Country: Egypt

Asyut, one of the larger settlements in Upper Egypt, was once a great city historically rich in agricultural and trade; set at the end of a great caravan route linking the Eastern and Western deserts. Modern Asyut is an emerging city with various high-rise buildings and urban decline but suburbia seems to return to Egyptian rural landscape.

My feet are sore and blistering, walking these past few days has been difficult.

In centre I met an old soldier who told me applying henna to feet could help with the pain, after the first treatment I think I can feel a difference – not sure yet – but I am optimistic!

Today I travelled to the city’s outskirts – it felt like walking backwards through time. I was fortunate enough to attend a colourful procession of Coptic pilgrims who ascend a rock, every single day, to where the Holy Family apparently stayed following the nativity in Bethlehem. It was a remarkable experience to be a part of.

I think I can smell the sea already but I know there is still 300+ miles to go.

Monastery of the Virgin Mary