Travel to Libya

libyaFirst a quick question. You know the Marines’ Hymn, the part that goes “to the shores of Tripoli!”, who here knows where that comes from? What battle, historical event, I mean? The answer is provided on the next page if you click “next page”

OK, now down to business. Travel to Libya. Only recently did the country’s somewhat deranged leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi start welcoming US tourists to the country. And only recently did the US and the UN lift sanctions on traveling there. Before that, most international airlines could not fly to Libya, and the country remained a kind of international pariah. But now, with a new Ministry of Tourism making pretty pamphlets and a recently-hired British PR agency helping burnish the country’s image, Libya is becoming one of the hot new destinations. History buffs will delight in scrambling over Libya’s spectacular seaside Roman ruins which, let’s face it, would be thronged with tourists if they were almost anywhere else. But the numbers show that tourism is still in its infancy. Just 350,000 tourists visited the country in 2003, a number that is expected to triple by 2010.

So now is really a good time to consider a trip to Libya. And for inspiration, herewith I provide a link to a nice story in the Sydney Morning Herald on travel to Libya that will certainly whet your appetite to travel there. As you will read, it’s still rough. Amenities are scarce and the infrastructure is in need of repair, but that’s what makes travel to a place like Libya interesting. Once the tourist hordes discover the place and the knick-knack shops start popping up like mushrooms after a storm, well, we’ll miss these early days.

OK, The Tripoli reference is an allusion to the First Barbary War when on April 27, 1805 U.S. Marines and Berbers under the command of William Eaton & Lt. Presley O�Bannon attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna. For the longest time, I thought it had something to do with World War II, but that�s because I am a doofus and forgot the Hymn was composed long before that.