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A day in Alexandria?

Stuck in North Texas
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A day in Alexandria?

Jend. started a post about Alexandria and I was amazed that there are no good ideas about what to do there!

We will be there for one full day (from a cruise ship). We will already have spent several days in Cairo and certainly don't want to drive 3 hours over to Cairo and back.

So we were thinking Alexandria would be an interesting Egyptian city to explore.

We're not expecting another Cairo, but would appreciate your suggestions about what to do, where to go, what to eat (of course).

Hmm, maybe this would be better addressed on the Alexandria Forum? But the Cairo is where I always read everything about Egypt and feel at home so I thought I'll try here first.

By the way, thank you all for all your comments, trip reports and suggestions. I have been reading up for a year now, and we will be there in about 55 days (who's counting!)

United Kingdom
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1. Re: A day in Alexandria?

Hi,

We spent a day there in April, also from a cruise ship.

There were several excursions from which to choose; we chose "Greek & Roman Alexandria". We visited the small but very interesting museum, which includes artefacts from the Pharonic age, as well as Greek & Roman, & one may take photos without flash in there. Mine turned out fine. We also saw the amphitheatre, with its many cats who live there now, so I was in seventh heaven!

We saw the famous library from the coach & made a stop at the Qait Bey Fort, built on the original site of the Pharos, Alexandria’s lighthouse & one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

There was also a trip to El Alamain & altho it wasn't offered from opur ship, one can visit the catacoombs but I have no details about that. Destination Expert (Egyptian Goddess) may be able to advise you on that in the Alex forum.

Regards

Liverpool, United...
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2. Re: A day in Alexandria?

Alexandria is pleasant for a day, fish is the obvious thing to eat there, and you will have plenty of choice.

There is a garden called Montaza, that is nice to visit, it is also by the sea and contains a former palace, you cannot go into it, but the gardens and views are nice.

Would not bother with Pompey's pillar, not very impressive.

You can enjoy walking along the sea and the downtown area is quite pleasant. Ah almost forgot The Alexandria Bibliotech (Library) is well worth a visit.

Regards

Wendy

United Kingdom
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3. Re: A day in Alexandria?

P.S. These are the prices as at April '08 for the 2 trips I mentioned:

1)Greek & Roman Alexandria - £30 adult, £15 child, approx 4 hrs. (Medium activity)

2)El Alamein - £30 adult, £15 child, approx 5 hrs. (Medium activity)

Regards

australia
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4. Re: A day in Alexandria?

If you go to Alexandria you must visit the Bibliotheca Alexandria (it's the new library) You will get an english speaking guided tour included in your ticket.It is really amazing.They really want books donated,so if you can bring one from home to donate that will help them build the library up.

Dont worry about going to the aquarium at Fort Qaitbey (looks as if a school has set it up).The Catacoms of Kom ash-Shuqqafa were interesting.Eating you can go to Cap d'Or have great tapas and really cheap and you can get a beer or wine.Bit hard to find but just ask.

Alexandria, Egypt
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5. Re: A day in Alexandria?

Hello!

There are quite a few museums in Alex

There is The National Museum on Fouad Street (contains all periods of history from Archaic up to Islamic, located in an old villa)

The Graeco-Roman Museum (Not sure if this has reopened yet but used to be my favourite crammed full of stuff around a lovely central courtyard)

The Jewellery Museum in Zizinia (Scheduled to reopen soon, located in an old palace)

Then there is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina which has fantastic modern architecture. There are also a few museums inside - most notable is the Egyptian Heritage museum in the basement. The manuscript museum I thought was going to be exciting and sadly wasn't. Here's a link to the library and it's museums:

http://www.bibalex.org/English/index.aspx

For Graeco Roman remains - there is the Amphitheater at Kom el Dikka which also contains the lovely villa of the birds (be sure to buy a separate ticket when you purchase your entrance ticket - else you have to walk all the way back. The villa of the birds is normally locked but if they know you have a ticket the lady will hunt you down to open it for you), Catacombs at Kom el Shogafa, More tombs at Anfushi, Shatby and Mustafa Kamel.

There are gardens at Montaza (Contains a royal Palace - great place to take photos) More Gardens at Antoniadis (Contains an old Greek villa, peaceful place to wander round with statues in the gardens)

Islamic ruins include the Qait Bey Fort which has been recently renovated. Gets very crowded on Fridays, and it has 3 floors up not too even steps - but is a fantastic place to view the length of Alex. Miss out on the Aquarium and the bizarre stuffed fish museum. Both are just too sad for words.

Places to eat:

Mohamed Ahmed, Egyptian fast food, Full, Falafel, salads etc, very cheap and very good quality. (Raml Station area)

Cap D'Or, also known as Sheikh Ali's, Weird bar with a reputation for good seafood snacks and meals (takes some finding, in a side street just behind St Marks Church)

Rakoda: Sea food, order fish by weight and then cooked to order and served with salads (Corniche, in a place called Sporting)

Fish Market: Sea food, close to the fort.

