Our adventure in Algeria

I`ve been asked to write some posts in English too, since I have readers around the world – even no-Finnish-speaking readers. I decided to try, but I have to say very first that I can`t promise grammatical correct language. I still hope it`s understandable :). The thing is that when we lived in Germany I forgot a lots of English language since all the tv programs were in German and people in Germany didn`t like to speak English at all. It surprised me, how fast the language can disappear from the menory and only shows that languages should be used occasionally. So, maybe this is also a good practise for me! It feels little like when I was young and I had pen pals all over the world. It was so amazing and exciting to get a letter for example from Ghana or Greece! Nowdays, in the time of internet, it`s even easier to have contact all over the world. For example this post can reach readers from Algeria to Finland and from Irak to England.

I think that I should introduce myself also for English speaking readers… So, I`m nearly 36 years old Finnish woman married with Algerian man almost 16 years. We have four children, aged 1,5-12 years old; three boys and one girl. I`ve worked in Finland as a kindergarten teacher for many years, but after having my own children, I`ve started to tought that I would like to do some other work; for children, but with adults. Nowdays I study in the University of Applied Sciences about Social welfare and criminal sanctions leadership and management. Studying is really independent, so it has been possible to study from abroad and visit occasionally in the university in Finland, especially because my thesis is associated with Algeria. I mostly study in the night time, when children sleep.

I was first time in Algeria in the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000. I have to say that life in Algeria has changed a lot from those times! Nowdays here can find many European products etc.

We`ve been now in Algeria about 9 months and would like to be more – but we have not yet decided exatly how long. The first months here we prepared our house (and my husband had a lots of paper work!); there was a lots of cleaning after the work men finished their job! Paint and even concrete was around the house! And we cleaned with four children… The mess was unbelievable! After cleaning we started to decorate and furniture the house step by step. A local carpenter made beautiful beds for the kids!

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I homeschool my two oldest children for Finnish curriculum and they also go to Algerian local school. All our children love to be in Algeria. Two oldest children like even the school, but I have to say that the level is not same than I`ve used to in Finland. Though kids have learnt Arabic and my eldest son French too. And they have found many new friends! I have to say also, that the school has been better than I was thought and the new books are really nice and colorful. The language has been little difficult for our children, because books are written by ”real” Arabic – not ”Algerian Arabic”, which children speaks with their dad. But fortunately children learn fast!

 

Here the kids wear a school uniform.

 

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After stabilized a little bit we`ve visited some nice places here…

…in the capital we visited  a really nice botanical garden called Jardin D`Essai du Hamma. It was so lovely! We brought also my mum there, when she came to Algeria for a month and she loved it too!

 

There is also a small zoo. Kids loved especially the parrots who could say ”mama” and ”papa”. My mum was surprised to see a white peacock!

… another place worth a visit in the capital is Monument-des-Martyrs. There are also a museum.

Monument des Martyrs ( Maquam E’ chahid ) is an iconic concrete monument commemorating the  Algerian war for independence. The monument was opened in 1982 on the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. It is fashioned in the shape of three standing palm leaves which shelter the ”Eternal Flame” beneath. At the edge of each palm leaf stands a statue of a soldier, each representing a stage of Algeria’s struggle. (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algiers#Monuments)

 

 

(More pictures from the capital can be found from here: https://lastensilmin.com/2014/03/07/retkeilya/ and here: https://lastensilmin.com/2013/10/21/muutamia-kuvia-ja-ajatuksia-retkesta-paakaupunkiin/)

One of my favorite places I`ve visited here is Tipasa!

”Tipasa, as it was then called, was an ancient Punic trading-post conquered by Ancient Rome and turned into a military colony by the emperor Claudius for the conquest of the kingdoms of Mauretania. Afterwards it became a municipium. The Roman city was built on three small hills which overlooked the sea. Of the houses, most of which stood on the central hill, no traces remain; but there are ruins of three churches — the Great Basilica and the Basilica Alexander on the western hill, and the Basilica of St Salsa on the eastern hill, two cemeteries, the baths, theatre, amphitheatre and nymphaeum. The line of the ramparts can be distinctly traced and at the foot of the eastern hill the remains of the ancient harbour. The basilicas are surrounded by cemeteries, which are full of coffins, all of stone and covered with mosaics. The basilica of St. Salsa, which has been excavated by Stéphane Gsell, consists of a nave and two aisles, and still contains a mosaic. The Great Basilica served for centuries as a quarry, but it is still possible to make out the plan of the building, which was divided into seven aisles. Under the foundations of the church are tombs hewn out of the solid rock. Of these one is circular, with a diameter of 18 m and space for 24 coffins. Commercially Tipasa was of considerable importance, but it was not distinguished in art or learning. Christianity  was early introduced, and in the third century Tipasa was an episcopal seee, now inscribed in the Catholic Church’s list of titular sees.Most of the inhabitants continued non-Christian until, according to the legend, Salsa, a Christian maiden, threw the head of their serpent idol into the sea, whereupon the enraged populace stoned her to death. The body, miraculously recovered from the sea, was buried, on the hill above the harbour, in a small chapel which gave place subsequently to the stately basilica. Salsa’s martyrdom took place in the 4th century. In 484 the Vandal king Huneric (477‑484) sent an  Arian bishop to Tipaza; whereupon a large number of the inhabitants fled to Spain, while many of the remainder were cruelly persecuted. Tipasa revived for a brief time during the Byzantin occupation in the 6th century but was given the Arabic language name, Tefassed, when Arabs arrived there. The term translated means badly damaged.

(Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipaza)

We saw there Roman ruins of Tipasa. The area is so beautiful and unique! It`s one of the UNESCO`s world heritage objects.

 

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This is not a place to go by strollers and also a place where should take a really good care of children, because there are places, where can fall! But we all loved it!

One ticket to the area costs only 20DA and our family had to pay only for three persons, so it costed for us only 60DA. (It`s about 0,40€ for the whole family!)

… and a big stone structure which looked a little bit like a pyramid. It`s probably a tomb.

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In Tipasa we saw also traditional Algerian mats…

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… and dishes.

And fishing vessels.

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We saw also an Algerian antiques shop.

The oldest kids rode by a horse…

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… and by a camel. Before that I was the only one in our family, who had ridden by a camel.

We all traveled a round by the beautiful horse carriage.

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For the kids we bought a traditional Algerian drum. In the car in the way back home they drummed and song Algerian national anthem and ”One, two, three, viva Algerie”.

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(You can find MUCH more pictures from Tipasa from here: https://lastensilmin.com/2014/04/19/roomalaisten-jalanjaljissa/ and here: https://lastensilmin.com/2014/04/19/ihana-tipasa/.)

 

Zeralda was a nice place for swimming and playing in the beach.

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(You can find more pictures from Zeralda from here: https://lastensilmin.com/2014/04/19/uimarannalla-zeraldassa/)

 

We also visited beautiful mountains. But I have to admit that I was afraid in the car, even if my husband drove really slowly. In some places it seemed like we`ll just fall. But it was so beautiful!

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(You can find much more pictures from the mountain area from here: https://lastensilmin.com/2014/03/21/seikkailu-vuorilla/)

 

My husband`s brother`s wife visited here from Germany and asked me what are the advantages and disadvantages in Algeria in comparison to Europe. At first I don`t like here the traffic! It`s sometimes chaotic, especially in the capital. (But in the way to Tipaza it was much peaceful!) Sometimes here are traffic jams too. The public transport doesn`t work like in Finland. The buses are often full up and drive really fast! In the capital I liked a lot the underground; only the line should be much more longer! In Helsinki I travel with a child in stroller totally free by buses, underground, train and tram! It`s so nice and easy! Here children doesn`t normally use car seats or even seat belts. This is something I can`t undestand! For Algerian it`s seems to be difficult to undestand why I want to use them… Also paper work can be here chaotic and bureaucratic! But it has been more my husband`s problem and I haven`t stress a lot about it.

The nature and weather are really nice here, althought I`ve never been here in the summer time and I`m a little bit afraid that it`s too hot for me. I can`t undestand why people throw so much rubbish into nature! Sometimes it seems like they don`t even care about it.

Algeria is in many cases much more cheaper than Europe, but I think that for normal Algerian worker it`s nearly or even more expensive than Finland for normal Finnish family. For poor families it`s even too expensive. There are in Algeria lots of rich people too, who live in the really big and beautiful villas. Sometimes many generations live in the same house. Sometimes sons built their homes on the top of the parent`s house.

I think that generally speaking young people here respect more elderly than in Europe and people are much more family-oriented here. Here is also unusual to see people drunk or under the influence of drugs outside. In many places of Europe it`s normal to see them every day.

School is not maybe in the same level than in Finland and there are lack of materials in many schools. But still our children have learnt Arabic and the history and the geography of Algeria – the homeland of their dad! I`m really happy about that. They have also learnt Algerian customs etc.

I feel that here women are quite free to choice how to wear; some of them wear a scarf, some of them cover also their faces and some of them doesn`t use a scarft at all. I feel that here are not a big pressure in religion; it`s up to you. Women can work for example as a police or a minister of State, but it`s also common that women stay at home with their children. I think that staying at home is much more admitted in Algeria than in Finland.

What else could I tell for you about this fascinating country? Please, don`t hesitate to contact me by answer box or by email: lastensilminblogi@gmail.com or by facebook (which I can`t use really well yet, but where can also read my posts) if you want to know more about my posts or Algeria or… And also, if you are a blogger from Algeria, let me know; it`s so interesting to read about another people`s experiences in Algeria!

 

P.S. Many Algerian recipes in my blog are translated into Finnish from English resources. So, if you are interested in some recipes, please, check the original resource.

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22 thoughts on “Our adventure in Algeria

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