Oh bliss. A lie in until 9 am. Alison was in the UK, so a recent arrival to Egypt, Sarah - an American engineer - was enrolled to join us for the day's activities. She arrived at 10.30 with a huge box of doughnuts. Yum. Then we set off in Bill's comfortable Land Cruiser (affording secure protection from the wild taxi drivers of Cairo) to visit the Saqqara, or Step Pyramid.
This pyramid heralded the start of the Pyramid Age. Built in C27BC, before being stripped of its casing stones and rounded off by the elements, it stood 62 metres high, and measured 140 by 118 metres along its base. At that time it was the largest stone structure in the world.
It is surrounded by tombs, in which stone tablets like the one shown below abound.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day here, which included a visit to the Imhotep Museum, and some interesting roads to the Dahshur Pyramids - the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid (pictured below).
Bill was the ideal host, and Sarah an excellent companion for Sue and me.
Beers by the Nile as the sun set rounded off an excellent day out.
Our genial host is now about to whisk us off to a party, so that's all for now...
[PS We enjoyed a late lunch today, at a restaurant next to the Step Pyramid, outside beneath some date palms. Mint tea and mezze (tzatziki, falafel, tahini, bread, etc) went down well. We left just as the wind got up and blew clouds of dust through the trees. Dark storm clouds had dropped rain on the other side of the delta, evidenced by puddles we saw later. Should we have brought waterproofs?
In a nearby carpet school children were making carpets in silk and wool. Upstairs was a wide range of carpets, including silk ones whose colours changed with the direction one viewed the fibres.
The drive to the Bent Pyramid, along back roads, revealed the squalour in which many Egyptians live. The narrow irrigation channels lined with towers of rubbish being scavenged by dogs and egrets put the small amount of litter we encounter on our own Bridgewater Canal into sharp perspective.
The evening was spent in another luxurious villa, that of David and Pat, with fine food, a few other friends, and a slide show of Tim, Peter and David's recent walk along the Cumbria Way. All very jolly!]