A HIGHTOWN couple’s plans for a leisurely wedding anniversary on the Nile were marred after mass protests gripped the country, forcing president Hosni Mubarak from power.
Audrey and Barry Fenwick decided to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with a Nile cruise, arriving on the day before millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against Mubarak’s 31 year reign.
For over two weeks, protests raged in many of Egypt’s major cities and hundreds were killed or wounded in clashes with pro-government activists and the police.
The Fenwicks began their Nile cruise on January 24 and were oblivious to the trouble for the first few days.
“We didn’t know there was any trouble until the Thursday,” Mrs Fenwick, 60, said.
“We’d been travelling up and down the Nile but on the way back we were told we couldn’t leave the boat. We ended up staying on the ship for two days straight.
“Everyone was quite calm, although some of the workers on the ship were worried about their families, who live in Cairo.
“We were told we had to go to Luxor Airport to fly back home.”
Along the banks of the Nile, the couple witnessed the burning of what they believed was a police station with flames and plumes of smoke filling the sky. Then, while on a coach to the heavily guarded Luxor airport, they saw a military tank idling in the street.
Mrs Fenwick said: “We made it out at the right time. We only felt at risk in Luxor when we saw a group of men carrying sticks.
“The airport was manic with more people trying to leave the country than usual, it was really crowded. The other British tourists had the same feelings as us – that we couldn’t do a lot about it and had to make the best of the situation.”
She said that she would go back to Egypt because she was not able to visit the Valley of the Queens or witness the sound and light show at Luxor.
President Mubarak left office last Friday.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned tourists that further demonstrations cannot be ruled out while the military has taken temporary control of the country.