Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 4: Train to Alexandria

It is often said that trains are usually late in Egypt.  Ours was no exception.  We were to leave at 9:00 a.m., but that locomotive pulled out of the station at 10:40 a.m.  However, once we left the station, we had a nice ride to Alexandria, Egypt, which is in the north along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The previous night in our hostel was hot, to say the least.  But we were quick to check out and make our way to a taxi which took us to the train station and dropping us off after doing a special u-turn.  Feeling good about being early, we decided to get some orange juice at a juice man as well as pick up some rice pudding from a vendor outside of the train station.  The man with the rice pudding had each puddin' pre-made in glass bowls.  On top was some type of home made shredded wheat-like topping.  Yum!  The price: only 4 EGP each!

The interior of the Cairo train station.
We then headed back to the train station after being asked if we wanted a taxi a few hundred times.  This was probably due to the fact that we had our backpacks on and looked like we had just arrived.  But we had not.  Instead, we would soon be leaving to Alexandria.  Or that's what we thought.

Farmland in the Nile river delta.
View from our room in Alexandria.
The corniche in Alexandria.
But the train was late!  We walked in and saw that train 909 to Alexandria would be leaving at 10:00 a.m. instead of the originally scheduled 9:00 a.m.
departure time.  So, we sat ourselves down and we waited an hour and forty minutes until that train pulled up.  Once it did we got on and found our seats, and rode north to Alexandria.

Upon arriving in Alexandria we made our way to our hotel, which is called the Transit hotel.  It's along the corniche in Alexandria, and very close to the water.  We checked in and got our room.  I will review the room later, but I will say that we are very happy with it.  The price is higher than other accommodations in Egypt, but that is because Alexandria is pretty popular right now, as it usually is in the summer.  That is because it is somewhat cooler here, with sea breezes and options for swimming and diving.  There are many ruins out at sea, including the old lighthouse of Alexandria, which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Streets of Alexandria.

After we checked in we got some lunch at a small restaurant a few blocks away called Mohammed Ahmed. The restaurant has many vegetarian options and we ordered a lot of good food for a great price.  We ordered falafel with tahina, beets and salads, and foul with tahina, lentil soup, pita bread, and creme caramel. When we were presented with the bill we almost fell over dead!  It was only 24 EGP, about $3.50!  For a meal that expanded our bellies and made us feel crazy full.  Not only that, but afterwards we went swimming in sugar cane juice at a local juicery.

We decided to break the day into two, as it's very hot out now and the traffic is something else.  Therefore, we will be going out this evening and walking along the sea as the city lights up.  I will perhaps do a short entry on that.  But for now, that has been our day so far.


After awakening we took a stroll on the corniche, which was quite busy with people.  There were vendors selling all sorts of food, such as grilled corn on the cob (2 EGP), some type of beans in a bag (2 EGP), ice cream, tea, and other things.

After walking along the water, we went back towards our hotel and got some more juice and some fried dough balls with chocolate and powdered sugar on top (9 EGP).

The weather is much better here, as there is a sea breeze.  Overall, we are liking it a lot here so far.

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