Of course the Northern Coast This had grown to be the typical answer whenever I ask friends where they plan to spend the weekend. But, what if you only have a one-day weekend, or don’t feel like driving over 200 km; is there an alternative? Escaping this super crowded capital during the weekend is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury; otherwise sustaining life and your sanity would be questionable.
One possibility is a day in the coastal city of Port Said. It is a relatively a new city as it dates back to 1859 when Said Pasha chose it to house the men forced into the notorious working camps of the Suez Canal.
This is not the only drop of tears on its cheek. Through the ages, Port Said almost came to ruins twice; in both 1967 and later in 1973. Some remaining tokens are on display in a Military Museum on 23rd of July Street (one of the city’s main streets).
With a population barely hitting half a million, Port Said is a calm, peaceful city, especially when compared to the maddening crowds of the bustling capital.
Another important element that contributes to the peacefulness of Port Said is the way people drive. Its original citizens are renowned for their respect for traffic lights. Only in Port Said would you see an Egyptian taxi driver stopping at a red light even when there are literally no cars crossing the junction.
Taking a stroll along the city’s old barrios, especially El Shaheed Mostafa El Noaman Street, pay attention to the architecture around you. To be more specific, have a closer look at the balconies.
Uniquely designed, they are all supported from the outside by wooden lodges that go from one floor to the next; a distinctive architecture that I have seen only in Port Said. Whenever you get tired of walking stop at any seafood restaurant and indulge in a good meal of freshly caught fish; it is a lunch you don’t want to miss.
Although Port Said’s heydays as a source for cheaper imported products is long gone, it can still make a good alternative for your weekend getaway.