View of the Corniche from the Cecil Hotel
We breezed in and out of Alexandria and learned something very important - make sure your taxi drivers REALLY speak English, unless you speak Arabic! We had our most 'interesting' taxi rides in Egypt here when our ever friendly drivers kept saying "yes, yes, yes" to everything and delivered us to the wrong sites twice and then the wrong hotel. But they were very nice about it.
Because of mis-delivery/miscommunication, we missed seeing the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa , one of the wonders of the Middle Ages, because they instead dropped us at the Pompey's Pillar and by the time we got to the Catacombs they were closed. Nevertheless, the Pillar site, the Citadel and the Corniche were fabulous despite a rainy day.
We also had a very interesting walk through real Alexandria - didn't know we had a tourist walking route in our book from the train station to the Corniche, so just set out and ended up walking through neighborhoods that probably didn't get much tourist foot traffic.
Everyone was incredibly friendly and it was one of the highlights of the trip. We felt a bit like movie stars with people jumping out of buildings to say "Welcome to Egypt" and "Obama - YES!"
Adorable & friendly young women who LOVED having their photo taken.
The seafood was excellent, as expected. The Fishmarket Restaurant on the Corniche allowed us to pick our own fish and cook to our specs. The seafood pasta was to die for. AND it was a quarter of the price we expected.
One delightful incident was the left luggage 'department' at the train station. Since our time was limited, we wanted to get going, so left all our bags in a rather unkempt place after we were assured it was "very safe".
The custodian made a big deal of taking our passport numbers and assuring us of our luggage safety - grandiosely granting us a key to the luggage locker. When we returned to pick up our luggage, we discovered one bag had been secured on the custodian's bed, the other four were in a locker which could be accessed by three doors - two of which were unlocked, but one which was. And we had the key.
Street water fountain
On the con side: the Alexandria airport leaves much to be desired and also sported some misogynist security guards (another story). On the plus: the Cecil Hotel is a delightful place to have a view of the Corniche and a beer in true colonial style, the people are friendly, and the seaside is refreshing and walkable.
Alexandria Hotels & Accommodations review
Nice, inexpensive by Hilton standards, but weirdly situated in a shopping mall with long labyrinth-like corridors. We got upgraded and the room was g… read entire review