The only thing we hadn't expected about Libya was – the rain! Living in Cairo, we often forget that it rains else where in the world! Imagine our surprise when we disembarked in Tripoli into the pouring rain. Luckily it wasn't too heavy, and only lasted a couple days.

Libyans are nuts about babies! We were nervous about passing through customs (on my British passport!), but security whisked us to the front of the line and the passport inspector looked very seriously at our passports for about 1 second before he started to make funny faces at Zoë! Raising one eyebrow at a time was his specialty! During our one week trip Zoë accumulated almost a dozen impromptu gifts from store owners, hotel employees and random people on the street. Strange men and women would dart out of cars and shops to kiss her on the cheek or take her out of our arms. At first we were a bit alarmed, but we learned to expect it.

Libya has no tourists! We visited the extensive Roman cities of Leptis Magna (maybe a dozen tourists) and Sabratha (zero tourists), and several different medieval Berber granaries. We also spent a day driving to the "must see" village of Ghadames on the edge of the Sahara which had maybe 5 tourists. Leptis was a class A roman site, comparable to Ephesus in Turkey.

We were obliged to organize our entire trip through a travel agent and consequently we traveled in a private car with a guide. Quite a treat! The guide organized everything, food, tickets, hotels... This is completely contrary to the way we normally like to travel. However, the convenience of the guide had its positives and negatives - we felt really insulated and met very few Libyans. Kind of weird! However, it made things easy for our first time traveling deep with Zoë.

Zoë traveled like a champ! She barely complained, even on our longest car rides or as we walked about countless ruins. We traveled slowly, and tried to get in as many naps as possible. I have to admit that Robyn and I are also very enthusiastic about participating in Zoë’s nap schedule!

Our favorite cute smile.
At the ruins of Sabratha.
On the toilets in Sabratha.
Downtown Tripoli had some wonderful remnants of the Italian period, this was my favorite cafe.


The quiet streets of Ghadames, an old trading town on the edge of the Sahara.
I loved the images of Gadaffi all over Libya. This bigger-than-life one was in a museum at Leptis Magna.
On the main road of Leptis Magna. This road starts in Alexandria, Egypt, passes through Leptis and continues to the Roman colonies in Tunisia.
A local snatches up Zoë in the Medina in Tripoli.
During a long car ride, Zoë reflects on the joys and challenges of long distance travel.
A medieval Berber fortified granary.


page created on December 27, 2006