Cairo to Istanbul 2010 travel blog

Step Pyramid of Zoser

More ancient buildings at Saqqara

Some frescoes inside the tombs at Saqqara

Statue of Ramses II at Memphis

A Sphinx at Memphis

Cairo from our hotel room

Our hotel is in the middle of Cairo and very comfortable. As you can see from the photo, we are surrounded by a jungle of buildings with masses of satellite dishes on each roof. We tried out the rooftop bar last night, the food wasn't great but the atmosphere was, with panoramic nighttime views over Cairo.

Today we visited Saqqara and Memphis, and it was hot, hot, hot! We had organised a car and driver for the day so it was pleasant sitting in an airconditioned car when it was stinking hot outside.

Saqqara covers about 7 sq km and is still in the process of being excavated. Most of it seems to have been constructed around 2,500 years BC, and consists of tombs for various kings and their families. The main attraction is the Step Pyramid of Zoser, which is supposed to be the oldest stone monument in the world. Also in the same complex is the Pyramid of Teti which we were able to go into and see the decorations on the walls.

Next stop was Memphis, an open air museum dominated by a massive limestone statue of Ramses II.

After this was the obligatory stop at a restaurant, a bit expensive but the food was good. We had been a bit disappointed with the food so far as there was not much 'Egyptian' food on the menu (though we did pass on the 'liver, kidneys and testicles' on offer yesterday, a bargain at only 120 Egyptian pounds (about $6) for 1kg!). Today we had shishkebab with side dishes of tahini, grilled eggplant, stuffed cabbage leaves, fallafel and soft cheese - delicious. Feeling suitably stuffed, we are now back at our hotel to have a lie down in the heat of the day before most likely heading up to the rooftop bar again!

We are trying to organise a trip to see the Suez Canal tomorrow, not sure how we'll go as they seem to want a lot of money to do this by car. Have to brush up our bargaining skills!

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