Alexandria is located about 150 miles northeast of Cairo. The ride by car is about 3 hours each way. It is possible to do, as I did, and make this a day trip from Cairo. But be smarter than I was and be sure you have round trip transportation secured.
I took an Uber ride from Cairo and expected to do the same on return. I already had a hotel room in Cairo and left my belongings there so I was ill prepared to spend a night in Alexandria.
In the last post I covered two of the major attractions, Pompey's column and the underground catacombs. Here I'll cover my trip to the Citadel of Qaitbey and my return to Cairo story.
The Citadel is located on the Mediterranean Ocean. It was built in the late 1400's on the site of the former Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the former Seven Wonders of the Ancient Work (again, how many can there possibly be?).
The Sultan Qaitbey visited the lighthouse along with some of his princes and ordered the fortress built on the site. The Sultan ensured the fort was well equipped with soldiers and ammunition.
The fortress was built to defend the coast against a potential invasion from the Turks. A mosque was built within the fortress. It took serious damage in the 1800's by a British bombardment. The Citadel was restored in the 19th century and eventually turned into a museum. Not interested in the museum aspect, but rather the natural setting, I only toured the surrounding area.
Although Alexandria, as well as Egypt in general, is well off the radar when it comes to world news, not so in the prime days of Alexandria. This was an important world hub and the capital of Egypt for centuries. It was also the interlectual and cultural center for all of the important Mediterranean area.
Here are some photos I took of the area:
The fort from across the bay.
This was a very busy place. Many visitors come here. I didn't see many westerners as most looked local to me,
The coastal area around the fort was also very busy with what looked like locals enjoying the scenery.
I actually have a post coming on a boat scam I encountered here. I've encountered many scams in my travels but this was a more amusing one. I'll post it tomorrow.
When my time concluded here it was time to travel back to Cairo so I got on my Uber app and summoned a ride. I was accepted but within 5 minutes I was notified the driver dropped me. I tried again with the same results. A third time it happened again.
Frustrated I sought a taxi in the area, however the taxi drivers all said they don't make the long rides to Cairo. Now I was getting nervous. Would anyone make the trip?
Again I tried the Uber app. Finally a driver showed up but when he realized I was going to Cairo he said his car was not in good enough shape to make the trip. He said that's likely why the other drivers also dropped me.
I told him I needed to get back but no one would take me. He suggested a bus but I had no desire to navigate the metro system this late in the day. The driver seemed earnest in his desire to help me out so he called his cousin who had a better car but was not an Uber driver. He was agreeable to help me out so we agreed on a price and he picked me up.
What a relief! I was beginning to resign myself to spend the nights with no change of clothes and navigate my way by bus back the following day. Not something I was looking forward to.
Although I experienced scams by professional scammers in Egypt, I found that overall the people to be good, honest people willing to help and have fellowship. I'll post more on that later. People are generally good but we tend to label them by the bad actions of the few.
That concluded my trip to Alexandria. This is a trip that can be done in a day unless you're interested in detailed exploration