03 May, 2010

Day 31: - A Panorama of Alexandria

An interesting day aound Alexrandria...

The day started with an almost element of confusion... Let me explain! When we first started booking our shore trips, for Alexandria, there were TWO identicaly worded trips... One though, was 3 hours longer and almost double the price! By the time we decieded that we will simply do the cheaper one, (yes, we are cheapskates!) but the Attractions desk was closed and the booking facility via the TV said bookings had closed. So I searched out the Manager and asked what the difference was and can we get on a trip! He mentioned that the cheap one had sold out, and to see him that evening (this was as we were departing for the Cairo adventure). When we got back some 13 hours later, he was nowhere to be seen, and I left a message with 'Guest Relations'.

The following morning, as I still had heard nothing, I went into the theatre where he was already dspatching groups. Luckily, we were accomodated on the longer (more expensive) trip which included the Roman Ampitheatre and the Museum! So our trip booked, we were now on our way!!

Our first stop was a Museum of local history dating back nearly 5000 years. It had some fascinating artifacts that covered the three eras of rule (Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek and finally Ancient Egyptian).

We then headed to the ancient Roman Amphitheatre. These were found when a building was to be built, but when piling for the foundations discovered the site, it all stopped! There was so much to see here, but the greatest thing was the amphitheatre! At a particular spot, a circular disc in the ground, and facing to the centre of the arcing grandstand, you can hear all of the people clearly that were in the grandstand AND you can actually hear the echo of yourself! However, the really cool part was, that no-one in the amphitheatre apart from you, could hear the echo! FREAKY!!!

Then it was off to the two Palaces and the Palace Gardens. The Gardens had over 20,000 species of plants (when I asked the guide, it was more of 20,000 plants in the collection, rather than 20,000 individual species or taxa!). Over all, these Gardens looked like the rest of Alexandria, rundown, with the distinct exception of the larger Palace; that of the Presidential Palace, which is used more so for visiting dignitaries!

To get up to the Palaces and Gardens, we had to take the road that went along the beach/coastline. In order to stop or slow down erosion, they are doing a lot of remedial works by laying concrete blocks within the breakwater. Also, there were three classes of beaches; Private, Public and a fee paying beach! There was already a ot of people out swimming and enjoying the sun. Apparently, in the busy peak period, one can barely move as it is a paradise for Egyptians!

We also headed for a rather grand restaurant (with a big history in Alexandria. Apparently, many important politicians and documents and treaties have been signed here), the Santa Cruz! We had the Beef in Mushroom Sauce and Jasmine Rice... YUMM!

After lunch, we headed for the ancient Catacombs. This was an old Ancient Roman burial tomb, that was discovered when a donkey fell into it from a 'sinkhole'! It was a circular 'well' that the deceased were lowered into, and a circular staircase (on the outside of the well) for the family of the deceased to walk down. Once at the bottom, the deceased then was carried to the final burial spot via a tunnel from the well. After the body was placed into the coffin of stone hand dug, the family then went into the 'reception room' (remember, we are three floors BELOW the ground) were they told stories of the family member, and then to avoid the bad spirit coming out of the tomb, they smashed all of the plates etc against the inner wall of the tomb and carry it all out and leave it on the ground above...

There is SO much more to report on the day, so I will keep the remaining parts for another day...

We are now back on board, and have a sail day tomorrow before arriving in Sicily.



1 comment:

  1. Wow what a day! Again it is good to have a day off to rest up and catch your breath!


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