Algeria - No dust, no rust

The shrine of the martyr

Why on earth did I expect that Africa's Algiers will be one of the most deserted and hopeless places on earth? It is almost the opposite and like a small harbor city in France or another well-maintained city somewhere else in southern Europe.

Algeria is a huge country, even the biggest in whole Africa. But as the capital Algiers is on the top and therefore very close to Europe, it isn't that far to travel there from central Europe. During an extended weekend in August, I went there to visit Algeria and afterward Tunisia.

July 28 - Arriving

It was the early morning flight from Barcelona that brought me here to Algiers, the capital in Algeria.

Not much dust. Actually clean
Lots of coffee shopsThey see directly to the shrineApartment Block in the very center

No problem with immigration, but these impediments I already had before coming here as I needed a visa in advance. Very few nationalities do get a visa on arrival and as I'm not a Lybian or a Moroccan, I had no luck in this.

Two weeks before departure I incidentally found out that I need a visa before arrival and that caused a bit of a hassle. Didn't expect that the visa will arrive before I fly here and believed I need to cancel my trip. But sometimes you win and other times you lose, this time I won.

Money exchange hassles!

The airport is of modern standards, has many comfortable coffee shops. Only the money exchange is a pain.

There are two of them and one is closed. So even when a few people want to exchange foreign money to Algerian Dinar, it can become a tiring daunting procedure when a few Algerians want to exchange Algerian Dinars into foreign currency. By default, only Algerians are allowed to exchange Dinar into foreign currency and when that happens, it's going to start a paper war with easily a few minutes per customer.

I intended to take the 20-minute ride from the airport to the city center with the bus, but as the bus run of right in front of me I took the 5 euro taxi, which I paid in euro and was no problem.

I like countries with not too much tourism cause "Not much tourism = friendly human-behaving fair taxi drivers".

Map of Algiers:
Tourist map with things to see

July 28 - Modern metro brings me around old monuments

I did have plenty of time to explore the most popular places in Algiers. But there are much more than I didn't know that they even exist. Huge spectacular architectural artifacts can be found, but I simply didn't know, even I did research and put all them on my offline map.

Close to the harbor of Algier
Cathedrale du Sacre CoeurIts like in franceClean street of Algier

The drive with the taxi showed me that the internet is not comprehensive when it comes to information about things to see Algiers. When looking up things to see in Algiers, then there do show up some things, but far from all that is available in reality.

Only news about war, conflict, refugees and stuff like that show up on the internet. All other things have to be grabbed out from google search results on page number 20 and onwards.

Pleasant walking around the city center

From the city center walking towards the north is pleasant. How come no one attacked me or that I didn't get kidnapped, as the internet was telling me that it might happen?

In the street of Didouche Mourat

The tunnel des facultes in front of the university

Huge building

The streets look highly influenced by French culture, the buildings look like somewhere in downtown Paris and not what I might expect from "Algeria", with dusty rusty buildings everywhere - as the internet told me. There is of course sand around, but its kept clean as best as possible under their circumstances.

Nice statue at the walking street with coffee shops in Algiers
Lead up to the living areas of AlgiersAt the end of Algiers shopping streetIn the middle of the center

The stroll through the Algiers center and to the "grand poste" with its many coffee shops, is actually nice. Towards the port along the boulevard to watch fishing boats coming back for unloading and cleaning up. Actually nice too!

Huge building and one of the most famous history buildings

The area around the harbor.
Nice harbor that can be overlooked from the mainstreet
Its highly influenced architecture from franceBringing back the catchSmall fishing boats all over the harbor

The north with this lighthouse or castle. I didn't find out what it is.
In the north of algiers this museum can be foundNext to the lighthouse in north of algerAlgeria is good in football

I thought I will have to spend a fortune on mean taxi drivers, but I didn't even have to think about taking a taxi as there is a modern metro of which many European countries can cut of a slice when it comes to cleanness and air-conditioning in summer. Especially air condition circumstances. How can a third world African country with easily 40 degrees in summer have better-airconditioned metros or trains than a first world European country with a 25-degree summer?

Easy Food

When it comes to food, Algier is easy too! There are those chicken booths every 20 meters and they serve a delicious big portion of BBQ chicken with pasta for a two euro coin! This is fast food in Algiers and in addition to the modern Metro, also with the term of Fast food, many European cities can take a look on Algiers fast food on how to do it properly, with big portions and freshly baked bread, pasta and chicken.

The Ketchaoua Mosque.
Next to the place of martyrs

In front of the mosque the "place de martyrs".
Nice clean area right next to the ketchaoua mosque

There is even a cable car

So yes the metro is great in Algiers, fast, cool, easy, cheap. And it brings me right in front of the places I want to see. Like the Shrine of Martyrs, which can be accessed with a cable car up to the hill where the shrine stands and which offers a magnificent view over the Mediterranean sea and all over Algiers.

From up there is a great view over the whole of Algiers as well over the Botanical Garden right down the road.

Brings me up to the viewpoint to overlook whole algier
From the top its possible to see inside the gardenAll visible from the top of the cable carBut from up there its possible to see whole algier

The shrine itself is outstanding as well. A huge tower overlooking the whole Algiers: it was a pleasure to rest there in one of the coffee shops and watch the tower with chocolate ice cream and a coffee. The windy breeze up there did its best to keep the heat off, really nice!

Huge area to sit and rest with coffee
Huge tower with possibilities to sit and relaxNo entry under the shrine of martyrsAccess restricted. Soldiers whistle when trying to walk through.History of algierHuge place in front of the shrine

July 29 - Departure to Tunisia

Again, I expected huge hassle and bargain sessions with taxi drivers here. But... on my suggestion of "4 Euro" and the Taxi drivers counter "8 Euro", my answer "5 Euro", the session was already finished and 20 minutes later I was in the airport. So easy and painless.

It's not possible to exchange back money in Algeria. Exchanging Algerian Dinar to anything else is prohibited by law. No bank is doing it. But, there is the black market and they do it. However, it's better to get rid of Algerian Dinar in Algeria with a 25 percent loss instead of taking the Algerian Dinar out of the country (which is also prohibited) and then have no usage of the currency at all and have a 100 % loss. As I do not go back to Algeria in the foreseen future, I went for the first option and exchanged it for some Euro with a boutique owner in the airport for the black market price.

Plane departure to Tunisia was right on time and only is about 1-hour flight.

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