Panorama of the Week: Street Market in Old Alexandria, Egypt

When time is limited, you have to make tough decisions. In Alexandria, Egypt, I decided to hit the streets of its old town rather than going deep into the ancient catacombs. I was looking for interaction, for life on the streets.

And rather than heading down the main street, I found the loneliest alleyway to take me in a different direction. I ended up in a vein of street markets that wasn’t so lonely after all.

A lot of chatter, even more movement. Catching a moment for this shot where time seemed to slow down and space seemed to open, I found an intersection of overflowing vegetable stands, vendors barking out the latest prices, buyers working for the best deals. I was given bread and fruit, dragged into bakeries to learn the pita making process. Market-goers almost lined up to pose for photos. They were excited to have visitors and even more surprising, they were excited to learn that I was American.

I couldn’t have planned a more perfect travel hour. My only wish was that I had more time.

360-Degree Panorama: Bustling Street Market in Old Alexandria

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  1. says

    My wife and I had a similar experience in Alexandria. We were heading towards some sites after getting off the train from Cairo. We weren’t sure which direction to go and decided to wander a bit. We started seeing people with crude looking wooden cages, some had pigeons inside… We came across a bunch of different, busy markets. Many were selling animals and the vendors were taking them out to show us and take pictures with.
    We were greeted so warmly and the locals were excited to hear we were American! It was a really great, unplanned experience.

  2. says

    @Michael: Great story. I can see it all. Alexandria is a terrific city. I imagine there are many veins of street markets and life.

    What I love most about your vignette is how warmly you were greeted by locals, and how when they found out you were American, how excited they were. Amazing, isn’t it?

    @Anthony: Thanks. Yes! If real people are what you want, you gotta’ go to the real places. We were definitely grateful to get away from the traffic, too!

    @Drina: Thanks. That’s the idea. A little difficult to take when so many people are about, but hopefully we caught it all.

  3. says

    Thanks Daniel! I am glad that you liked my story. Reading your panorama made me immediately think of the day my wife and I spent in Alexandria. The unplanned market experience was just about as good as any site we saw during the trip!

    I am thinking of making this story into a post on my blog in the future!

  4. Alicia Roberts Frank says

    reminds me a lot of Morocco — you guys need to get there some day!
    and I’m so glad to know you and have you to live vicariously through! (as I work on tenure-review files, syllabi, papers, diapers, teething & potty-training!)

  5. says

    beautiful Panorama. These kind of markets are seen in places like Middle East. They look very traditional and beautiful. I think they call it “Sawk” in Arabic Language. Thanks for sharing.

  6. says

    @Alicia: I can imagine that this would remind you of Morocco – hope it brought back some good memories from your time living there! And yes, we do need to get there some day – keeps coming up in conversation :)

    So glad you are enjoying following along in our travels – really appreciate the support!

    @Azeem: The countries in the Middle East have wonderful markets and a strong market culture. They are beautiful and full of energy.

  7. says

    @Erica: Being in two places at once, the travel storyteller’s dream!

    @Stella: Glad you liked the panorama. Alexandria, Egypt was interesting and I imagine especially so for someone from Greece, given the city’s history.

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