance. Once arriving at the airport, I had the chance to weigh all my stuff. The scale stopped at 60kg, which was a little bit too much… What should I do now? I tried to put as much as I could into my hand luggage, since airport staff almost never checks that. Nevertheless, the bicycle box alone was 5 kilograms too heavy. I guess with a friendly, innocent smile and telling the check-in lady that the bicycle is only 23.5 kg, I got through everything without paying any extra money. Still can’t believe it, but somehow it worked out well! 

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Leaving Athens with all my gear packed up. The 60 kilograms at the Checkin surprised me as well

Arrival in Cairo

My flight was 2 hours delayed, the line at the customs was extremely long and once I got to the front, the officer barely looked at me. As usual they always try to act super serious, either they are very bored, or they are just never in the mood to smile. He asked me where I was coming from, I am like dude, you are holding my passport, what do you think??? Of course, I didn’t say that. He still didn’t like me and told me to wait aside. So, I waited and waited for at least 20 minutes until another guy showed up and asked to follow him to a small office. I was asked a lot of questions; what are you doing back home, why are you in Egypt, for how long, do you have friends here, are you Muslim, why do you wear such a big beard, is your purpose of the trip really traveling and not working? It all seemed kind of ridiculous, and in the end the other guy sitting in the room told me that there was some confusion with my name. I guess Lukas Caesar Steiner does not look as Arabic as my appearance…that confused them. In the end they let me go. Luckily my bike and the bags survived the trip without any damages. To get from the airport to downtown I thought to be super smart and order an Uber, however, it turned out that I got super unlucky and I got like the smallest Uber ever. Of course, my luggage didn’t fit in and I had to take a regular taxi downtown, with the bike being placed on top of the roof. Finally arriving at the Hostel, 4 hours after I had planned, I walked up to the elevator and saw a sign attached saying: Out of service. As you can imagine it was very enjoyable to carry three heavy bags up to the fifth floor.

Finally, with the second taxi it worked out fine

Cairo itself is very hectic, a lot of traffic, honking and people everywhere. Nothing seems to be organized but it still works. I felt comfortable right away, those are the places that I enjoy most. The bigger the difference to Switzerland the better. The food here is amazing too. It is about time for me to hit the road again, otherwise I will soon need some bigger pants. I will head towards the coast of the Red Sea on Sunday morning. it is roughly a 130 km ride to the coast, and I don’t think I want to push it too hard on my first day after the break. I need to get used to sleeping everywhere, all by myself in a country I totally don’t know. It is not as easy as I thought it would be and it needs some time to get over the worrisome feelings. I will sleep somewhere along the road in the desert on Sunday, but since there is nothing out there it is my only option. I will take around 15 litres of water with me as well as 2 kg of food, so it should all be fine. Temperature is around 38 degrees Celsius with a slight breeze going here in Cairo. I am still not sure if I should take the desert road to the Red Sea, or if I should cycle along the Nile. Along the Nile is a very busy road, lots of opportunities to get water, food and shelter, however most cyclists are also escorted by the police on the whole stretch. The desert between Cairo and the Red sea will be very hot (40-45 degrees), as well as no villages and people. I think I will escape the busy road, head towards the coast and do some scuba diving in Hurghada. It is supposed to be one of the nicest diving spots worldwide, and I have time so why not. The people here are highly welcoming, and I feel very safe. Of course, as always in the big cities, many people try to get to your money, that’s why I love traveling on a bicycle, so I have the chance to meet the people outside the big cities.

It’s pretty impressive to finally see the Pyramids live, and not in some Asterix and Obelix movie


Fundraising for Green Ethiopia

Until now, more than 2,000$ have been donated. Seriously, you guys are great. Every day I get so many warm-hearted messages, which really pushes me. It is such a nice feeling to know that people at home care about what I am doing here and that they enjoy reading my stories. As of now I have already written more than 10 post cards, and there are hopefully many more to come. Some people even ordered a post card from every African country I will travel through. I love writing them and I would be more than happy to write a post card to you as well!! You will find all the information about Green Ethiopia and what 100% of the money will be used for HERE:

This picture was taken before my departure when I met my former Professor at the University of St. Gallen, Mr. Pfister, managing director of the foundation Green Ethiopia.