Travel article about some of the more recent aspects of Alexandria's past:
As the old hotel elevator rumbles upward, its antiquarian wood and brass cage carries me backward.
Back to the 1930s when the Cecil Hotel—staring out at an ancient harbor, a busy square and chic European-style patisseries—was the gathering place for aspiring (and already world-famous) writers, for social climbers and for curious foreigners caught up in Egypt's mystique.
Back to a breezy, Mediterranean city on the edge of Africa that once felt like Marseilles and London and Naples and Istanbul, and a mixture of everything from the Middle East thrown into an exotic urban stew.
Back to a decades-old cosmopolitan elegance.
What draws me in 2007 to Alexandria, the heart of which is a tiny isthmus between two harbors, is exactly this: a long-lingering connection to the past with just enough taste of the new.
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