A walk in Alexandria as first steps in Egypt
Egypt was another one of our destinations for which I had very little expectations. Alexandria filled a rather airy and lonelyÂ spot in my knowledge bank. Beyond the pyramids and ancient sites, we dont get to hear about what is life like for its people today.
It is cold, which should not be surprising since its winter, but I was. My toes stiffened confused in their flip flops, as we jingled our way to the hotel in the rickety Lada of the sales manager. It was midnight and Alex, as it is affectionately called here,Â was asleep and barely lit.
The next day we dug deep in our bags and pulled the cold clothes that have been sitting patiently there since our stint in the Himalayas. Then all rugged up we set off to figure out where in the world have we made it to.
After the mellow stiffness of the Arab Peninsula, the muddy from the rain streets felt like a breath of fresh air. I dislike wet feet just as much as the next person, but seeing the tea makers rugged up in small corners everywhere, old chairs facing the street and providing rest for the shisha smokers, laundry flapping in the gusty wind and life buzzing around me, I couldnt help but grin, as though I have just melted into my favorite chair.
We walked down the corniche and breathed in the Mediterranean.
Rain started to sprinkle again and we hid in one of the back streets.
The smell of freshly baked bread pulled us into the direction of a bakery, where before we knew it we were given tastings of various cookes, sweets and breads. The big man working the brick oven spread his arms wider then his smile and ushered us in to peak into the fire where the next batch of small skinny breads were sending delightful scents throughout the air.
We just had to wait.
Before we knew it, broken chairs were pulled around the place for us as though we were long lost relatives paying a visit.
Full of warm breads and sweets we pulled ourselves from our unintended stop and continued down the streets of the city, where the temperamental weather still could not decide whether it wanted sun or dark clouds or both with some rain in between.
Not long after we got back on the waterfront we stumbled upon a little restaurant, where one thing led to another and we found ourselves amidst the busy kitchen and another group of big grinned men. With all the patience in the world they explained what everything was, chairs were pulled to help the girls to see the action and we watched the swift work of the cook – flipping, stretching and baking fteer.
We had to have one, it looked so good.
Mr.Blab noticed another dish being piled through the window and suddenly hunger was inconsequential, because we were stuffing ourselves full despite of it.
Total for our paratha-likeÂ pizza and koshari: less than $3
Yummy? You bet.
One laughable fish museum later, which served better as an escape from the rain than as a cultural spot,Â we reached our final destination – the more than 500 year old Citadel of Qaitbay.
Yes, it was that windy:
The weather was miserable.
The streets were a big wet amalgamation of garbage and dirt. The beautiful old buildings stood around like ghosts of another time,Â slowly losing the battle with time and people. Caked on dirt decorated the rusty cars splatting in the puddles dotting the badly maintained streets.
But the people and the food shone brighter than any of it, just like the double rainbow that spread across the horizon and the spitting Mediterranean.
“Welcome to Egypt” is the phrase heard more often around us, but nobody needs to say it, because we can feel it in every face and smile around us.
Thank you, Alexandria.
Can I come & be 1 of your children & travel with you?! How do you get into all these wonderful situations & gorgeous rainbows shining for you to boot? No, no wait – a DOUBLE rainbow!!
Alex looks fantastic, hope you survive the cold…i bet that yummy food in your tummies helps. X
I love this post. I love the interaction with people that travelling brings. Reminded me of our holiday in Montenegro last year – we got a recipe for local bread in a restaurant (the owner called his cook from the kitchen and was interpreting as she was dictating the recipe, it was great:) and befriended a chef in another restaurant who was almost like a Grandpa for our little daughter towards the end of our stay. I believe people are friendlier and more open when you travel with children, what do you think?
Great post. great pics! Children do light up any situation.
Stacy, sorry I cannot read your comment from the sheer sparkliness of my existence ;) Or maybe it is that double rainbow that is blinding me, not sure.
Rach, this cold is nothing compared to what is awaiting us north of here. Stinky kids and their snow wishes…
Martina, I think it does make it easier to get close to people when traveling with children, especially certain destinations. and people interactions are hands down the priceless experiences I have had on this trip.
Egypt has always been a place I have wanted to visit and after reading your recent post, I’m ready to go. I’m loving your journey and can’t wait to hear what happens next. Miss you! xx Deanne and the chicks. xx
Ahh, there they are – the people, the kids and the food. Now THIS place looks real to me – and, as usual, quite tasty ;-)
Do you want to share with us how you determine the stations of your journey? Democratically, randomly, alphabetically? Is your itinerary set or are you spontaneously booking the cheapest flight available at the moment? And the big question, is there a deadline of any sort, a horizon of “after the return” you are moving towards? (Sorry, if you do not want to think of such ugly things, please just ignore that mean last question!)
A fish museum??? I’m intrigued. Wet, windy and cold is just miserable. Glad you found some amazing foods and people to brighten your day. Those breads and sweets look delicious.
Jenny, this is undoubtedly a place with a pulse and much easier to write about than the UAE.
Tracy, yes, a fish museum stuck in one of the ends of the fort and full of badly made dioramas. The only thing that saved it from complete la-la land was a big whale skeleton.
I love that photo of the palm tree between the buildings ;-)