Tag: Arab World

You don’t have to feel bad if you have never heard about this country. Actually, even right on the ground, the Western Sahara is hard to find. I know it is there, but I honestly see no trace.
Western Sahara is one of the most sparsely populated territories on earth. It mainly consists of desert flatlands. Along the bus ride from Laâyoune to Dakhla I remember hardly any settlement of size. It is a barren landscape, […]

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I consider my visit to Morocco as a passing-through. Better to spend more time in the harder to reach countries that will come later on my journey. I can always come back easily to Morocco. But if I am passing through, I try to do it in style. Travelled in a direct route from my point of entry, Tangier, it will be more than 1,300 kilometres before I leave Morocco and enter the Western Sahara. Counting in the Western Sahara, as that disputed territory is under Moroccan control, it will be 2,240 kilometres. Makes sense to break the journey a few times. […]

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I observe racism even before entering the country. Approaching immigration, a security guard directs people into different lines. So far so good, but the guard does not direct people with the intention that all lines have roughly equal length but separates people like me into the “short line” and people that look like labourers from South Asia into the “long line”. Whereas only a few people are in my line, there are more than 50 in the other line. Who cares if the labourers have to wait? […]

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From Jeddah to Medina I hop on the high-speed train. The Haramain HSR links Mecca and Medina and started to operate in October 2018. A perfect way to quickly transport the millions of pilgrims between their two main destinations. Jeddah airport has a complete second terminal to handle the pious masses for the Hajj. Modernizing a country is often not hassle-free. The Spanish-built Talgo is so far only running at 200 km/h and not at the promised 320 km/h and in September 2019 Jeddah City station was destroyed by a fire, […]

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Passing through the metal detector, I enter the old village of Al Ula. There is not much old about this part of the village, the mosque is, but it has been carefully renovated. The other buildings along the newly-tarmacked street, are only styled as being old. Resembling a market, they contain small shops with clothes, souvenirs, snacks. A man demonstrates the old technique of stamping mud with his feet to produce the raw material to make and repair houses. I approach the small stage, a man in a black thobe, his head covered with a red and white keffiyeh […]

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I had left Wadi Halfa in Sudan early in the morning. My hope was to reach Abu Simbel in early afternoon and to be able to visit this famous temple on the way to Aswan. I had tried to get on the first bus. My hopes were soon dashed as all the five buses left at the same time with mine actually being the latest. We arrived at the Sudanese-Egyptian border and it was still closed. It took three-and-a-half totally ineffective hours to leave Sudan. […]

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The border post is in a small village. The main road is not even tarred, little traffic passes over this border. Ethiopia and Sudan are culturally distinct and there seems to be little interest in the “other”. To my surprise, I am not crossing this border alone. A Japanese guy was on the bus to the border and at the border we meet an Italian who is overlanding with his motorbike. It might surprise you but crossing Sudan is the easiest option of going north-south in Africa. […]

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