Over the past month, I’ve been working in Egypt. This trip to Africa officially counts toward my personal continent checklist; I now only need to go to Antarctica to reach my goal of visiting every continent on Earth. Perhaps one day I’ll get there but until then I’ll just keep enjoying being wherever I am.
I arrived to Egypt in the city of Alexandria which is on the northern coast of Egypt. To my great joy, the weather here is not what I was expecting. This time of year during the day it stays in the low 90’s Fahrenheit and falls to the low 70’s by the evening. While the humidity can get a little high, a regular breeze coming from the Mediterranean provides wafts of cool air throughout the day which helps make you feel not quiet so sticky. A bit of shade goes a long way in making the outdoors very pleasant. In fact as I’m typing this I’ve chosen to sit outside instead of my air-conditioned room.
This trip to Egypt has been the furthest thing from a vacation but I have managed to get out a few times with my camera. This is my therapy to recover from all the stress of work. It’s amazing what a few hours of photography can do to relieve the brain of the seemingly relentless barrage of work activity associated with starting up a new region. When my eye is glued to a viewfinder, I can’t think about anything but what’s in front of my lens. Without that relief every now and then, I don’t think I could continue doing this kind of work.
Two weeks after arriving in Alexandria, I finally had an opportunity to get out to do some exploring. A couple buddies and I took a taxi over to the Citadel of Qaitbay. This fort, built in the late 1400’s, has undergone several restorations and in its current condition is fully accessible to the public.
The interior of the Citadel was very neat to walk around. Numerous port holes and open towers provide ample light and ventilation.
Through a large portal, a nice view of the harbor’s jetty can be seen. That’s Alexandria off in the distance.
The restoration work that’s been done over the years has been handled with great care as it was difficult to identify anything that appeared to be new construction.
Some of the rooms in the Citadel had very ornate tile work on the floors. I couldn’t tell if this was all original or not.
While my friend was looking out one of the portals, I grabbed this shot.
Stairs offer access to the ramparts from which a wider view of the city and its harbor can be seen.
After about an hour of walking around, we’d seen most of the Citadel. Crowds of people were starting to pour in, making it increasingly difficult to get around inside.
What’s a local attraction without street vendors? For sale were seashells, statues, ornaments, idols, ashtrays, key chains, dried fish, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses and refrigerator magnets.
Next, we hired a horse-drawn carriage to take us from the Citadel over to the busy downtown area. The 45 minute ride was well worth it, offering unobstructed views and a slower pace which gave more time to let all the scenery soak in.
Left-to-right: Me, James, and Grant
The following shots are from around the downtown seafront area.
Even the smallest patch of shade makes a huge difference to your comfort when the sun is out high and bright.
The Great Sphinx of Alexandria… at least he thought so. I couldn’t solve his riddle so I just walked away.
Once King Farouk’s Palace, it is now the Presidential Palace.
This palace at the edge of the Mediterranean is surrounded by gardens which have been opened to the public. In the shade found under the large palm trees of the garden, friends and families could be seen eating picnic lunches . It seemed like a popular place the local people go to relax over the weekend.
A shot of the downtown corniche (waterfront), taken from the open terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel.
That’s all for now. I’ve got two more folders of images to go through for an upcoming post on a trip to Cairo and some nighttime exploration of Old Cairo. I hope you’ll check back soon!