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One Day Visit to Alexandria

My husband Mitch and I are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary with a cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our ship will be docked in Alexandria for one day only, Thursday 05 November, from 7:00am (07.00) until 10:00pm (22.00). I am hoping that the Alexandria Community can help guide us during our brief visit with advice and tips about things to do and see while we're there.

Mitch and I would prefer to see Alexandria on our own rather than take a group tour arranged by the ship. We want to visit the Library and spend some time there looking through the collections. I'd also like to see the ruins of Cleopatra's palace, if possible. Other than that, we know very little about Alexandria and what we might do during our time there.

My first questions concern whether it's a good idea for a middle-aged American couple to wander around the streets of Alexandria on our own. Will we be safe? Are there places/people/shops we should avoid? Is there anything other than the usual travel precautions we should stay aware of?

Assuming it is safe for us to explore Alexandria on our own, we will need to take taxis from the port to places we want to see. English is our only language: Do many taxi drivers speak English? Will we be able to find taxis available at the port, the Library, etc.? What is the local custom regarding tipping taxi drivers? As an alternative, does anyone know of a private transportation company I can contact via the internet to arrange for an English-speaking driver for the day?

I would love to hear suggestions for things to see, places to shop (including local bazaars and street markets), good restaurants for lunch and/or dinner (including local customs about tipping food servers), and how we might make the best of our brief time in your city. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your response,
San Francisco, California InterNations Community