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Kabylie - Algeria Part 2

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills..."
Each time I hear the first sentence of 'Out of Africa', already I am close to tears... My grandmother had a little farm in the mountains in Algeria, I believe in Kabylie (East of Algiers). She talked a lot about it and always said how beautiful it was. She missed it terribly.

As I discovered Kabylie for the first time, I could only agree with her. Also, at this time of the year, it is covered with wild flowers, I don't think it can get any better than that! (In the summer everything is dry of course.)

I took these pictures on the way to Tizi-Ouzou. I could have happily spent the day there. When my friends confirmed (as I had thought) that there were snakes in the area, suddenly the idea of hiking among the wild flowers wasn't so appealing. But I hope one day I can go on a hike on the little mountain paths we sometimes saw in the distance... My grandmother used to reach her farm first by taking the train from Algiers, and then by horse (one day on horse's back), and I can imagine that there must still be small villages that are far away from everything.

One of my favorite flowers (which can also be found in France actually) was borage. Children in Kabylie make necklaces with them...

There were also thistles everywhere...

But the most surprising sight was the hundreds of storks' nests!

Kabyles are part of the Berber population, which is found throughout North Africa (and its original population until the Arabic invasions of the 7th century). Famous Berbers you might know... Saint Augustine and footballer Zinedine Zidane! The Kabyle culture is very rich and the language is completely different from Arabic. Until fairly recently, it was forbidden to speak it in Algeria.

Kabyles are understandably very proud of their rich culture and language. Ceramics are still traditionally made by women in the Kabyle villages, with ancient patterns which once had a meaning.

This is how the houses used to look like (this is a picture of a picture)...

... but nowadays, they are more like this (if you can imagine a little from these houses that look tiny on my picture!), with bright red roofs.

These pictures now I took on another day in the mountains as we drove between Tizi-Ouzou and Bedjaïa, and it was raining very hard.

I was very glad my friend is a good driver because it wasn't an easy drive!

When it stopped raining, water evaporated on the surface of the road, creating a fog that made the road look almost unreal...

It felt good when we finally reached Bedjaïa and I found welcoming smiles, a nice meal and a good bed! The following morning, we drove to the mountains above Bedjaïa...

We went all the way to the top of the Pic des Singes (Monkeys' Peak) to enjoy the view over Cap Carbon...

Of course there were also lots of wild flowers up there!

There was a good reason why it was called 'Monkey's Peak'!

There are lots of monkeys there, called 'magots' (a type of monkeys only found in Algeria and Morocco)...

They weren't shy at all!

My favorite was this one and its baby on its back...

I hope you liked discovering a little of Kabylie through my eyes! Thank you for reading and for all your encouragements, which as always mean a lot to me!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    936 days ago
    love the picture of the monkey mom and her baby and the pics of the flowers and the countryside~
    1723 days ago
  • KAREN91
    Claire, I doubt I will ever travel the world but thanks to you I feel like I have. Your pictures and your blog never fail to cheer me up and make me smile. You are a artist with your camera! emoticon
    1728 days ago
    So beautiful. I would not walk with the snakes either.
    1728 days ago
    I discovered a lot through your eyes! So amazing and beautiful! Thanks for loaning us your eyes to see.

    1729 days ago
    I loved it! thanks for sharing...
    1729 days ago
    Thank you, Claire! I had never heard of Kabylie. It was one of those movie lines that went over my head. The colors in their traditional patterns are so vibrant and beautiful! Loved the Magots, especially the mother and baby. I very much appreciate you bringing your travels to us. Thanks!
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    1729 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful journey with us. The photos made your trip come alive. I loved the baby monkey on his mother's back holding on. Loved the scenery. So beautiful.
    Ramona emoticon
    1730 days ago
    Stunning pics and of course the lil monkeys are so adorable, especially the little baby.
    Sorry to be so late in reading these blogs and as always thank you for sharing your photography talent!
    1730 days ago
    thank you Again for sharing a part of your history and story with all of us... I am honored!
    1730 days ago
    Oh, Claire, I adore the green tea set. I think I would have had to bring that one home.
    But, I have to admit, I had to skip by the pictures of the monkeys rather quickly. I don't care for monkeys. I don't know why - I just don't like them.
    I just love your adventures. You see the most interesting things.
    1730 days ago
    Thank you so much! What exquisite pictures and wonderful narration.
    1731 days ago

    A beautiful place and beautiful photos, love your blogs.
    And intriguing stork nests and charming monkeys.
    1732 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/24/2013 5:53:25 PM
    Claire, if you ever want to change careers, I believe you would be a successful travel jouralist! Your photographs are wonderful, and the descriptions of the places you see make me want to leave right away to visit them. Love the stork's nest and the monkeys. Lately, since Cairo, I've been sharing your blogs with Peter, and he loves them too. We look forward to reading more about your travels.
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    1733 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/23/2013 6:00:01 AM
    Fascinating and beautiful!!! And I too am very fond of "Out of Africa." It is an amazing book. Someone very important in my past grew up on a farm near Capetown, and I long to go there someday.
    1733 days ago
    As usual, I am thanking you for sharing your travels. The pictures, well what can I say, they make you want to be there behind the camera too. And, your narration.. I love all you have to say. It makes me feel like I am right there with you and you are talking just to me and those who are standing there with us.
    Thank you again,
    Love and HUGS,
    1733 days ago
    Thanks for the tour. I love the pictures and the information you share with us.

    1734 days ago
    I had no idea that there were places in Algeria that are so green. Love the ceramics and the magots, especially the mother and baby.
    1734 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Oh so lovely, Claire! Thank you for sharing:) Yet another place to add to my list of places to visit some day. Thank you also for the information you add so that we can all learn from your experience:) Now I have to track down your first report!
    Take care
    1734 days ago
  • DNRAE1
    What a wonderful trip and blog, Claire! This trip had to be so emotional and rewarding at the same time. Your beautiful pictures and narrative helped me walk and ride along with you. Thank you so much.
    1735 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    So beautiful Claire. Yes your Grandmothers is right, so beautiful where she had her farm. all the wildflowers so pretty. I wouldn't like the snakes though.
    So interesting to see those stork nests. Loved all the pictures, the last picture, the Monkey carrying her baby so cute. Thank you for sharing. emoticon
    1735 days ago
    Thank you for sharing and giving me an insight
    into Algeria. You are a great photographer and
    tour guide. emoticon
    1735 days ago
  • NAN041
    You had me at - ‘I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills...’
    and once again had to "borrow" for my page...many thanks, Nan
    1735 days ago
    Interesting---lots of new info---and I loved the close ups of the wild flowers---never knew the names of those although I have heard of them--now when reading I can put a picture in my mind of what they are referring to. Yikes to the snakes---interesting about the monkeys. thanks for a wonderful peek into this trip.
    1735 days ago
  • GAMMY98
    Claire, Thanks for this beautiful pictures and such a great tour of your travels. We are so lucky to have you on sparks to share with us. emoticon
    1735 days ago
    Thank you again for bringing us along on your trip, showing us the sights and your narrations are great. Through your eyes I get to see places I will never see otherwise. Thank you again, and again!
    Love and HUGS,
    1735 days ago
    Their ceramic art is really beautiful. But as you can imagine, my favorite one is the picture with the mist on the road! Once again, nature makes us speechless!
    Thank you for all these beautiful pictures, Claire.
    1735 days ago
    What a beautiful blog! I loved the photos of the flowers, the houses, the ceramics, and the MONKEYS! Thank you for sharing your journey. Like so many others I had little knowledge of Algeria and it was wonderful to learn more about the country.
    1735 days ago
    Dear, dear Claire! Once again you leave me speechless and knowing there are no words to really show my appreciation for this fabulous, wonderful blog. This was such an education for me and just so wonderful seeing the country and learning so much about it, especially through your beautiful eyes.

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    1735 days ago
    Wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing your photos. They are lovely.
    1735 days ago
    Claire, What an incredible trip this was! I can see why the children make jewelry out of the borage. Those are a very pretty wildflower. I can only imagine what a joy it was to see the monkeys. When I looked at the picture of the old house, I can imagine people living there and making a happy life. I hope that you took at least one piece of that beautiful pottery home with you. It would be hard to choose what to buy. Thank you for this wonderful two part series. emoticon
    1735 days ago
    Oh Claire, this was wonderful! emoticon This looked like another beautiful trip.. loved the interesting flowers and the gorgeous views. lady, you are very blessed! emoticon emoticon How wonderful! Hugs, Karen
    1735 days ago
    This is so very interesting. I especially love the ceramics - they are wonderful. Thank you for posting.
    1735 days ago
    Love the way you're discovering your roots. Love the adventure.
    1735 days ago
    Thanks for sharing....I lovem seeing the world through your eyes!
    1735 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    I had no idea that Algeria looked like that! I guess I've always seen pictures taken in the summer. The wildflowers are beautiful. I'm not fond of snakes, either. I can't believe you got such a good picture of the storks. Your photos are fantastic. The view over Cap Carbon is stunning!

    The magots are amazing. I hope they didn't get too close. I don't mind wildlife from a distance, but I'm not thrilled when they get close. That baby is adorable. I guess the monkeys see enough people that they've become used to them.
    1735 days ago
    i love your blogs. I haven't traveled much, so this vicarious travel is wonderful! Algeria! Never even considered going there. It's BEAUTIFUL!
    1735 days ago
    Just fabulous, Claire. Thanks for the ride. . .!
    1735 days ago
  • DALID414
    The ceramic designs are beautiful!!
    I really shouldn't read your blogs in public, my face goes in and out of so many emotions, I must look ridiculous emoticon but I enjoy them immensely!
    1735 days ago
    You don't think Africa would look so much like being filled with meadows. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. Great picture of momma monkey and baby.
    1735 days ago
    Dear Claire, Once again I find myself living vicariously through your experiences and your eyes. Thank you for taking me along with you on your trip. I look forward to coming to your page and your blog just for the excitement of the travel experience. Many thanks. Nan emoticon
    1735 days ago
  • _BABE_
    Enjoyed your trip..what beautiful memories. I would have a weakness for the pottery which by the time got home to Canada would be in
    1735 days ago
    Very beautiful! I love the landscapes, thanks for sharing with us!

    1735 days ago
    What a wonderful journey you had, I'm sure I would have missed it's loveliness had I been travelling there,when I went back to my hometown and country it was really exciting. So glad you had the opportunity to do it.

    The photos are exquisite thanks so much for atking me along would not have missed it.
    1735 days ago
  • QTEALADY20031
    Claire, thank you so much for sharing the history of your visit. I just the love the monkeys. The baby looked thin. Its amazing that you can get pictures like these. The ceramics look beautiful. I noticed yesterday of the many pictures you had of the tiles. What an amazing journey and to know that you are a part of this history with your family. Thank you so much again for sharing. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon June
    1736 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/20/2013 7:45:08 PM
    so fabulous, Claire. thank you so much.
    1736 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    1736 days ago
    Que vos photos sont magnifiques! J'aime beaucoup les poteries.
    1736 days ago
    lovely thanks
    1736 days ago
    Kabylie est ravissante. Les singes sont mignons. Looks like you had a wonderful tour of an area where grandmère used to travel.
    Bisous mon amie. Merci de nouveau de tes belles photos.
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    1736 days ago
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