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Published: April 28th 2006
Arrived in Libya expecting a dry arid country, but I was very surprised by the greenery - Orange, olive and lemon trees near the coast, and palms in the interior. That is not to say that water is not a concern. Libya's huge project the Great (great artery of life) man made river brings water from the south to fill storage containers near the coast. Traffic circles often feature styalised wells or water containers.
Tripoli- is a beautiful town, not too many cars, great for walking, and has real attractions such as the Red Castle, the old wall, Green Square with its coffee shops, and best of all the old Souq. The Souq comes with winding old alleys, interesting shops, it is right out of 1001 nights. The only downside is that coffee in Libya is Nescafe.
Near Green Square, you can still see the Italian influence from their stay from 1911 - 1945. You can also see it in the food - bagette bread, italian soup, and pasta.
Out in the country side there are old Greek and Roman cities; Cirene featuring a huge cemetery on the side of the hill. Sabratha with its mosaics and theatre,
The road to Kufra
We drove around the country visiting different towns, 8 guys + two trucks.
and Leptis Magna huge ruins accompanied with the sound of birds and surf. A real treasure is Ghadames. Ghadames is a walled palm tree oasis city, a World Heritage site that is an example of conservation and how to live in a world of limited resources.
My personal favorites, which although interesting might not be worth a recommendation because of the difficulty getting to them versus the sight seeing rewards were;
Gharyan - Troglodyte homes (below ground level) which are cool in the summer.
Nalut - The locals joke that it is better to die than go to Nalut, but they have a well preserved store house that looks like it was designed by Dr seuss.
Al Marj - The old town was deserted after an earthquake in 1962.
Awlja - They preserve an old 'hump' style mosque. We had dinner at the new mosque and then a tour of the crypt.
Kufra - So far out into the desert, but you can still see Micheal Jackson posters.
Accomodations tend to be good in Libya. Any larger town has a large underused hotel, but even a luxury room may have no toilet paper.
Dinner at Aujla
Out in the hotel parking lot
The desert goes on and on - all there is to see are power lines, roads, camels and gas stops.
The people were the best part of the trip - friendly, honest, courteous. One time I returned to my hotel room carrying a few bags of tools and equipment. I put them down outside in the hall to open the door, and then (I thought) I took all of them inside. After a shower, I realized someone was knocking on my door. He wanted to point out that I left one of my expensive pieces of equipment outside in the hall.
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