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“City not for a white woman”
Review of Alexandria

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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 helpful votes
“City not for a white woman”
Reviewed April 24, 2011

I went to Alexandria on 7th April for 10 days to visit my friends; since it was not a season (it was still winter), we did not go the beach that often; instead, we explored Alexandria city. The weather was still great, 21 - 25 degrees. We stayed by El Agamy, in the apartment that was just 100 metres from the Paradise Beach. It was great to see the sea from the balcony but on the 2nd day I had 100 egyptians pounds dissapeared from my bag from the apartment I rented privately; the landlord (or rather, the agent) had a 2nd pair of keys and it must have been him! Every time we were out & about, people were staring at me as if I was an alien from different planet; even a trip to Cairo proved that Egyptians are as open minded as I though they were. Religion rules the life of all the society and everything is coordinated in this way. In addiiton, the entry fees to tourist spots such as Aquarium, cinema, museums are different for non-Egyptians; for example to get to the Planetarium Cinema by Alexandria University, it is 30 egyptians pounds for non-Egyptians whereby locals pay 5 pounds. The best experience was about the food - we visited great local fish markets whereby we were able to choose the fish we wanted to eat and we had the fish cooked there and then - amazing. Fresh calamari, gambari (prawns) and panga fish.
As a white blonde woman, I felt intimidated by people's staring constantly at me and if I ever am to go back to Egypt, probably for 7 days organised package holidays to enjoy the sun only. Still, great experience and came back home grtaeful for the fact that I live in west...

3 Thank Pati072
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, UK
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
29 helpful votes
“By boat to Alex”
Reviewed December 1, 2010

We went by the Visemar ferry from Venice to Alex, calling at Tartosa in Syria. Takes 4 days. Working ferrry, clean and comfortable cabins, takes foot passengers as well as vehicles. Has a special prayer room for Moslem passengers.Would be a great trip through the eastern med in fine weather. Ferry actually leaves from the docks at Marghera. Check details on their site, www.visemarline.com. A good proposition for non-fliers and you will meet interesting people on board. But be aware -

Check in is 6 hours, so you may want to stay in Marghera overnight beforehand. The Holiday Inn was fine and close to the docks and the Hotel Roma looked OK also.

Getting out of the docks at Alex was absolute chaos and took nearly 3 hours. Visemar provides coaches from boat to city, but totally disorganised handling of luggage caused ridiculous delays.
Food in the restaurant on the boat is v. expensive - you need to allow 25 euros perday, so you would save alot by taking some supplies. There is a small bar selling tea and coffee. The shop is useless - seems to stock huge packs of Smarties and little else and was rarely open.

Otherwise we highly recommend this way of travelling!

Thank jjblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
376 reviews
334 helpful votes
“Disappointing but wildly contrasting to the rest of Egypt..”
Reviewed November 9, 2010

I had such high hopes for Alexandria. I was expecting a modern, Mediterranean city that was unlike the rest of Egypt - liberal, free, etc. I guess it some ways it was but it really just seemed to be a large, ruined town with an ounce of glitter provided by the Sea.

There are a few things I'd like to note that I appreciated. It was indeed more liberal than most of Egypt - it was great to see women wearing colorful clothing, couples holding hands, etc. The beaches, even close to the centre of town, were nice. And the restaurant culture was appreciated.

But in some ways, this city is just like the rest of the country. Alcohol is hard to find, streets are run down, you are hassled by people walking around.

I suppose I was just expecting a care-free town that enjoyed their scenic location. Instead, it seems they don't take it seriously and once you got away from the Sea border, the town got more run down.

There isn't a lot to do in Alexandria. The incredibly modern library is worth a visit, even though it seems out of place. The catacombs were interesting, but if you've been to others around the world, they are a bit of a let down. The beaches are fun, and the fort on the coast is neat.

It's a shame so much of old Alexandria was destroyed throughout the years. It seems like it would have been a fascinating city. Instead, I think they are a city in limbo, unsure of how to grow.

I'm glad I went, but I probably won't go back. And two days in the city was definitely enough for me.

2 Thank Ryjones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes
“City by the Sea”
Reviewed November 4, 2010

Alexandria, Egypt, a city by the sea where past meets present. Over the past 2 and a half years, I have traveled to Alexandria numerous times and lived there for a year. It is a beautiful city full of amazing architecture, breathtaking views and breezes off the Mediterranean Sea, mouthwatering food ranging from freshly caught seafood to common Egyptian dishes for those wanting to try something new, as well as your common fast food and chain restaurants.
Being married to an Egyptian, I was fully immersed in the culture and lifestyle from the beginning of my stay and trips. I found all the people I ever ran into or dealt with to be extremely welcoming and friendly. You can get around fairly well with little to no knowledge of the Arabic language as most people at least understand a little English or will find someone that can help with translation. Public transportation is a necessity as driving in Egypt requires great skill that I am certain only true Egyptians have and understand..road signs and lanes and common driving practices seem to have little meaning there. Luckily there are many buses, shuttle vans, tram line and taxis to chose from, one just must be careful and learn the art of negotiation as some will try to rip you off.
I worked at an American school there and quite often went out and about by myself or with friends from school. I also stayed by myself frequently while my husband was away and I never once had any problems or felt uncomfortable being by myself at home or out in the streets even at night.
Egypt has an enormous amount of tourist spots to explore and most destinations can be arranged from Alexandria by a local travel agency for very reasonable prices. My advice if you aren't like me and lucky enough to have family members or friends from there is to hire one of the local guides to assist you in your daily or extended adventures as well as a driver. These can both be done relatively cheaply and will save you a lot of headache and frustration as well as some money in the long run.
You can have an amazing trip for little money as the exchange rate is about 5.5 Egyptian pounds to 1 USD.
For many reasons I fell in love with Egypt, specifically with Alexandria and it will always be my second home and keep a place in my heart.

2 Thank Aly01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote
“Tourists scam”
Reviewed October 18, 2010

We were warned about the tourist scams (especially hiring a taxi) in Alexandria before we went there. So, we tried to go by our own as we were told by touisrt information staff that we just needed to walk along the shore for 30 minutes. However, this 30 minutes walk could not lead us to our destination (map was poorly showed the streets), but made us find Alexandria was so disgusting: streets were dirty, smelly, full of grabage, and even dead rats... We finally called for a taxi. As being warned, we tried every step to prevent from being scamed. We made our deal clearly on price, duration, what places included and where to drop us off after the trip. But still, we were fallen into a scam. The taxi driver asked for $25 (Egyptian pounds) parking fees for each place we stopped, said he had already paid for us. He dared to say his was a good driver and asked for tips, we of course refused to tip him. In addition, when we went to a mosque, a local man approached us and guided us where to take photo. We did not pay attention to him but he kept following, and finally, of course, asked for money. We originally planned to stay 2 days in Alexandria (we went by a cruise), but eventually, we spent 2 hours and went back to our ship.

1 Thank ChoiToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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