arrived at Ramses Station witih time to spare to catch the noon train
to Alexandria and bought our tickets. The "Turbini"
was an excellent train costing EP30 (A$6.65) each and the two
and a half hour trip to Iskendaria (Alexandria) passed very
At Alexandria, thanks to the map in the Lonely Planet,
we were able to negotiate our way through the crowded back streets
to the Corniche quite easily. And noticed one thing that set Alex
apart fro the rest of Egypt - no hassles, no big sell. We walked
past many stalls without being harassed at all.
Union (our first choice) had no rooms with a view so we
tried the Hotel Crillon in the next street. More expensive
at EP73 (A$16.15) including breakfast, we were shown
a clean room with a view clear across the harbour but had
to share a bathroom with one other room. It also had a balcony
- we seem to be lucky with our balconies! That view of the
harbour and the Mediterranean beyond was not to be ignored
booked the room for two nights.
Our room is in the Annexe one floor up from the Crillon
itself. The centre rooms of the Annexe are furnished with
dark Victorian furniture - very elegant. The bedrooms go off
this "sitting room" on all sides, with bathrooms
off immediately on a walk in search of a calamari lunch, we
walked west along Sharia 26th July, past a very striking
memorial to the Unknown Soldier which was guarded by
many policeman.(Later that evening it was illuminated.)
It took us some
time to find a restaurant but we eventually found a "meal"
for two at EP25 (A$5.55) - 2 grilled fish, calamari, shrimp
and a selection of delightful salads - tomato and cucumber slices,
spicy potato salad, aubergines in a tomato/garlic/olive oil sauce,
a chopped mix of onion, tomato, courgette and an unidentified spicy
sauce and, of course, okra.
mosques in a group, the Mosque of Abou El-Abbas El Marsi
(1219) with 4 domes, El Bosery Mosque facing it and Sidi
Yahoot El Arsh opposite El Abbas caught our attention.
We continued along the Corniche until we came to Fort Qaitbey
at the entrance to the harbour. This was built on the foundations
of the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of
the ancient world.
Sated, we walked back to the hotel along "Tram Street",
one street back from the seafront, where the trams run along the centre
of the road from one end of Alexandria to the other.
Going one street further back, we found ourselves in the souk. A veritable
wonderland of clothes, toys, gold and silversmiths, balloon salesmen
- and nobody demanding you come into their shop! I went into one silversmith
to ask about a necklace in the window. He was happy to show it to
me but when I said "no thanks" he was polite and
wished us a good evening and didn't insist that we choose something
else. What a relief!