Algeria is an incredible country with beautiful nature, yummy food and hospitable people, yet not popular among tourists.
And why is that? The answer is simple: the country doesn’t need tourists as it’s rich in natural resources like oil and gas, so tourism is a secondary matter. Although Algeria is not a tourist friendly place, it has a lot to offer. I was lucky to spend one day in this country and I enjoyed my time there.
An important thing to remember is that in Algeria people speak Arabic and French so don’t depend on English as you might not successfully communicate with locals in this, unfamiliar for them, language.
In the ideal situation, you make friends with local people who show you around. Communication is one thing but another one is that the country is highly corrupted and people not used to tourists. It’s good to be accompanied by someone who knows the way around. Keep in your mind that Algerians are friendly but also a bit mistrustful towards strangers.
During this short visit, we took a tour from Algiers (the capital) to Roman Ruins of Tipaza (used to be known as Tipisa when it was an important town of the African Roman Empire).
Tipaza is located on the Mediterranean shore and is famous for the complex of Roman Ruins which have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient ruins, numerous buildings including theater and structures, remainings after the great Roman Empire that cover the coastal hills.
The ride was longer than expected (which supposed to be about one hour) but definitely worth it. We left the hotel, from where we had been picked up by a tour guide, in the afternoon and wanted to reach the ruins before sunset. The traffic was bad but we made it. As soon as we arrived in Tipaza, before exploring the complex of ancient ruins we decided to grab some snacks – a decision that we regretted afterward.
Algerian sandwiches are stuffed with meat, veggies and – a huge surprise, french fries and served with very spicy chili pepper paste called harissa. They were worth every calorie! So why did we regret stopping by? Only because we almost lost our chance to enter the ruins!
When we reached the gate to the complex a man closed the door and locked it. It was just a few minutes to 5 pm but during wintertime, they close at 5 pm (keep it in mind if you’re planning your trip). We tried to talk to them without a good result. Our tour guide didn’t stress out about that tough. He said that he’s going to talk to a boss of those two guys guarding the gate, and he left. Meanwhile, we tried to figure out how to sneak in.
We weren’t the only ones who “kissed a door handle” (a literal translation from polish, the idiom means to come somewhere and find the door closed, attempt to visit someone but the one isn’t home… You get it, right? A little bonus, y’all. 😉 You’re welcome!). People gathered in front of the entrance but after unsuccessful attempts, many of them gave up and left.
After several minutes our tour guide came back with good news. He assured us that we will enter the ancient Roman Ruins, just have to patiently wait what we did. Finally, “doormen” waved at us slightly opening the gate. We went in!
This is how gorgeous it was…