Adventitious Algeria

After my little venture away I was back to work and ready to go and tick off country number 55! It was a morning departure out of Dubai at 8am with 7 and a half hours over to Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers.

Landing just after lunchtime, we checked into our hotel and 7 of us arranged to meet downstairs and take a tour of the city! It was a beautiful day which I could see from the lovely view from my room. It was a nice 11 degrees so it wasn’t scorching but it wasn’t too chilly and with the sun shining down we headed in the direction of Martyrs Memorial.

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A room with a view!

Martyrs Memorial “is an iconic concrete monument commemorating the Algerian war for independence. The monument was opened in 1982 on the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. It is fashioned in the shape of three standing palm leaves which shelter the “Eternal Flame” beneath. At the edge of each palm leaf stands a statue of a soldier, each representing a stage of Algeria’s struggle”.

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Following on from here we went to the main square. What we didn’t realise was that it was a lunar new year and huge celebrations were going on in the streets. With lots of road closures, we were dropped off as close as possible and immersed ourselves in the celebrations.

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The city is so pretty, it’s old and new combined. It’s not quite perfect, and you can see that Algiers is a bit rugged around the edges. But I feel that added to it’s hidden charms and character and I loved just wandering in and out of the quaint streets and watching everything that was going on.

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There was fencing in the street, chess competitions, people singing and dancing, music playing, women on stilts. There was so much to see and do here and I loved that I just happened to be here for these celebrations!

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With my light hair and blue eyes and as I’m tall for a girl, we started to get a little hounded with people taking pictures and asking to take selfies with me. I even had one guy get down on one knee and ask for my hand in marriage, I felt like a bit of a celebrity there! We even had people following us back to the cars. It was all very odd!

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Our final stop of the day was to the Notre Dame d’Afrique and the sun was beginning to set turning the sky into the most beautiful candy floss colours.

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“Located on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Algiers in Algeria’s capital city, the Notre Dame d’Afrique is a 19th century Roman Catholic Church. As the basilica of Algiers, the Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) was designed by Jean Eugene Fromageau, the chief architect for ecclesiastical buildings during French colonial rule. It took fourteen years to complete the basilica and it was inaugurated in 1872”.

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It seemed the cathedral was closed as we wandered around the outside taking in the beautiful views. But after one of the crew tried to open the door, a little head popped out to say they were closed, took one glance at us all and said “Emirates?”. It seems we can be spotted a mile off! And he agreed to let us quickly view the inside for 5 minutes despite being closed for everyone else!

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The inside of the church was small but beautiful, and it must be so nice to come to your place of worship in such a picturesque setting!

Before long, we thanked them for their hospitality and made our way back to the hotel via a fruit market and had some dinner before calling it a night.

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I had such a fun layover, it was great to have unexpectedly been there during such big celebrations. It made out for a really fab trip.

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