Tag Archive: Alexandria



A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

Alexandria


This is my first time in Alexandria, Egypt. Of course I was excited to visit this port city facing the Mediterranean Sea. Once home to that famous library and lighthouse which counted among the 7 wonders of the Ancient World, it would take a lot of imagination to remember this 2nd biggest city in Egypt as having once been the most prosperous city in the world. The corniche must have spanned a good 10 miles from the Montaza Gardens to the former site of the Lighthouse where the present-day Citadel of Qaitbay now stands. Like Cairo, traffic along the avenue lining the waterfront promenade was horrendous. Our bus ran the length of the main road passing many apartment buildings, hotels, and commercial buildings which look like they’ve all seen better times. Some look unfinished, even war-torn or bombed out. And one would have even thought this is prime real estate property with that seafront view. We likewise weaved around side streets in the old part of town — markets, souqs and again, dilapidated, neglected buildings that seem to have been abandoned midway through construction. A pity. I imagined it could have looked even better than Miami’s Art Deco district or maybe like Nice in France.

Took us 3 hours driving North from Cairo to Alex, as locals call it. Our first 3 stops were at Pompey’s Pillar and the Temple of Serapium, the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa and the Montaza Palace. The Temple is all rubble, holes and trenches now but the triumphal column dedicated to Diocletian stands proud in solid granite . Then there’s the Catacombs which date back to the 2nd century AD which exemplify a mix of Roman, Egyptian and Greek styles and where the chambers were both used as tombs and feasting chambers for the living visiting their dead. Having seen all these antiquities, it was quite refreshing to visit the Montaza Palace and its well-manicured gardens. It’s like a park complex where the neatly-designed and well-maintained palace grounds contrast against the filth and chaotic streets and alleys of Old Town Alexandria.

I have to confess I was a tad disappointed. Or maybe I prepped myself to be disappointed because I expected much. With its geography and historical significance, I felt that this city in Northern and Coastal Egypt could have maxed out its potentials and emerged even prettier than the country’s capital. Something is just wrong somewhere. But then again, perhaps an overnight stay here does not do justice nor allow much opportunity to truly appreciate the place. Nonetheless, I like the Citadel of Qait Bay. We were charmed by the locals too — mostly young students eager to have their photos with us. Well, sometimes it’s NOT the place nor destination, but the locals you meet. So there. All’s well 😘