Firstly we must say how wonderfully helpful Kevin Dyck was in putting together our visit to Algeria. He put together an agenda that specifically met our needs and sorted out the various issues to ensure that everything went smoothly. As well, he communicated with us regularly at all times and was extremely prompt and reliable in responding to our queries.
Our tour was very complex. It was specifically tailored for the two of us to be accompanied by a guide and if necessary a driver and security personnel. We flew to Algiers from Paris and as luck would have it, Air France was on strike and at the last minute, our flight was changed to Air Algerie. However, Kevin contacted the local company who met us on our arrival and organized for our luggage, which did not make it, to be picked up for us the next day.
All the people who looked after us did a fantastic job. The local representative, Ahcicene, met us at the airport when we first arrived and after that every time we came through Algiers during our travels. Our guide for the Eastern area of Algeria was Azeddine Medjani, who is in the last stages of completing his Ph.D. on Roman Military buildings in Algeria. He is a delightful young man and his deep knowledge of Roman history certainly increased understanding of what we saw. In the M’Zab Valley, our guide Abdellah was a local inhabitant with a passion for the region who made our short visit very special. Our time in the West was with Azedine Aitaba, who was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Algeria. He was a little older than Azeddine and so gave us a perspective on the recent history of the country from a personal position. We were shown around old Algiers by Hammed, a delightful bouncy local who brought life to our visit by seeming to know many people in the streets as we passed by.
The program that had been developed for us was very comprehensive. The history of Algeria from its earliest times to the modern-day was brought alive by visiting many cities and historical sites all over the country from Oran in the West to Constantine in the East and the M’Zab Valley in the Sahara. Each had an individuality and a variety of things to see and do. They were enhanced by visits to many museums, some quite small, some large and world-class. But each with fascinating collections.
We came away from Algeria with new knowledge of this country. Having traveled widely in the Middle East and North Africa (Jordan, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, and Oman) one might expect that we had seen it all, but no, Algeria was indeed different, with its own special features, and well worth our visit.