I have just returned from my annual leave and I was lucky enough to travel to Alexandria in Egypt. Mamdouh is from Alexandria and we had planned this back in January, but because of everything going on with COVID, we didn’t think it would be possible to travel. Fortunately, the restrictions to travel here in the UAE were lifted which meant we got the all clear!
Dubai to Cairo
We travelled from Dubai to Cairo on the day before Eid al-Adha so the flight was very busy – we just about got accepted as we were on standby! The flight over to Cairo took just over 3 hours.
Visiting Egypt has always been on my list, and even more so after meeting Mamdouh. Mamdouh is from Alexandria, but the flights from Dubai to Alexandria were triple the price so we decided to fly with Emirates to Cairo. I would have loved to visit the Pyramids, but on this trip we decided to just stay in Alexandria and spend as much time with his family as possible. It was my first time meeting his family so I was really excited!
Cairo to Alexandria
The drive from Cairo to Alexandria took around 3 hours and it was mostly a flat Desert road. Because it was Eid, there was so much going on – I found it so fascinating! Every other truck had at least 3 full size cows and sheep in the back. One of the most important Eid al-Adha traditions is to sacrifice a cow/sheep. Families will split the meat between them and then give any left overs to the poor.
We arrived in Alexandria around 2pm and made our way to Mamdouh’s house in a neighbourhood called Moharem Bek. We spent the next few hours settling in and for me, meeting all the family! Later that evening, we went to a place called Designia Mall where they have a really popular outdoor coffee shop called Ted’s. We sat there for a few hours with a juice, but was feeling pretty tired around 9pm as we had been travelling all day so we made our way back home!
The next morning, we had a beautiful breakfast spread prepared for us by Mamdouh’s mum which was such a lovely way to start the day. Later on in the day, we went to Gleem Bay which was along the seafront. The weather in Alexandria was absolutely perfect, so sitting outside by the sea was just amazing. The last few months in Dubai have been unbearable due to the hot and humid weather, so it felt incredible to breathe in fresh air and to feel nice and cool.
We sat at one of the cafes and ordered some coffee, juice and a dessert each.
We walked along the seafront and then spent the rest of the afternoon visiting Mamdouh’s other family members, including his brand new niece who was just 2 weeks old! I loved walking around Alexandria and watching the locals go about their daily lives. Alexandria is one of the oldest cities in the world, with so much ancient history.
The North Coast
The next morning, we drove 1 hour from Alexandria to the North Coast. The North Coast is a seaside resort town which lies along the Mediterranean Sea. There are several different resorts – we went to Marina 4 and spent the day at Waves Pool and Beach Club. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was amazed at how beautiful the beach was. I have been to some incredible beaches in Mexico, Thailand and Mauritius, but I honestly think this beach was the best beach I have been to! The sand was pure white and the sea was crystal clear without any seaweed in sight. It was truly stunning.
We spent the whole day swimming and relaxing by the beach. There was such a nice atmosphere and it was really busy with families all celebrating Eid. We stayed until sunset and then used the shower facilities to get changed. I was so impressed with the beach! We had such an amazing day, I would love to come back here another time and stay for a few days.
Later on in the evening, we went to a beautiful fish restaurant by the Marina – We had fresh fish, prawns, seafood soup, rice and salad and all of us said it was the best meal we’d ever eaten! It was the perfect way to end such a great day!
The next day was my final day in Egypt so we stayed around Alexandria. In the morning, we went to Smouha Club which is a members-only exclusive sports club and park which also has lots of coffee shops and restaurants. We stayed there for a while, then later on in the afternoon, we went wedding ring shopping for Mamdouh! In Egypt, the tradition is for the man to also wear an engagement ring! The engagement ring should be worn on the right hand, and then moved over to the left hand once married. Mamdouh’s brother took us to a few different jewellery shops, and there we bought Mamdouh’s ring – a plain silver band with my name and engagement date engraved inside.
In the evening, Mamdouh’s mum prepared us another lovely dinner made up of lamb, pasta, soup and lots of salad and bread. She is the best cook and every day, we were treated to such delicious, home made food.
Another interesting thing about Alexandria is a lot of the apartment blocks do not have a lift/elevator, so they use a small basket to send things to and from their balcony. I found this so funny and impressive, so of course I had to try it out for myself on the last day! Mamdouh’s friend bought me a beautiful gift and sent it up in the basket – a stunning necklace with a Nefertiti pendant, the Egyptian Queen.
I travelled back from Cairo again, whilst Mamdouh spent a couple more days in Alexandria with his family. I had the most incredible time in Egypt and absolutely LOVED Alexandria. It blew all my expectations out of the water! I would love to make this a regular thing and visit Egypt every year or so! The next trip will definitely be to see the Pyramids!
Thanks for reading.