TRAVEL THERE: DELICES PASTISSERIE
After our five mile stroll from the Four Seasons to The Cecil, Mr. Bill was ready to get to our room and take a nap. He suggested we forego whatever surprise I had in store, but I urged him to hang with me just a few minutes more.
Delighting Alex since 1922
Our balcony at The Cecil gave us a jaw dropping view of the Mediterranean Sea, but it also overlooked a lovely little park that filled the block next to the hotel. In one of my visits to the balcony I’d spied people sitting along the sidewalk on the south side of the park, chatting over coffee and pastries. Delices didn’t mean anything to me, but since they’d been around since 1922, I thought they must be doing something right.
With the front door to the hotel just steps away, I led Bill to my discovery and was he ever happy. The pastry store fronts two different streets and inside is case after case after case of amazing looking pastries. Bill’s desire for his nap disappeared completely as he wandered from case to case trying to decide which treat he would indulge in. After narrowing it down to a few favorites, Bill gave me the final choice for something to share. I chose the the chocolate treat above, of course.
We took our treasure back to the hotel to enjoy and then Bill promptly went down for a nap. I don’t do naps very well, so I used the time the way I usually did – updating my travel journal, catching up on social media (when there is wi-fi), doing a few crossword puzzles and reading.
It had been a long day for Mr. Bill. Museums always tire him and the Bibliotheca Alexandrine had been a humdinger. We’d had our stressful moments with the rogue hantoor driver and that wild taxi ride. Then we’d walked five miles. Quite a day! Even though I don’t usually manage to take a nap, this time I eventually dozed off to sleep.
Late Night Stroll
When we woke up, we both wanted a little something to eat, but not a full meal. Bill wanted ice cream and I reminded him Delices had ice cream. We were out of that room in a flash!
I had on a snakeskin printed lounging set I’d gotten from my Aunt Edie. It’s perfectly acceptable for wearing out in public, even though that’s not something I usually do. I’ll wear it down to breakfast or perhaps put it on when I know we’re going to spend most of the day in the car on a long drive, but it’s not my go-to outfit for a stroll around a big city like Alexandria – especially when a peek outside tells me there are more people out and about than there had been during the day. I suggested I change clothes, but Bill insisted that all we were going to do was pop over to the pastry store. I slid into a pair of canvas espadrilles and threw a windbreaker over my outfit.
Yes, we went right over to Delices. Both of us got some ice cream. Even though that’s not my usual snack, an ice cream cone sounded fun for our late night adventure. However, we did not immediately head back to the room.
Bill led me off down a side street full of action. All the stores were open and the sidewalks were lined with pop-up vendors. You could buy anything from toilet paper to an engagement ring along the street. Crowds of natives wove between the stalls and the stores, laughing, talking and occasionally making a purchase.
I’d had a moment’s hesitation when Bill veered into the side street. It was late. I wasn’t dressed right. I didn’t know if it was safe. I could have made all kinds of excuses to scurry back to the hotel, but I’m glad we didn’t. We got a look at the real Alex without any tourists (besides ourselves) in sight.
Water is a constant challenge in Egypt. There’s the need to stay hydrated in the desert sun and heat, but you can’t drink anything out of the tap. To meet this challenge every other store sells bottled water and on every block there’s a rickety wooden stand staffed by a burka-ed grandmother. We opted for the grandmother every time that we could. On our way back to the hotel we visited the grandmother we’d chosen to be our vendor in Alex. We also bought a Coke Zero from her so we could enjoy a little of my nephew’s bourbon.
A sweet ending to an exciting day. I’ll leave you with one final photo. More museums are in store for next week. Come back and visit me then.