Dashur, Memphis, Saqqara plus downtown speed tour: Day 4

Wow! Despite the little hiccup with the private tour this morning, this ended up to be one of my favorite activity in all of this trip. The trip from Zamalek to Dashur took approximately close to an hour traveling on paved and unpaved roads and wide and narrow streets.

In Dashur, you can see the Bent and Red Pyramids- both massive and impressive in size and structure. Both of these pyramids were built before the Giza. The story told by the tour guide revealed that the Bent pyramid had mistakes (hence, the name). The builders learned from these mistakes and corrected them when they built the Red Pyramid. There is another pyramid in the area but I did not take a picture of it. All I can tell you is that it isn’t the same shape as the Bent or Red Pyramids.

The Red pyramid is the 3rd largest pyramid ever constructed. While it is not red, the tour guide explained that their is a rusty reddish color/tint because of the red limestone hues.

You can thank these 2 pyramids for perfecting the Great Pyramid at Giza. You can climb down into the Red Pyramid, but please note it is not for the faint of heart due to climb down and the heat. Think of climbing down a ladder because that’s your position from the top to the bottom. I couldn’t tell you how many steps either, but it seemed like it was forever. I took careful steps climbing down making sure my foot touches each rung. At the bottom, you can ease up a bit before climbing up a few steps to reach a platform then climbing up again a short flight of stairs so you can look down into the burial chamber. Incredible experience. For 300 LE, you can take photos. The climb up was easier as you are alternating your feet. Take frequent breaks as you are descending and ascending.

From here, the next stop was Memphis – about 15-20 minutes away. This place offers an outdoor type Museum of different relics and statues found in this area. Memphis used to be the ancient capital of Egypt.

After Memphis, the tour continued to Saqqara, a village known for weaving carpets. Along the way, you will see at least 2 schools for teaching this trade. In Saqqara, you can see the world famous Step Pyramids, tombs, and burial temples. In Saqqara, the tour guide explained the importance of mastabas (bench) hence, the look of the Step Pyramids. The history was just unbelievable.

The people of the villages and towns connecting these places were all business as usual. There were sellers of souvenirs at Saqqara but not in Memphis. There weren’t a lot of tourists at any of these places compared to Giza and that’s partly due to the heat. I captured some photos of local people living their day to day life as we traveled from one place to the next.

I witnessed the narrow roads shared by everyone, including animals, with very little complaint. The heat must be exhausting but the people continued to persevere selling fruits, vegetables, and bread. It was an amazing sight to see and I’m grateful for the things I have at home and the easy way of living.

After Saqqara, lunch happened with new and familiar Egyptian foods. This is a restaurant just outside the Saqqara Pyramids. The lamb and chicken were my favorites along with the potato soup.

On the way back to Zamalek, I was able to capture a photo of the Cairo Tower.

I’m now relaxing at the hotel with some tea Egyptian style.

Tomorrow, is my last day in Cairo. I’ve got a plan but I’m holding off on sharing what and where since I’m not yet sure about it.


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