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Alexandria

Our first full day in Alexandria was an adventure. Alexandria was first put on the map when Alexander the Great took over Egypt and moved the capital there.   It lies to the very north of Egypt and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.  It is beautiful, even by Egyptian standards.  Anyway, our first stop was to the Alexandria National Museum.  This was  well put together  compared to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It explained the history of Alexandria and had some really wonderful artifacts.



After we left the museum, things got interesting.  We were trying to find some old Roman ruins, when I noticed large red puddles everywhere we went.  I then noticed some local men wearing rain boots and carrying butcher knives walking down the street.    The boots had blood and flesh on them and the knives were covered in blood.  I then realized I had read something about a Muslim festival (Eid Al Adha) where animals were sacrificed as a remembrance of when God (Allah) asked Abraham to sacrifice his son.  In this festival, sheep and goats are brought out into the street and killed and then eaten.   In Muslim tradition, the blood is not allowed to be in the food (even when cooked) and so the animals must bleed out before they died.  Thank goodness we were at the museum when all that happened!!!!  From what we saw in the aftermath, there were A LOT killed.  We had to constantly watch our step since they don´t clean the mess up right away.  I´m so glad they don´t have anything like that in the US.


The rest of the day was boring compared to that.  We found the Roman ruins, and we went to some catacombs that were interesting, but the festival is what stuck in our minds that day.

The rest of our time in Alexandria was spent relaxing.  I did however,  go to the Library of Alexandria .  The Egyptian government wanted to re- create the old Library of Alexandria, which was the largest library at the time.  Unfortunately, the new one was built the typical Egyptian way, which is to say, not well thought out.  The building itself is very fascinating and it has a fantastic art collection on the bottom floor, which is well worth visiting.    However,  the books were an afterthought.  When I walked out to the library I noticed that most the shelves were empty and the ones that had books had mainly French or English books.   What had happened was the project ran out of money before they thought about getting the actual books, so countries such as France, jumped into donate books.  What books they have now is only a fraction of what the library can hold. What makes this even more laughable is the fact that they charge you to go in to the first place.  What makes a library a LIBRARY is that there are BOOKS to read for FREE.  Like I said before, it has an excellent art collection, so it´s best to think of it as an art museum.

While we were in Alexandria, we also went to a great restaurant called the Fish Market.  They keep a huge selection of fish, crab, etc on ice and you go pick which fish you want and they cook it for you.  We got a ton of food.  It was delicious!!  The restraunt was set on the water and we could look out over the Mediterranean.   It cost us around $20 total and was the nicest place in town.  We went to several restaurants that were really good.

The day we were supposed to leave, we were told we wouldn´t be able to get train tickets, so we had to stay for one more day.  I found us a room at a nice hotel and we headed out.  The streets were packed, mostly with kids.  We must have been a novelty because everyone wanted to talk to us, shake our hands, and have their pictures taken with us.  It was nice at first, but got old after a while.  However, compared to Cairo, it was a wonderfully relaxing experience.

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