After a difficult day in Cairo, I hopped on an express train to Alexandria. Home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the new Alexandria Library), and former home to one of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, I knew I had to visit before I left Egypt.
My posts about Egypt are broken into three parts:
I had a few things planned out for my day, but after such an exhausting day walking around Cairo, I decided to sleep in and just take a casual walk along the North coast of Africa. The walk along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea is called the Corniche, and it was lined with fisherman and palm trees. From where I stood, it ended at the Citadel of Qaitbay, which was built where the Lighthouse of Alexandria used to be. It took me about an hour to reach the Citadel, but it was a very pleasant walk with the sea breeze cooling me off in the 90 degree heat. Along the way, I got a glimpse of a different part of Egypt from Cairo.
With cleaner streets and colorful buildings, Alexandria was what I had imagined Cairo to be more like. One of my favorite parts about the city was seeing all of the colorful boats that lined the shore. There was something beautiful about the broken boats too, with their rainbow paint slowly peeling away.
After reaching the Citadel, I turned around and walked back along the promenade to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The interior of the library was incredible. I couldn’t even take a photo because it wouldn’t have done it justice. Ultra sleek and modern, the ceiling was incredibly high and lofty, with tiered levels of bookshelves, computers, and work stations. One of my favorite parts about the library was the lighting on the shelves. See it in the video below:
After visiting the library for a few hours, I headed over to a recommended spot – the Selsela Cafe. They had excellent food and an amazing view of the ocean. My flight was that night out of Cairo, so I had to end my day there in order to make it back on the train to Cairo in time.
I accidentally took the wrong train back to Cairo, due to not being able to communicate very well without knowing how to speak Arabic. The train took five hours instead of two and half, but if I hadn’t gotten on the wrong train, I never would have met a 19 year old girl, Marwa, traveling with her father. She knew how to speak English and loved the language, so we chatted for most of the ride. She gifted me a miniature Quran she was wearing around her neck, and it is my favorite souvenir. Speaking with her taught me a lot about my privilege. She is an incredibly smart, genuinely happy person, and her circumstances limit what she can do with her life. To her, being an unmarried, female solo traveler is something that would never be an option, due to cultural and financial reasons. I regret not getting a penpal address from her. I’m very thankful I met Marwa, and I hope we meet again someday.