On to Algeria…..

This was my first trip to Algeria, flying into the city of Algiers. Getting in was tricky, as my company has travel restrictions in place because of the security situation there. I was met at the airport and driven to a compound were I would be staying for the next few days.

On Saturday, I was kindly allowed a driver to do some exploring. It quickly became apparent that the driver was also my security detail, which was a bit disconcerting. Normally, I’d have hopped a taxi and gone for a look around, but my driver wasn’t having any of that. I asked to go to the Casbah and a host of other places, but was met with a frank “Non”. The problem is that crime in the city is high, as is the risk of kidnapping, so I was restricted to easily accessible and public places. This was disappointing, as Algiers intrigued me. It was a heady mix of French Colonial and North Africa and I itched to be let loose to see where my footsteps would take me. I’m sure there are marvellous restaurants and cafes to be discovered, but alas, not by me. Company security was rigid and I was restricted to the compound except for one morning hitting the scenery on the outskirts.

The first stop was at Monument des Martyrs, the memorial celebrating the struggle for independance. From here you can get a fantastic view of the city, but the best spot is cordoned off with a military guard denying access! Frustrating, but c’est la vie.

The big concrete memorial is not to my taste, but it is dominating!

Finally, a tantalizing drive through the city, almost within hailing distance of the Casbah, on to the Notre Dame of Africa. This is a European style (small) cathedral in a city on the North Coast of Africa. Go figure. I didn’t get a chance to go in, but it was good to see the local kids kicking a soccer ball about the grounds.

That was the limit of my visit to Algiers. Security is tight, but one day when things settle down, I’d love to go back and explore.

More to Come…

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