Alexandria

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
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71
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Trip End Sep 30, 2010


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Where I stayed
Triomphe Hotel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Alexandria even the ocean looks murky brown, and the beach is a popular but unappealing stretch of pebbles and mud. Thankfully we weren't visiting for the beach.
Setting out to see the sights in true stingy backpacker style (I'm not paying 20cents for a mere 2km tram ride when I can walk it instead!) we got totally lost and ended up wandering through a street market kilometers long. Crowds of people were jostling to bargain over anything from clothes to toys to kitchen goods to motors - all of which were completely broken beyond repair.

We finally located the Roman catacombs, these days filled with tourists rather than human remains. Lavish in their time, they even include an underground banquet hall so people could dine next to the graves of their recently deceased relatives...

Having not learned a thing, we decided to walk back to central Alexandria and then proceeded to get totally lost again. We ended up in some back alleyways where people had tethered their donkeys and horses. As it was Friday, all the little shops were empty with the shopkeepers joining the crowds praying on rugs outside the mosques, and the general atmosphere was one of a big street party. We had a lot of invitations to eat or drink with people, and I stopped to pat a horse which resulted in the locals staring at me in amazement. Turns out we were walking in totally the wrong direction. It was a long way back.

And of course, being Alexandria we had to visit the new library. The building is an interesting hieroglyphic covered design that looks like it is tilting to sink into the adjacent pool, inside it holds a large collection of modern books. The first library I have ever paid to enter, we browsed the Engineering section before  stopping for a while to read some Middle Eastern history and people watch.

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