Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 – Cairo to Alexandria, Egypt

     We had a 5:15 am wake-up call to be ready to go at 7.  We had a new bus driver today for our ride back to Alexandria.  We drove on the Desert Road.  Every so often along the sides of the road you would see a tube with holes in it.  People would raise pigeons to eat or sell.  They are very expensive and considered a delicacy.  We saw many IMG_5480 IMG_5481

interesting sights while driving such as this car loaded so high on the roof it looked like it would tip over.  I think the best was 4 on a motorcycle; small child, dad, mom & older child.  The streets in the poorer sections of both cities seemed very dirty with litter.  Some tried to keep the sidewalk clean, but it went in the street.  The city cleans the streets once or twice a year.

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     Alexandria is the largest port in the Arab Republic of Egypt and one of the major summer resorts on the Mediterranean Sea.  It was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates (332-33 BC) on the site of an old village, Rhakotis, at the orders of Alexander the Great.  Alexandria lies north-west of the Nile delta and stretches along a narrow land strip between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mariut (mareotis).  It is linked to Cairo by two major highways and a railroad line.  Its beaches, with white sands and magnificent scenery, stretch for 145 km along the Mediterranean Sea, from Abu Qir in the east to Al-Alamein and Sidi Abjul Rahman in the west.

IMG_5532 Stitch Alexandria beach

     Our first stop in Alexandria was a visit to the Greco-Roman catacomb where cameras were not allowed.  Ray had to sit this one out because of his knee.  There were 108 steps to the bottom.  It is amazing how they built it underground.  We have post cards that show the site.  We then went to Montaza Gardens and saw the summer residence palace of the former king of Egypt, Farouk.  It has 365 rooms.  We also passed the tomb of the unknown soldier, a fort built on the site of the old light house and the Abu El Abass Mosque with its tall minaret and four domes.

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     We went to a government souvenir shop and to a Papyrus shop where they showed us how to make paper and then had a buffet lunch at a Greek restaurant.  It was then on to the library of Alexandria built on the original site of the old Alexandria library and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  The architect that won the bid is from Norway.

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     We had them cut the library tour from 60 minutes to 30 minutes as we were all tired.  When we got back to the ship there was a problem because our new driver was not allowed to drive into the port.  We had to wait for another driver to come.  Once on the ship we went to the ship’s doctor, had dinner and went to bed.  The doctor said Ray has water on the knee and gave him a brace and a walking stick.  The pills (Voltaren SR 100) we got from the pharmacist in Cairo were correct.  We had to set the clocks ahead one hour.  It was wonderful seeing the pyramids, but it was good to be home. 

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