Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

Egypt part II: Cairo and Alexandria

Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve gotten a little preoccupied with other things (getting a bike, applying to grad school and the peace corps) but more on those later….

So day two in Cairo: Jessie and I get up and ride the metro to Coptic Cairo. The Copts are Egyptian Christians, and the Coptic area is rumored to have been visited by the Holy Family.

hanging church

hanging church

We first went to the Hanging Church which appears to be grounded at first glance but due to some sort of architectural magic it’s suspended over a passage. It was, of course, beautifully and intricately decorated, complete with ivory fillings in wooden carvings. From there we walk around the rest of the area which includes more churches and even a synagogue, which was apparently right near the spot where Moses was found in the reeds.

We ride the metro back to downtown and walk around for a bit. I should mention the metro experience- they have separate cars for men and women, and Jessie told me that’s a good thing; we want to be in the women’s car. It gets so crowded in the mens car with people pressed up against each other whereas the women’s car has much more space (due to less women riding the metro than men). We stop for lunch and get koshari, a traditional Egyptian food. It’s really cheap, but really filling due to the fact that it’s mostly carbs. I think it was a combination of pasta, rice, lentils, onions, and chickpeas with a garlic and hot sauce. SO good. Then we (thankfully) proceeded to walk around for a few hours to burn off our bajillion carbs.

It turns out to be one of Jessie’s roommates birthdays, so we all go out for the night to celebrate. We start off by chartering a felucca on the Nile. A felucca is basically a big Egyptian sailboat. The view was amazing, the weather was warm, and I was riding a boat on the Nile at night. Can’t complain.

birthday group

We all went out to a club afterwards and continued to celebrate probably a little too late into the night. 3 hours later we’re up and rushing off to the train station with a friend of Jessie’s, hoping we don’t miss our train to Alexandria. We make it there fine and pass out the entire duration of the 2.5 hour trip.

Alexandria is absolutely beautiful. I liked Cairo a lot, but I could see myself living in Alexandria. Right on the water, not as big/crowded as Cairo, great library (obviously a plus for Jessie also). First things first, we get lost trying to find the Roman ruins but wander through a great market nonetheless. Find our way to the Roman ruins, including the Roman Theater, and some of the areas were roped off since there’s still excavation going on. After a confusing cab ride, we arrive at the greatest juice place ever. It’s called “King of Mango” and if anyone is ever in Alexandria I insist you go.


From there we walk to a restaurant for lunch which provides another miraculously delicious meal. We selected fresh seabass and crayfish (I think? Not a seafood expert), sit down, and are provided with an array of appetizers- Egyptian bread and a few hummus-like dips. They bring out the seafood and it’s amazing. We didn’t order anything special, just picked the food, and they chose how to cook it for us, complete with spices. After lunch, we walk along el corniche (the waterfront) to the library.

library from the outside

The library of Alexandria is a marvel for both its architecture and its content. It’s second in the world only to the US Library of Congress, and it used to be the biggest/most significant library of the ancient world, before it was destroyed. For anyone who knows Jessie well, you’ll know she loves libraries (especially Bapst) so this was fun for her too. Although, she did say she doesn’t know how much studying she could do there, since there’s tourists coming in and out all the time and taking pictures.

We stop for some tea/coffee then make our way back to the train station. Since it’s my last night, Jessie and I go out to a really nice restaurant for dinner. She lives in a section of Cairo called Zamalek, which is an island in the Nile. The restaurant was on the tip of the island, so it’s surrounded by water on three sides.

library from the inside

It’s decorated beautifully with billowing white sheets and candles and of course, the food is wonderful. (sushi for Jessie, kabobs for me). Fall break was definitely a success and I’m so glad I not only got to experience Cairo and Egypt but see and spend time with one of my really good friends.

Since I’ve been back, nothing too exciting has been going on but it’s starting to pick up. The Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is under construction and opens any day now which I am so excited for! I’m also hoping to get to Nuremberg for a day to see the big one there. Teaching has been going well, the 11th grade is getting into units on America so for the next few weeks I get to explain the voting process, electoral college (ugh) and civil rights. Any suggestions?

I’ve also gotten a bike- one of the teacher’s from the school has loaned it to me for the year- which makes getting into town much quicker (although about equal for the way back home since it’s an uphill ride). Lacrosse continues to go well, I’m scheduling a meeting with the head of University Sport next week to see if we can get our own practice times. We had a “team evening” yesterday with the boys team, and it was fun to get to know everyone/see them in clothes other than workout gear. We’ve got practice tonight, then it’s officially the weekend!



November 19, 2010 Posted by | Germany, Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments