Country #92 - Algeria

Day 1 - The Marseille Pit Stop

Before heading to my first stop in Africa, Algeria, I would have to go through Marseille, France. It definitely makes sense that I need to fly through France as Algeria was colonized by the French for 132 years. As a result, French is very common in Algeria and there are many flights to this day to and from France. I had another early morning as my first flight of the day was at 8am and I had to take the bus about an hour from Pergola Hotel to the Malta Airport. I took advantage of my new Priority Pass membership and grabbed breakfast in the really nice Malta Airport lounge.

My flight to Marseille was about two hours, and I was greeted with quite a shock upon arrival. I was going through immigration? I’ve never had this happen before, but apparently you can have to go through immigration when going from one Schengen country to another when the country deems it important to their national security. Given the problems France has been having the past few years I guess that is why. It would have been fine if the line hadn’t taken almost two hours. All of my time that I was going to spend walking around Marseille was spent in this line that normally is not a thing, so it wasn’t a great start to the day.

Things got worse when, after taking the free shuttle bus to the nearby train station that goes into Marseille, the lady at the station told me that I would be better off going to the airport and taking the shuttle from there to the city as the next train was so delayed that it was not even going to be there for another hour and a half. So I took the shuttle back to the airport, took a bus into the city, and almost three and a half hours after landing I was finally in the city of Marseille. At this point I would have just stayed at the airport because I didn’t have enough time to see much of anything but I had another task: I needed to mail a package home.

A few days into this trip I realized that I had over packed. I had everything that I needed but it was increasingly difficult to close my suitcase and it was so heavy that it was becoming problematic. So after lots of research I found that France would be the easiest point along my trip to mail a package home, and also the cheapest and most reliable. It would also help me to avoid any issues of potentially having to pay for an overweight bag during the remainder of my trip. There was a post office (La Poste in France) about five minutes from the main station so I headed that way bags in tow.

The post office employees did not speak great English but we were able to communicate enough to figure out what I was asking for, and without much discussion at all I was given the box that is used to mail to the US. It’s a flat rate box so it didn’t matter how much I put in, it would be about 50 Euro. This was a lot but worth it considering how much I had been struggling with my suitcase the past few days. I filled the box to the brim and still had a full suitcase so it was definitely a worthwhile endeavor into the city. I was at least able to see a tiny bit of Marseille as well which was nice, but I had anticipated having much more time so it was still a bit of a bummer.

I headed back to the station and then back to the airport where I sat in the lounge for about an hour before boarding my flight. I was officially headed to Africa: country one out of fifty-two on the continent! The flight was not too long and I had no issues arriving in the country. I had to apply for a visa ahead of time so that was definitely the biggest barrier with entering Algeria, but it only took about a week to mail off and get it back.

When I arrived I was expecting a car to pick me up as I had communicated with the hotel, Lamaraz Arts Hotel, that I would need an airport transfer. Lamaraz Arts Hotel was not a sponsor of my trip, but after my experiences over the course of this evening I think I should consider them as one! I was picked up at the airport as promised by the driver, but not only the driver: I was met by Karim, who was the Sales Manager for the hotel. When he recieved my message about the transfer he had looked up and found out about my trip. He decided to come with the driver and meet me at the airport! And they even greeted me with flowers!  Karim is a self taught English speaker and I was really impressed with how good it was. We talked during the ride back to the hotel, and he then invited me to eat dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was truly amazing how kind and generous he was without even knowing about my travels until the day before!

We ate dinner on the top floor of Lamaraz which had amazing views out over all of Algiers. Dinner provided quite interesting discussions about travel and the differences between Algerian and American culture. It was a very enjoyable evening and I learned a lot! I was also able to try some traditional Algerian food, which I had not anticipated doing, and it actually was pretty good! I reached a point where I was so tired I could almost no longer keep my eyes open. Given I had woken up around 4am for the past two days this wasn’t too surprising!

I had a great first impression of Algeria and look forward to seeing more tomorrow. Also, special thanks to Karim for surprising me with such great generosity and an amazing welcome to Algeria.

Day 2 - The First African Country

I woke up having had a great night of sleep for the first time in a while to a beautiful view of Algiers, Algeria from my room. I had a nice breakfast where I ran into Karim and we reconfirmed our plans for the day. Not only did I have an amazing welcome yesterday, but he was going to show me around the city for about an hour and a half! Once again, the generosity was amazing. I had really wanted to see Algiers but was a little worried to do it on my own. So when Karim offered to show me around I couldn’t believe it!

After breakfast I packed my things and then headed downstairs to meet Karim. We walked about five minutes to the metro to take into the center of town. The metro looked very new and it turns out that it was. It was apparently finished just last year. The ride to the city center took just about ten minutes and before I knew it I was walking around Algiers. I think my first impression would be just amazed at how beautiful the buildings were and how lively the streets were. It felt like I was in France!

The architecture is distinctly French due to the former French presence, and many of the buildings are currently being renovated and restored to their former glory. The heart of the city was, as a result, very aesthetically pleasing. There were so many people out and about because it was a Saturday. I actually enjoyed this because it was really interesting to see a large city so close to Europe with virtually no tourists. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and I felt very safe throughout the entire time I was walking around. Having Karim walking with me helped, of course, but it felt almost as if I was walking around the streets in Europe.


While in the city we walked by churches, Grande Poste D'Alger post office, and along the port of the Bay of Algiers. It was a very nice tour of the city and I was able to see quite a lot in a very short amount of time. Karim bought me a tiny gift to remember Algeria which I, once again, really appreciated. After our tour and seeing a lot of the city we took the metro back to the hotel. I arrived in time to the head to the airport where I bid Karim goodbye.

Honestly this was not at all what I was expecting of Algeria. I had no idea the hotel would have any inkling of who I was or what I was doing and yet they did. They did and went above and beyond to provide me with an amazing experience in Algeria. I’m so glad that I was able to learn so much about the country, try the traditional food, and most importantly walk around and see Algiers. I can’t thank Karim and Lamaraz Arts Hotel for making this all happen at the very last minute! I had a great experience in Algeria and really hope that the country continues to grow its tourism industry successfully over the coming years as it can really be a great place to visit.

I departed Algeria around 3pm and then found myself with a five hour layover in the Casablanca, Morocco airport. I was stuck in the sad domestic terminal with no wifi and nothing to do so I worked on my blog and watched some Netflix. Eventually the five hours passed and I was on my plane to Marrakesh! I arrived in Marrakesh around 10pm and had a very nice driver who drove me to my hotel for the next two nights, Dar Ayniwen. Dar Ayniwen was about ten minutes outside of the heart of the city which, quite honestly, makes it the perfect place to stay. Not that it needed any help being perfect - I was literally blown away when I checked in and was shown to my room!

I had not one balcony, but two. And the second one was huge, beautiful, and had two large seating areas. The room was amazing as well, and the bathroom was one of the most unique that I have seen with its stunning tile work! I couldn’t believe that I would be staying in such a nice place and was really excited to see it in the morning. So far Africa is going amazingly well, and I am very excited to explore Marrakesh tomorrow.

92 countries down, 104 to go.

To learn more about Lamaraz Arts Hotel click here.

To learn more about Dar Ayniwen click here.

Country #41 - France

The Art

After a good night’s sleep after a long travel day through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Monaco I was really looking forward to a nice day in Paris, France. I have been to Paris before but it has been over four years since my first visit. I started the day with a great breakfast at Hotel Malte by Astotel before setting off for my first stop, Palais Opera. Luckily, the Opera was very near to Hotel Malte.

I bought a ticket from the automated machine inside and spent the next hour or so walking through the stunning building. It’s really hard to describe how magnificent the building is, but it is elaborate as you would imagine nineteenth-century Paris to be. One of the most interesting parts was the Marc Chagall frescoes. Similar to the Chagall stained glass I had seen in Switzerland it was so unique and really stood in contrast to the rest of the building. There was also a great exhibition on Mozart’s history that I really enjoyed.

