29 May 2013

Tunisia

After our trip to Oman we had decided to go to Tunisia. Of course before we could get to Tunisia from Oman we had to go through Dubai.  On Rosie's good advice we stayed in Old Dubai.
Dubai River

This proved to be excellent advice as we had a great night out in the old city and crossed the river to the local market with all its colour and character. We saw the modern Dubai from the taxi on the way to the airport - or as much of it as we needed to see.

At Tunis the next day we were greeted by Ali, our local guide and Tijani, our driver.  We spent 11 days in Tunisia - two words describe the main features of Tunisia, Roman ruins and olive trees. Two other words, Bardo and change could be added. What an incredible history.

National Dish - 

Olive Harvest
The roman ruins are excellent.  They are said to be as good (if not better) than any others in Northern Africa and in places very extensive giving an idea how powerful the Roman empire was at the its height and how skilled they were in creating infrastructure - with the labour of those they had conquered. Wherever possible it seemed that olive trees were grown but these didn't seem the greatest of money earners.
Tunisian Roman Ruin

Tunisia is not a rich country and their poverty is one of the contributing factors to the self-immolation which was, in part, responsible for the beginning of the 'arab spring'. Change was in the air.  From time to time we were witness to evidence of this, whether it be in the form of police presence, street demonstrations, barbed wire or open discussions. It appeared that this mainly secular society was trying to resist the influence of the the Islamists. But the Tunisians seemed very rational in their discussions.

Fishing Boats
Our trip was mainly through the central parts of Tunisia and we never felt unsafe throughout our journey. At the end of our trip we stayed at Sidi Bou Said, next to the old area that used to be Carthage.  This is a very beautiful (but slightly touristy) area on the edge of Tunis. Finally we visited the Bardo Museum.  This is a magnificent (and quite modern) collection of Tunisia treasures from the past - one thing not to be missed in Tunisia.

Sidi Bou Said entrances



Breakfast Room at Sidi Bou Said













I was dreading the cramped journey home.  Not so. We travelled in an Emirates A380 plane and although we were travelling ordinary class - the legroom was excellent, as was the service.