Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 August Algiers



Algiers

All hotels in Algiers have taxi companies providing transport for guests.
In the hotel, they speak English, in the taxi not, which is a problem when you are alone and need to deal with the taxi driver. Unfortunately, I've paid more than I should have done. Basilica Notre Dame d'Afrique is one of the most famous places in Algiers. The basilica is open from 11:00 till 12:30 and from 15:00 till 17:30. It is a beautiful place with good sea view. It's good to ask the driver to stop is the 'Grand Poste' in the city centre.  Within 20 minutes walk from this place there are many other old buildings, some minarets and markets.

The city is crowded and dirty. I visited a few places not in the strict centre and I wasn't concerned about my security.

What is important, taking a picture of policemen, gendarme and soldiers is forbidden as well as pictures of strategic buildings.


Welcome to Algiers




Basilica Notre Dame d'Afrique


Basilica Notre Dame d'Afrique

City Centre

Ups




Place to swim

Basilica Notre Dame d'Afrique

Place to swim







Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 August Hassi Mesaoud Algeria



Hassi Messaoud

Hassi Messaoud is an industrial city in Algeria. A lot of oil and gas companies decided to allocate their camps here.
The first discovery was neither gas nor oil, it was water.
The camps are like fortresses with armed guards, defensive walls and check points. Same happens on the roads leading to them. In order to enter the town, you need to go through few police and military check points.
Long distance travel by car is forbidden for expats due to security reasons. The city has many checkpoints that why Hassi is a kind of 'green zone' where expats can travel safely from camps to the city or the airport.

Mild desert storm

Entrance to one of the base

Ceck point

During the weekend, local people organise BBQs on dunes around Hassi. Sometimes you can see.



BBQs on dunes

BBQs on dunes

I found departure procedures at the airport really strange. They include several checks. At the entrance to the building is the first scanning of baggage and a simple body search. What is funny, smoking inside is forbidden, however, no one respects it.
Afterwards, an immigration form should be filled and checked by a policeman together with your passport and then, once completed, you need to have your hand luggage checked again by a scanner. Finally, you can enter waiting area. When the boarding starts they will check your ticket and you will be taken by bus. After getting off the bus, the boarding card is checked again and near the plane, on the ground, registered luggage is waiting for passengers. Before boarding your flight, you have to pick it up, put on a big trolley. When they collect all luggage they will take it to the hold.
Time for the last hand luggage check by a policemen (sometimes they do very detailed check), a simple body search. After all this checks, passengers can take a seat on the plane.
This procedure is for national and international flights and is slightly different if you have international flights from Algiers (there is no need to carry your own registered baggage to the hold using trolley). 
The procedure is for locals and expats.
If you ever travel to Algeria - enjoy the trip. :-)

Local shop

Dirty dunes


At the airport

Hassi

Hassi











Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013 July Poland Cracow



Cracow
There is no need to introduce the old city of Cracow. It was famous long time ago and it is still very popular.
Nowadays, a lot of tourists from all over the world is visiting this magnificent city because of cheap airlines offers.
The first important thing is to exchange money. I suggest to exchange small amount at the airport, only to buy a bus ticket. The exchange rate at the airport is worse than in the city, you need to pay 30 % of commissions. Look for signs ‘KANTOR’ in the city.
You have 3 options to get to the city: taxi, bus and train.
As I’m a budget traveller I used the bus. Near the terminal, there is a bus stop with a ticket machine. 1 way ticket costs 4PLN (1e). Train costs 12 PLN (3e). Unfortunately, I don’t know how much should taxi cost you. I guess that there is an official taxi company and a private  one (the private one could have incredibly high prices) so make sure that you know the price before you arrive or check it with airport staff.
The bus will take you to the Bus terminal near the main train station, 15 minutes walk to the city centre. The bus number is 304 and the journey takes  around 45 minutes.
In the summer there are 2 free city tours per day but you need to check it in the information centre.
http://www.cracow.org/
Apart from the city centre, a must is Kazimierz - old Polish Jews District with old buildings, cemetery, etc.
Near the Krakow: Wieliczka – Salt Mine, Oswiecim – (concentration camp), Polish castles – Eagles’ Nests Trail (starts in Cracow and finishes in Czestochowa), Czestochowa – The Black Madonna and monastery complex.
http://en.auschwitz.org/h/

http://www.krakow-info.com/czestoch.htm

Market Sukiennice

Wisla River on the right

Wawel


Every hour on the main square


Cracow Dragon - 'Smok Wawelski'



Wawel

Kazimierz district - here you buy 'Zapiekanka'

Kazimierz



Pub in Kazimierz

Kazimierz





Barbacan


The Getto Heroes Square

The Getto Heroes Square

The Getto Heroes Square



St Mary's church

Adam Mickiewicz monument


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