More upmarket food can be found in the hotels too if that's your choice - Cecil Hotel has a pseudo Chinese on the rooftop - the Chinese food isn't all that good (it may have improved) but the view from up there more than makes up for it.

The Salamlik Hotel in Montaza has excellent silver service - and meals compare with prices abroad, so although expensive for Egypt - it may be reasonable for excellent quality for foreigners.

Phew! Think I covered it all?

Stuck in North Texas
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6. Re: A day in Alexandria?

I just wanted to thank everyone who added their comments and suggestions. I now feel like I have a good idea of how to spend our 10 hours in Alexandria! Special thanks to the Destination Experts, Wendy and Egyptian Goddess (who was so nice to answer on this Forum!)

I have learned so much from the TA Forums for this trip. I don't know how people plan a trip without all this great help on the internet.

I, for sure, will try to pay back - and write a trip report about our 4 days in Cairo so that maybe someone can find a piece of information that will make their trip better.

Saint Louis...
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7. Re: A day in Alexandria?

I'm interested in the comment "bring a book to donate" in regards to the Alexandria library. What types of books are they looking for?

Stuck in North Texas
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8. Re: A day in Alexandria?

I do have ONE more question!

My husband has a bad knee and may need transport for this day, instead of walking.

I have done a search in the Alexandria Forum for a driver/guide and can't find one. For some reason all the advice seems to think that everyone wants to go from Alexandria to Cairo so the guides are all from Cairo that are recommended.

We don't want to go to Cairo from Alexandria (we will have been there already) but would like to find the name of an English speaking driver/guide that is from Alexandria!

If you have used or know of a reputable pleasant person I'd appreciate a name and contact information.

Thanks!

Manchester, United...
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9. Re: A day in Alexandria?

Alexandria has a quite a long costal line and it is better to do things either east to west or west to East.

Since the port you will arrive to is far west, you would find the various attractions of the city coming as follows:

Qait Bai Fort and I would not call it "ruins", it is in an excellent condition, as if it was built 5 years ago :) Next to it there is a little acquarium that could be interesting for children. It is nothing to the ones I saw in Boston or Bergen (Norway) or even London, but it used to interest us a lot when we were children.

Next there is the Women Market (Zan'et el Settat), it is quite interesting if you want to see samples of real local life passing by. You would not find much to buy as a tourist though.

Next, the catacoombs, very interesting and you can ask one of the antiquities council staff there to give you a guided tour and you can pay them 50 LE or so. They usually offer iot for free, but I find it appropriate to pay for their service since they really don't have to do it.

El Raml Statiion (Alex city center), a walk from there to the Fort along the Eastern Harbour is very interesting. The city center again reflects other sights and sounds of the local life. The best Foul and Falafel place in Egypt (Mohammed Ahmed highlighted by Egyptian Godess above) is there. It is a great place for a filling breakfast.

The Greco-Roman Musuem (highlighted above)

The Library (a must visit and not to be missed) - it is visited only via guided tours that leave every 15 minutes from the main reception.

The Jewls Palace in Zizinia (highlighted above), not a top attraction given you have one day, but it is a fine piece of 19th century architecture that houses the crown jewls of Egypt's former royal family.

Stanley Bridge, it is new, just finished 8 years ago passing over the Stanley Bay, but it offers one of the best photo opprotunities of the city, especially if you are lucky enough to be there during sunset.

El Montazah Park in the far east (highlighted above and I conisder it a must-see as well)

There are many other Roman ruins and lower key sites like El Morsy Abul Abbas Mosque.

Who said there is nothing to do there? You can easily spend two days there and you will barely see it all.

Hampshire England
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10. Re: A day in Alexandria?

Hi, we had a day in Alexandria off a Cruise boat. Went into town on the inevitable shuttle bus which takes you to a square near the sea front. Because it looked so grubby most the people on the shuttle bus just stayed on and returned to the ship. What an opportunity they missed! We were walking along by the sea front when along came a caleche with Yusef the driver and his horse Tiger. We were a little apprehensive at first, but my partner persuaded me it was a good idea. He took us to all the sights we wanted to see and through the markets. We saw the Christian Church, a muslem funeral and learned so much. We had about 4 hours in all. Tiger has an attitude problem with donkeys!!!! Yusef did try to charge us more than we had originally agreed, (but we had such a good time, and he spoke English) that after my partner had put him straight, we did pay him a very fair price for a superb trip.

My advice is to go to the square where the shuttle bus drops you off and if your can't get Yusef and Tiger, find another caleche (so your husband doesn't have to walk) and do a deal. Make sure they understand the price. We are going to Egypt in a weeks time and I am going to try writing down the fare agreed and in what currency and getting the driver to agree this. Hope it works, but as someone said "Fil mish mish" In your dreams! Have a great trip. Nigellatoo.