After only a week since my first visit to Alexandria, I returned to this lovely coastal city, this time with Justin and Coral. Traveling with Justin meant Four Seasons hotel suites and tour drivers – rather than the hostels and 5 cent tram rides I took with Natalya haha. In that sense, I got to rediscover the city all over again from a different perspective!
After enjoying a lovely Turkish tea service at the hotel, we set off with our tour driver to explore the city. I loved the 3-D murals along the road. For a quiet coastal city full of historical importance, Alexandria still exudes a very modern and artistic feel. We went inside the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which is a beautifully sleek library.
Next, we went to Kom al-Shoqafa, Alexandria’s catacombs. We descended a large spiral staircase to enter a multi-level labyrinth that consists of many chambers full or pillars and scultures and a large Roman-style banquet room, where living relatives of the deceased would hold memorial meals.
Near the catacombs is Pompey’s Pillar, which is one of the few ancient monuments still standing in Alexandria. The pillar is located on the city’s ancient acropolis and stands almost 100ft tall. The Romans may have constructed this pillar using the same method that was used to erect ancient obelisks.
We headed to the Citadel of Qaitbey and as mentioned previously, the fort was built on the site of Alexandria’s ancient lighthouse (remains of the lighthouse can actually be seen in the construction of the fort). It was built in the 1480s by Sultan Qaitbey. We contemplated going inside, but it didn’t seem worth it. We had heard it was more impressive from the outside, and I think the bigger attraction was an aquarium inside. Instead we decided to spend our pounds much more wisely on souvenir trinkets haha. I bought several pashmina scarves and mother of pearl boxes at the many market stalls on the path to the Citadel.
We also drove by the Montazah Palace, which formerly serves as a royal summer residence. There are some gardens within the palace, but we didn’t have enough time as we had to head to Cairo that evening.