The neighbourhood of Maadi in southern Cairo is known for its maze-like network of squares as well as for its tree-lined boulevards and well-appointed villas, although some of these have now been demolished to make way for more modern buildings.
Upscale modern compounds outside the city will spare you the noise and hassle of a journey along Cairo's bumpy roads, given their wide streets and well-ordered layouts. But whereas the roads of modern compounds are designed to accommodate cars more than pedestrians, older neighbourhoods like Maadi are better suited to those who are inclined towards a morning stroll, or even a jog.
Despite the unfortunate consequences of massive population growth, Maadi still retains some of the serenity which has always distinguished it from other suburbs.
Maadi, like almost every other established district in Cairo, includes some working-class parts, but its older areas remain a safe bet for an enjoyable walk, largely removed from incessant car horns and annoying street vendors.
Safe bet for a walk!
New Maadi, a name given to the most recently developed part of the suburb, is tarnished by traffic jams and is designed to cope with the ugly reality of the growing population, home to many residential buildings, cafes, restaurants, businesses and so forth.
Let’s instead go back to Old Maadi, where we can start our journey and relax our minds.
We can start by having brunch in one of the many cafes in Road 9, in Thakanat El-Maadi, before beginning our walk by moving towards Maadi El-Sarayat, taking in the beautiful buildings and abundant trees.
As we make our way to Mostafa Kamel Square, we will cross through some pretty streets, and the renovated square itself definitely deserves a look; its lush green lawn, overlooked by palm trees and tidy villas, is a respite from the city's unkempt streets.
Mostafa Kamel square
Tidy villas overlook the square
Moving on from the square, our path will take us to another pleasant corner of the suburb: Degla, specifically the area surrounding Cairo American College, which is home to many expatriates.
Given the place's calm atmosphere and peaceful landscape dotted with neatly-trimmed trees, it's no surprise to see Egyptians and foreigners alike going for a jog in the quiet streets, both day and night.
Our walk has come to an end, but for those who live in Maadi, the pleasures of a stroll can become a daily habit.
The area surrounding the Cairo American College