Welcome to my next trip report, a recount of my recent journey to exotic Algeria. Algeria was one of the most difficult countries I have ever traveled to, but looking back was a superb trip.
Exotic Algeria Trip Report
The first challenge was securing a visa, which I will discuss in my next post. I traveled to New York to apply in person at the Algerian consulate (Algeria has a consulate in New York and its embassy in Washington, DC and California is assigned to New York). That was cumbersome (it took two in-person trips…) but that paled in comparison to the main challenge I faced once in Algiers.
I was in Germany prior to my trip and spent some time there before traveling to Algiers in Lufthansa economy class, a flight I will not review because there was no service onboard and I slept through it anyway.
Once on the ground, the challenge began. Algeria is a well-developed country in Northern Africa with excellent infrastructure (including a metro system) and a handful of nice hotels. Even so, the country is far more closed off than its neighbors in Tunisia and Morocco. Visas must be arranged in advance and the country was closed off for the first half of the pandemic.
I really struggled with the language barrier. I speak English and German. Most in Algeria speak Arabic and French. Even at the Hyatt Regency, where I spent my two nights, there was a real struggle in communicating with many of the staff members.
I call Algeria “exotic” because from my western perspective it was quite exotic (different, unusual), though in a good way. On my second day, I found a wonderful driver named Hecham who had a strong command of English. We had a great day driving around and I will share his contact information in case you find yourself in need of a driver and English speaker while in Algeria.
Sadly, I did not have time to go beyond Algiers. Were I to return to Algeria (and I hope to), I would visit the St Augustin Basilica in Annaba. Saint Augustine of Hippo lived and ministered in present-day Algeria and it would have been interesting to retrace his path.
Here’s what the trip report will look like:
- How To Obtain A Visa To Algeria
- My Arrival Into Algiers (ALG)
- Great Coffee In Algiers, Algeria
- A Remarkable 24 Hours In Algiers, Algeria
- Hyatt Regency Algeria
- Air Algérie Lounge Algiers (ALG)
- Air Algérie A330-200 Business Class ALG-DOH
- Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge (DOH)
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class DOH-JFK
- American Airlines A321T Economy Class JFK-LAX
- AA Flagship Lounge Los Angeles (LAX)
The one-way Algiers – Doha ticket was $601 in business class and I purchased it on Priceline. My American Airlines ticket from Doha – New York – Los Angeles was $1079. I upgraded the Doha – New York segment to business class for 25,000 AA miles plus a $350 co-pay (I was so sad that my SWU upgrades expired a couple of months ago…). Sadly, with only Gold status on AA, my upgrade from JFK-LAX did not clear.
image: Memorial du Martyr in Algiers (taken by me)