From the Opera, I then walked through the Tuileries Garden on my way to Musée de l'Orangerie. Musée de l'Orangerie is known for its collection of eight of Monet’s larger Water Lilies paintings. Monet himself actually donated the paintings, known as the Nymphéas series, and wanted Musée de l'Orangerie to be a respite from the outside world. It really feels like that as you feel isolated from the busy Paris streets and it is such a unique environment to experience the Nymphéas. Monet is my favorite artist so I definitely took my time before heading downstairs to see the other works in Musée de l'Orangerie which were also impressionist works.

After finishing up at Musée de l'Orangerie I made my way across the Seine to one of my favorite museums in the world, Musée d'Orsay. I love d’Orsay for many reasons but especially for its large collection of impressionist paintings and because the building itself is so grand and unique as it was formerly a train station. I did the whole museum in an hour and a half and then took the metro to Notre Dame Cathedral. One of the most famous churches in the world, when you visit it, is not hard to see why. I was a little concerned with how lax security was to enter the church, especially compared to how stringent it had been throughout the rest of my day in Paris. Mass was going on inside and it truly is just a stunning church to see.

It was a short stop before I made my way to the Pantheon. Fun fact I attempted to visit the Pantheon on my last visit to Paris but it was unexpectedly closed, which made the realization that it was unexpectedly closed again almost comical. After not seeing the Pantheon for a second time it started to rain on my walk to Luxembourg Gardens. It was a heavy rain though luckily I had my rain jacket. The rain also emptied out Luxembourg Gardens which was a unique experience to have the whole place to myself!


I walked to Le Relais De L'Entrecôte which was a recommendation by my friend Noemi! It was amazing. The only menu option is endless steak and fries with a special sauce and wow it was so good. It was an expensive meal but definitely worth it! After dinner, I took the metro back to Hotel Malte to change into warmer clothes. After the rain, it cooled off tremendously and I wanted to walk for a few more hours without freezing.


I left Hotel Malte and headed to the Champs-Élysées. I had to stop in H&M to buy a cheap sweatshirt because it literally dropped like thirty degrees. Also even though it was now freexing I of course had to stop for ice cream. Most stores were closed but I still enjoyed walking up to the Arc de Triomphe. I didn’t walk all the way up to it because I have done that before and it was getting late but it will always be great to see. From there I made my way to the Eiffel Tower while talking on the phone with my brother during the walk. He’s never been to Paris so I definitely made him a bit jealous during the walk.


I have never seen the Eiffel Tower light up at night but all I have to say is it is 110% worth seeing. It happens every hour on the hour so I had to wait for a few minutes (during which time I took pictures) but it was so worth the wait. It was just mesmerizing! I wish it lasted longer than five minutes because it was so cool. It started to rain again after the lights so I quickly made my way back to the metro to head back to Hotel Malte.


It was a long but amazing day in Paris and I was so excited to get a good night’s sleep before I head home tomorrow afternoon.

The Pastries

Today I wanted to visit Monet’s garden outside of Paris but I realized that the timing would just not work. Next time I visit France, I guess! Instead, I spent my morning just walking around the city. I did not visit the Louvre this trip but I walked around outside of it and was sure to take a picture. My favorite part of my day was happening upon two street performers who were playing the violin and the cello in the Louvre buildings. I was listening for a bit but became really intrigued when they started to play songs from Beauty and the Beast. It was so cool and made for a perfect morning - I included a video below!

Afterwards, I walked to Gosselin to buy some pastries to take home with me. Thanks again to my friend Noemi for the awesome recommendation! It was a really cute place and of course delicious. I then walked around for a bit longer, walked past a cool shopping center, and then headed back to Hotel Malte to grab my things. I really appreciated the sweet guy who worked there stopping me on my way out to tell me that he and his girlfriend had read all about what I was doing on my website - it was so cool!

I took the train to the airport and amazingly enough didn’t have too complicated of an experience at Charles de Gaulle. I flew Norwegian Airlines to Fort Lauderdale and I had the whole middle section all to myself! I stocked up on food before the flight and that lasted me all the way home. I had plenty of time to transfer in Fort Lauderdale and am really looking forward to being home for a few days after a great time in Europe!

41 countries down, 155 to go.

To learn more about Hotel Malte click here.