‘Life seemed so wonderful to all of us in those happy days in Cairo…’ so says Mark Holt in Noel Barber’s sweeping novel, A Woman of Cairo, set in the tumultuous period when Egyptian fought for her independence.
On this fascinating and historic tour, you too can visit the places where Serena and Mark’s relationship developed during this momentous period in Egypt’s history.
‘…we would get some horses and ride out to the romantic Step Pyramid at Sakkara…’
We will pick you up from your chosen location in Greater Cairo, or Cairo International Airport
We will travel in luxury air-conditioned vehicle to Giza, where we will pick up our horses and ride to Sakkara, the vast, ancient burial ground serving the ancient city of Memphis. Once there, you will enjoy a champagne picnic and imagine you are back in the 1930s with Serena, Mark, Teddy and their friends. You will also have the opportunity to visit the famous step pyramids, one of which, the Djoser Step Pyramid, is the oldest complete stone building known in history.
‘But why are we here in the midst of nowhere?’ asked Parmi.
‘It used to be somewhere.’ Teddy gave his slow smile. ‘This used to be Memphis, at one time the capital of Egypt…’
After your leisurely picnic, we travel the short distance to Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade and religion. Today it is a fascinating collection of scattered ruins where you can feel the ancient history soak into your bones.
‘We drank. Then I tapped my glass for silence, and said the last words before we all tumbled into our cars to drive to the Mena House for a swim, as the sun rose over the Nile’.
We will return you to your hotel. If you have booked the Mena House Hotel option, we will travel to the hotel where you can check in, perhaps enjoy a swim with an unparalleled view of the Pyramids of Giza to wash off the desert dust. Later, enjoy dinner at the Mena House and a comfortable night’s sleep at this wonderful, iconic hotel.
‘…but then Cairo was a city of intrigue which cast a spell over all of us. Beautiful and brown, selfish yet tolerant, it beguiled us, and the soft breezes from the Nile lulled us into a sense of false security.’
We have a busy day ahead as we will visit many places mentioned in the novel. We will pick you up from the Mena House Hotel, or your chosen location.
‘Abdin was in the heart of the city, barely more than a few blocks from our house in Garden City.’
We will travel by luxury air conditioned vehicle to the majestic Abdin Palace, one of the homes of King Farouk of Egypt, who plays a key role in the story. The palace today is a museum, located in Old Cairo. You can relive the moment when King Farouk was almost forced to abdicate, as is so effectively written in the novel. You will also see the Silver Museum, the Arms Museum and the Presidential Gifts Museum.
‘My chambers were just off Ibrahim Pasha Street, their old-fashioned windows overlooking the pretty, well-watered Ezbekieh Gardens, with their welcome patch of green, and ancient bandstand in the middle…’
We will take a short car journey from Abdin Palace to Ezbekieh Gardens, the location of Mark Holt’s chambers and the famous Shepheard’s Hotel, where so many key events from the novel take place.
‘Pocket money went a long way when buying coffee at Groppi’s’
A short walk will take us to Groppi’s where we will enjoy lunch.
‘I started to run, cutting through Adly Pasha Street…then turning left along Emad El Dine Street until I reached the statue of Mostafa Kamel at the corner of Kasr el Nil. From this major square it was a straight run down Kasr el Nil to the river…’
Follow in Mark’s footsteps as he watches Cairo start to burn in what would later be called ‘Black Saturday’. This atmospheric walk will take us right through Downtown Cairo with its beautiful architecture and historic statues, to the famous Kasr el Nil bridge. From here we will walk along the Nile Corniche, through Garden City and past the British Embassy to the Four Seasons Hotel, to enjoy a champagne afternoon tea.
‘Egyptians have a saying. If you don’t live by the Nile you might as well not live in Egypt’.
Our tour ends with a sunset sail on board a traditional Egyptian felucca, on the breathtaking River Nile, after which we will deliver you back to your preferred location in Greater Cairo, or take advantage of one of our numerous other tours. Your host will be happy to discuss this further with you.