kolff: biographies: algeria: 2

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A Voyage to Algeria in 1921: 2 - Algiers

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Above: Timgad in a storm
(Click on image for an enlargement).

Above: view on Mustapha
(Click on image for an enlargement).

Below: Kasbah.



Above: view at mosque.

Other images (at right): atmosphere.

5 February

10 o'clock: we are brought by bus to the 'Timgad'. It is stormy weather and poors rain. We have lunch on board of the ship. It leaves after that at twelve o'clock. We enjoy the departure with a amazing view on Marseilles. Quite soon the ship starts to swing to and fro and it is not possible to stay on deck any longer after four o'clock; also because of the extreme cold. AtmosphereWe have an excellent and spacious cabin and regardless the very rough weather we have a good night rest. One of the very few people that went to dine is Jan.

6 February

The wind does not calm down this day and the ship takes a lot of water. At seven in the evening the lights of Algiers show up and the swinging of the ship ends. The passengers are all on deck standing close together are are swarmed by Arab boys that want to carry their luggage. A boy of around 20 years old takes both our portmanteaus, hatboxes, and the cabin trunk on his back as if this all was not weighing 70 kgs. in total. A bus takes us to the beautiful hotel St. George. In our room we have supper that contains of crispy rolls and chocolate.

Algiers 7 February

At six in the morning we see the sun rise from our room. Below we can see Algiers, the sea and the pal gardens beautifully lit by the sun. This day we walk in the fine garden and the surroundings of the hotel. In town we take coffee ar the "Café d'Alger", Place de la Republique. In the evening we go to le Nouveau Theatre where we see an impassioned Arab audience enjoying a very primitive Moorish party.

8 February
We enjoy the sun in our room and at the terrace. It is carnival and we notice that all shops are closed. After 4 o'clock the sun disappears and so does the heat of the entire day.
9 February
AtmosphereStill sunny and warm. At 3 o'clock we wonder about the city and walk into the Cathédral.
10 February
Sunny room and terrace. Walk to hotel Continental where we part in the 'thé dansant', but where we also see that Louis Couperus has just left Algiers.
11 February
Thanks to our regular sun bath we start to get sun burnt somewhat. In the afternoon we go to the Kasbah and walk there along the Boulevard Gambetta (stairs with very badly placed stone steps), Rue de la Kasba, Mosque Medensa ed Kalibia, Rue du Regand, Rue Bleue, Cathédral.
12 February
Cold on the terrace. Not much sunshine. In the afternoon we have a beautiful walk through the Bois de Boulogne to Birmandreïs. Dazzling is the Ravin de la Femme Sauvage (named after a woman who was selling, secretly, absinth; around 1840), along the Jardin d'Essay. By tram we return through the city back to our hotel.
13 February
It stays cold and it is somewhat windy. Again we have a beautiful walk. We take off at Colonne Voirol along the Chateau Hydra (famous for its great wine), the Merzaug estate, to the village of El Biar. Fantastic panoramas, beautiful plants, many cactussus. And in the end we see Algiers deep down before us. We descend along the Chemin Lapentier - fourteen corners - to the Hotel Continental and continue to our hotel (promenade of 3 1/2 hours).Atmosphere
14 February
The warmth has come back, and how!, temperature doubled. We enjoy the sunshine. In the afternoon a short stroll to the city where we have tea. In the evening a 'bal costumé' in the hotel.
15 February
We enjoy the sunshine and stroll through Algiers.
Louis Couperus in Afrika Louis Couperus - renown Dutch writer; Jan's (Johannes Marius) sister was at the time of Jan and Ella's voyage to Algeria married to a son (Benjamin Vlielander Hein) of Couperus' sister: see Genealogy: CBCD. More close family links exist, such as that of Jan and Ella's son, Jan, who married a daughter of the couple Van Schalkwijk-Vlielander Hein.
To more on Couperus and his Vlielander Hein connection (Dutch webiste).

Ella's journal has been used as part of 'Een Dandy in de Oriënt, Louis Couperus in Afrika' (image at left), as well as several other journals; José Buschman, the writer, investigated the trip of Louis Couperus to Algeria using biographies of others to illustrate Louis Couperus' trip to Algeria. 'Een Dandy in de Oriënt' (A Dandy in the Orient), by José Buschman, first appeared on April 4, 2009.
< Previous A voyage to Algeria in 1921, by Ella Kolff-van der Giessen (CBCD - XVIv) Next >