Photo by Oladapo Olusola on Pixabay
The bus ride from Cairo to Alexandria is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. My parents, brother and I arrive in the middle of the night in an empty Cairo International Airport.
While the bus trip to Alexandria is long and exhausting, the excitement I feel the entire way doesn’t allow me to sleep. I don’t want to miss out on anything.
As the bus travel through the empty streets of Cairo, and wild dogs wandering the streets before everyone wakes up, suddenly, you get glimpses of the pyramids at Giza. My eyes are wide open and my heart is racing. I am not expecting to see glimpses of the pyramids so early on in the journey. It feels like a dream.
Imagine the yellow and orange colors that cover the sky as the sun rise in the early morning. The surrounding buildings are visible, but somewhere in between them you see a huge pyramid in a faded white fog peeking out as the bus drives. I can’t wait to go and visit the pyramids, but for now I am on my way to Alexandria. (If you would like to discover the city of the Nile, read my article: ‘10 great tips for a visit to Cairo‘).
Arriving in Alexandria
Arriving in Alexandria in the morning, you are greeted by taxis and cars honking, children running around, food carts being pushed in-between traffic. You learn very quickly that this is life in Alexandria all day long…
Love at first sight
I don’t need a lot of time to fall in love with Alexandria. Not because it was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., but because of its beauty.
It is a total different world to me and where I live. I love the weather (even though I am traveling in July/August), the warmth of the people, the busy streets, the food carts and their delicious corn, the ful mudammas at the restaurants, the songs of Amr Diab everywhere you go and the wedding parties every evening. Being in Alexandria feels like I am shooting a movie every single day. Those who grow up watching Egyptian series and movies will understand this feeling.
My parents have friends living in Alexandria. We are staying with them in an apartment on a busy street. They are our guides during these days. The apartment has a lot of space and the furniture is beautiful. I am used to see such furniture when I watch Arabic movies, so it is nice to see it in reality. It has a lot of gold and patterns and it gives you the feeling you are at a palace visiting the king.
Walking around the city
I am very happy to walk around in the city and embrace everything that is around me. I am surprised by the fact that women are not seen during the day walking the streets of the city, maybe because of the hot days and the fact that it is summer vacation. Women are often seen out walking in the evenings with their families.
Sightseeing in Alexandria
Being in Egypt gives me an exciting feeling to go and see all its historical places.
For example, visiting the Citadel of Qaitbay at the seaside. This place is incredible in the evening when all the lights are lit. This is a special place, especially for couples.
Or the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, which are beneath the city. They offer a mix of Egyptian and Roman art and architecture.
Also a beautiful place to visit is the gardens of Montazah Palace with its 61 ha of land. You can visit it during the day; however, it is a different experience in the evening when it is darker and the lights are lit.
For the Arabic music followers among you, Abdel Halim Hafez, the legendary Egyptian singer and actor, shot his video clip “Ahdan El Habayeb” in these gardens.
Many Egyptians come to the second biggest city of the country for its beautiful beaches. If you love swimming, there are no shortages of beaches. However, please be aware of your swimming attire. It is not common for women to wear beachwear such as bikinis or bathing suits when swimming. You might not feel comfortable. Women normally swim fully clothed. It is not a problem for men to wear their swimming trunks. If you prefer wearing whatever you want, than you can go to the different hotels located at the sea that have a private beach.
Racing cab in Alexandria
Be prepared for a roller coaster ride when riding in taxis in Egypt. I personally love roller coasters and did enjoy my “racing cab”, but deep down I know it is very dangerous. What I also enjoy during my ride is the information that the taxi driver provides me about the country and the living here. This way I can learn more about life in Egypt.
Have you ever been to Alexandria? I am sure you remember a specific story about your stay. I am curious! You can tell me all about it in the comments below.