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‘People Have Been Very Friendly’: Spanish Couple Welcomed as They Paddle Down the Nile

July 20, 2022
Photo via Nagore López
Photo via Nagore López

A passion for traveling, a love for sports, and a mission to promote environmental conservation led Nagore López and Jon Puente, a teacher and a physiotherapist from Spain, to paddle down the River Nile, making Egypt their first kayaking trip destination outside of Europe.

“Kayaking is our hobby, and we like traveling. Plus, we wanted to visit Egypt. So we thought, why not not mix everything and go paddling down the Nile?” says Puente.

Photo via Nagore López

After reaching out to fellow athletes who previously took on this journey, such as Australian Sarah Davis, they became more enthusiastic about their expedition. With the help of sports equipment company Decathlon as their sponsor, the adventurous couple embarked on a 20-day journey starting from Aswan in the south of Egypt to Alexandria in northern Egypt.

The couple wanted to experience their first visit to the country in a unique, non-touristic light.

“It is another way to know the country because tourists always come for the Nile cruise, the pyramids, and then leave without getting a chance to make a relationship with the Egyptian people,” Puente tells Egyptian Streets. “We believe that, by speaking to Egyptians, we get to know more about Egypt; it’s a different way of getting to know the country.”

One of their recurring observations about the culture in Egypt is that they are greeted with immense hospitality and friendliness wherever they go.

“People say hello to us while we paddle. As soon as we arrive, many offer us tea, ask to drive us anywhere, and help us find a hotel to stay in. People have been very friendly; they’re always trying to help us,” adds Puente.

During their trip, specifically in Qena, Puente highlights that the Egyptian marine police began to accompany them, helping them find places to stay in for safety reasons, according to the police’s reasoning.

Up from 6 am every morning, these early birds paddle for seven to eight hours everyday, completing an average of 60 kilometers.

Meanwhile, the environmental aspect is another significant part of their trip. Seeing that people across the globe are striving to raise awareness on climate change and environmental problems, López and Puente thought that their trip could contribute to these efforts.

“There are lots of environmental problems in [Spain],” explains López. “By paddling along the Nile, we hope to draw attention to the issue of plastic and litter in the seas and oceans.”

Photo via Nagore López

At the time of the interview, López and Puente had reached Giza.

From green landscapes, churches and monasteries, to skyscrapers, farmers, and fishermen, López and Puente are documenting their journey through captioned Instagram posts.

Follow them here to see how their trip unfolds.

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