If Bruce's extraordinary journey to the source of the Blue Nile was
fraught, his route home was equally dangerous.
After leaving Abyssinia, he crossed a country even more barbarous.
At Teawa, the principal village of Atbara, the most outrageous demands
were placed on him by the Sheke. Then in Sennaar he was delayed for four
miserable months and his money was exhausted, forcing him to pay his debts
by parting with a massive gold chain that had been a gift from the King
Bruce then had to cross the Great Desert of Nubia. In the sweltering
heat, camels and baggage had to be abandoned. When he finally reached the
safety of Assouan, he pleaded with the Aga for camels to go back to the
desert to recover his valuable papers. This achieved, he sailed the Nile
to Cairo and then on to Alexandria where he boarded a ship for Marseilles,
landing in France in March 1773.
When he recovered his strength, Bruce set off for Paris. His reception
in the French capital was `flattering' and he was in great demand to tell
his hosts of his travels.
His health still being delicate, Bruce headed for Italy to continue
his recovery, and it was not until June 1774 that he sailed for England
where an equally impressive welcome awaited him.