Exploring Alexandria

When I took the Overseas Adventure Travel trip Egypt and the Eternal Nile, at the end of the base trip we left the hustle and bustle of Cairo for the hustle and bustle of the post trip in Alexandria. It’s really a hopping resort town, albeit rundown by the elements and lack of money to improve the housing. But a traveler who has spent two weeks in antiquity gets a glimpse of a more modern but run- down Egypt.

The big-ticket stop is the Alexandria Library. It’s both a library and a museum. The original Alexandria Library, the first of its kind in the world, was purported to have been given to Cleopatra by Mark Anthony. It saw long periods of decline, and one theory is that it was finally burned down by Julius Caesar with between 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls and manuscripts forever lost (the precise count is unknown). But from what I can tell, we got our concept of a library/museum from this library and its rich heritage. part of the world. Since I have been to 12 of the Presidential libraries at home, I was expecting this library to be more than a library, and it did not disappoint. The museum exhibit we saw on Anwar Sadat was very much like a presidential library exhibit. The modern architecture of the library as well, was stunning.

Also, worth seeing while in Alexandria is Rosetta (Rashid), where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. The British and French fought over it, and the British finally gained control over it. So, the actual Rosetta Stone now resides in the British Museum, which is how the world became interested in Egyptology. The site where it was discovered, and which helped unravel the mystery of the hieroglyphics, is all that is left to see  in Rosetta (Rashid) Egypt.

We took a stroll through the market there, and I was constantly surrounded by children who wanted to practice their English and have me take their photos. I was so surrounded, I was getting separated from our group, and our security sweep stayed with me and made sure I caught up with everyone. But the eel vendor was a favorite of mine in the market holding up two long fish for a photo to be taken and putting a third fish between his teeth. And all the while, kids wanted to practice their English. Other sites to see are the catacombs there, as well as a museum on Greek and Roman times in Alexandria.

Alexandria has a beautiful coastline, but the buildings which surround it are in decrepit condition. This is probably the contradiction that is Egypt; beauty among the rubble, even in modern Egypt. But the main trip focused on ancient Egypt, and you will see beauty amid the rubble in that part of Egypt too. Alexandria is also geographically interesting, in that the Nile runs thru 10 countries and dumps into the Mediterranean in Alexandria. 

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