Alexandria

Trip Start Jun 14, 2005
1
27
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Trip End Jul 2005


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Saturday, July 9, 2005

Alexandria was nice, even though it was a very hurried trip. We arrived on Friday around noon, after a 3 1/2 hour bus ride. We visited the Greco-Roman Museum, which mainly has sculptures and pottery from the Greco-Roman period in Egypt....duh...hence the name of the museum. We also visited the Catacombs of Kom-ash-Shaqufa...very cool....I am going to have to make a point to visit the catacombs of Paris and Rome next time I am there. They are too cool...spooky, spooky! We also visited Fort Qait Bay, which is were the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria was (it was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, unfortunately all that exist of it today is its base).

We also stayed in a very, very swanky hotel in Alexandria, the Hotel Windsor Palace. I had an awesome room! I was in the corner, on the top floor, with a KING SIZE bed and a balcony that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea..can life get any better? I sleep with my balcony doors open, it was nice to fall asleep to the sound of the city, the smell of the sea salt and the cool winds blowing in from the water. But the best part was the BIG BED - I haven't sleep in anything larger than a twin in quite a while, it was nice to be able to veg out!

Saturday morning we drove along the coast of the Mediterranean for an hour and a half to visit El-Alamein - the view was breathtaking....the water was the most turquoise water I have ever seen. For those of you who are not World War II buffs, like myself, let me give you a little background. In 1941-1942 there was a major war between the Axis and Allied powers over control of North Africa. Hitler wanted to gain control of the Suez Canal to cut off British supplies and gain an upper hand in the war. Rommel (German) set east from Tunisia towards Egypt and eventually the Suez Canal. He encountered Allied Troops all along the 1000+ mile trip, but they were unable to stop him. Montgomery (British) decided that El-Alamein had to be the decisive battle. He knew that if Rommel took El-Alamein, Alexandria would have to be sacrifice in order to defend Cairo. Luckily Montgomery defeated Rommel and chased him back to Tunisia. Otherwise, it is possible Alexandria and Cairo would have fallen and along with them the Suez Canal....if that had happened the results of WWII might have been very different. We visited the museum at El-Alamein along with the Axis and Allied Cemetaries - it was great.

We headed back to Alexandria and visited the Biblioteca Alexandria, one of the finest libraries in the world...but not as grand as its ancient counterpart. Then it is off for home - Cairo. For a short farewell (boo hoo)!

Though this will not be my last post from Egypt I would like to take this time to tell you about some of the things I am going to miss when I am gone....

1. I am going to miss the beautiful pink and orange sunsets of Africa. Whether on the Nile, over the Pyramids, over the Sinai or over the Mediterranean at Alexandria, they have all been breathtaking.

2. I am going to miss the familiar sounds of the Cairo Streets: honking, laughing, the rhythmic sounds of the Arabic language, the heavily accented "hellos".

3. I am going to miss the beautiful stylized calligraphy that seems to cover every surface.

4. I am going to miss the people: their smiles, their eyes, their laughs and their wonderful sense of humor. I am going to miss the beautiful children with their sun-baked skin, curly black hair and big brown eyes.

5. I am going to miss the cool breezes that seem to blow in each evening, cooling the city and giving her life to make it through another long Cairo night.

6. I am going to miss all of our hangouts: Cafe Tobasco, Maison Thomas, Pub 28, La Mandrian, Abu Sid, Diwan and Al Dente.

7. I am going to miss the night life. Cairo does not come to life until after 10:00 pm and simply doesn't sleep till after dawn.

8. I am going to miss the grandeur of the pyramids, the mosques, the temples, the minarets...the city herself.

9. I am going to miss the warm salty water of the Red Sea.

10. I am going to miss my new family. I will miss them tremendously when I leave them. Mary, Phillip, Monica, Lorelie, Chris, Kamran and Samer...ya'll are the best!

11. I am going to miss Egypt, she is such a grand lady.

I think like all travelers, I have seen more than I remember and remember more than I have seen. Even though I know I will return time and time again; I will not be the same, Cairo will not be the same. We will both evolve, we will both change. However, I am positive the love affair we have begun will never end. I know I only have to close my eyes to return, to see her people, to hear her sounds, to feel the warmth of the city I love, Al-Qahira.
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