According to Wikitravel (http://wikitravel.org/en/Alexandria) Alexandria was one of the greatest cities in the Hellenic world, second only to Rome in size and wealth. Currently, Alexandria (See Location Map) is a more westernized city in Egypt probably due to its location on the southeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. We enjoyed the culture and there was certainly plenty to do. The people in general were very warm, friendly and helpful and seemed to appreciate American’s visiting their country.
Favorite Things To Do
- Waterfront Area on the Mediterranean Sea – There is a nice walking path along the waterfront if you need to exercise or just enjoy walking and sightseeing. In this area you will find parks, restaurants and nice views. Here are some photos; the left two taken from our 5th story hotel.
- Take the Tram – The Tram system is actually pretty cool and worth riding around the city. It runs on rails and roughly moves parallel to the river and does a loop near the Qaitbay Citadel. It is ridiculously cheap, maybe around 15 cents US. Upon boarding, I made a mistake and was going to enter the women’s only car. Several gentlemen politely stopped me and guided Stephanie and I on to the men/women’s car. The people on the Tram were very gracious and three separate people offered to pay our fare. People started conversations with us…..where are you from…..we like Obama….always wanted to visit America, etc. It was a lot of fun and was a good way to strike up some conversations with locals.
- Bibliotheca Alexandrian (The Great Library of Alexandria) – According to Wikipedia, the Bibliotheca is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria . It is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and erudition represented. The library has 11 cascading floors, absolutely fascinating museums on the lower floors and a planetarium. It measures 280,000 square feet. The museums along are worth the trip and many of them are free.
- Shaban Restaurant – This is a locals place that is hard to find since we did not have a GPS. You go down a series of back alleys and small streets. Our host at the Transit Hotel gave us written directions in Arabic and we showed the directions to locals who kept guiding us in the right direction. When you arrive, you go to a display case and pick out your fresh fish. They cook it and bring it to you along with fresh cooked vegetables. A superb meal and definitely a cultural experience.
- The Qaitbay Citadel – According to Wikpedia, The Citadel of Qaitbay (or the Fort of Qaitbay) (Arabic: قلعة قايتباي) is a 15th-century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean sea coast. It was built in the 15th Century as a stronghold of defense for attacks from the north. It is an impressive fort and worth spending a few hours. Take the Tram and follow the crowd for five or six blocks to get there.
- Favorite Watering Hole – The Mermaid – We ended up at this spot near the waterfront of the Mediterranean Sea about every day. It is an open air type restaurant and bar and offers some good views of the people and the Sea.
- Favorite Place to Stay – The Transit Hotel – We found this place on HostelWorld.com. The cost was about 10 bucks a night. It was clean and had a great view of the Mediterranean Sea. We lucked out big time finding this place. The adjoining Hotel Sofitel cost about $120 a night.
I’ve always loved trains and a train ride back and forth from Cairo is worth doing if you have the time.
As in any big city, the taxi drivers were nuts. This photo was shot from our 5th story room at the Transit Hotel.
This was a random shot by Stephanie of a rice field being flooded to get it ready for growing season.
Somehow we ended up at a resort on the Mediterranean Sea for a night. Our room reservation got mixed up and they sent us here instead. The locals would lay on the beach and swim in formal dress.