A Travellerspoint blog

Tunis retour

I'm sick and we don't quite know why

sunny 27 °C

I'm sick. Headache, bit of a sore throat, weak, fever / ultra night sweats, hot but feel cold, runs. Most likely to be heat related or from the plane, Alison helped lots by reading worst case sicknesses from guidebook, Hep A possible lets hope its not, also diptheria!

First guy not to swindle us yesterday. We all shared a sad moment when we told him we were leaving Sousse and he'd not secured return custom in his restaurant. But I'll try to help him, twas restaurant De Peuple on the medina wall by a small hotel behind the Ribat. Food ordinary but huge free side dishes and good price.

Yesterday Swindled once, escaped countless times as we improve! Today visited the Zaytouna Mosque, Tunis, not much to see but probably worth the 2 dinar entry, then got a wicked view from same place as last time but without 'guide', so good photos! An he was up there and Alison warned his marks that his prices are a fortune, go Alison!

So we won in the end.

Hotel is amazing by our standards if a little run down, Hotel Grand Paris near medina its got arches and tiles and its pretty clean and half price of Carlton.

Tonight port way and tomorrow Sidi Bou Said, maybe shopping or Bardot the day after and return home friday, suspect this be the last or nearly last blog so in summary Tunisia has some great sights but we've had some really bad experiences with, and lets be absolutely fair to them... hmmm, Alison says I ca't say that so I'll say theives, chancers, and scum.

see you.

Joe and Alison

Posted by urchinjoe 17:45 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Sahara

(continued: Alison started this one below)

sunny 35 °C

Firstly, this was, indeed, amazing: I've wanted to see really empty landscape for a long time and we got that, and wild camels to boot. However, there were one or two minor niggles to be found, in that the driver was late, finished early, and was always in control (so we weren't), so all in all I'm happy, but hope to find a better way 'next time'.

Arrived in Ksar Ghilane and got straight onto the camels (pricey, but I'm not hiring a 4x4 and a driver just to refuse my only chance of a camel ride); Alison didn't like the height and got evil blisters, I nearly lost my balls on the downward slope: why did no one warn me? ride lasted 2 hours including visit to ancient Roman fort. Put cameras in plastic bags the sand gets everywhere, unless your camera is like mine (e.g. broken already). Returned to oasis where we were swindled by a horseman, 3 times I asked if it was included in the camel ride and 3 times he said it was. It was not. Then we had a swim in the oasis and had dinner, fanta again was extra.

Morning: an early start to visit Matmata. This is the bit I'm cross about, really. We'd hired the car for two days on a custom tour: we could go where we wanted, not follow the official route. However, our guide refused to take us south unless we paid extra AGAIN. Actually I'll write and complain about this. so we went to Matmata via Toujane and another village, all very interesting but I'm sure we were being rushed... spent about 30 mins exploring Matmata, needed longer, and ate in Troglodyte hotel which was cool. Also found another hotel where Luke Skywalker lived in Star Wars! Hotel Sidi Driss.

Arrived Gabes at 13.10 ish though we'd arranged to finish at 17.00 - 18.00, and keep in mind we started at 11.45 rather than 08.00... I don't feel ripped off as it was all brilliant, just it left a sour taste in my mouth is all, and I can't decide if it was deliberate or accidental, and to be fair we seemed to pay for more than we got.

Still it worked to our advantage as we arrived in Sousse in time to get a hotel with an amazing rooftop terrace, Hotel Gabes 15TD per night for a double room, though I should stress that it is a real dive, complete with suspicious brown lumps by the toilet (OK for us now, not one to go on Honeymoon). Today we day tripped out from Sousse to Monastir where we visited Mausoleum and Ribat - home of Monty Python's Life of Brian, which we spent a few hours exploring. Now we're going to try to find a shop and then maybe dive into the sea. As its still really very hot.

Posted by urchinjoe 16.09.2007 14:55 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Red sand

2 days in the Sahara

sunny 40 °C

Went to the museum which was quite good - although it was divided into 3 parts which had to be paid for seperately. History part was the best as it gave a good history of Tunisia, the Arabian Nights area was tacky but fun, and the craft section had good exhibitions but could have done with some explainations in English. We went to the rocks - not as expected as parts man made.

Next day adventure began, we hired a 4 x 4 with driver and travelled to Ksar Ghilene via the Chott el-Jerid and Douz. This journey was amazing completely different to what we've seen so far, the salt lake was breath taking and the colours created in the water and salt were brill. We did not stop in Douz but headed straight for Ksar. Glad we hired a 4 x 4 for this part of the journey as it got a bit bumpy as the sand had blown on to the road. Not as expected - thought area would be a small town but instead a few houses was to be found. Initially we had planned to go on a Camel ride in Douz but instead we took one here.

Posted by alikatd 16.09.2007 14:36 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

It's hot

Really. It's hot.

sunny 30 °C

Headin' south. Got up at 6a, yesterday... or not today anyway, time has got a little muddled now... and caught the train to El Jem. Which left at 10am so we had time to kill. Excitment at the station when there was a loud bang and then people were crying and the police were clearing us out, declaring 'accident!', but we don't know what happened. I reckon someone fell off the (high) train and landed on someone else! Anyway, a kid tried to help us with our bags, suspicious now we didn't accept but he stuck to his guns, led us the wrong way, grabbed for our bags and demended money. He left empty handed.

El Jem fantastic, and the museum pretty cool too, best bit was sitting up near the top listening to the call to prayer from the half dozen Mosques below. I held a camel but again a post-event charge was incurred. Then we ate pizza at Chez Faruch, which was OK; better than Alison's kebab at lunch anyway. Afterwards, we spent time watching sunset at the Colloseum and then chilled, but when all the local kids started demanding money we headed off, bought a drink and went to the station to catch last train to Tozeur. Then things got surreal as a woman struck up the first genuine friendly chat of the holiday... or so we thought: half an hour later she was asking us to pretend we knew her, send her an invitation to the UK so she could find work. We promised to help; I suspect we won't.

Arrived Tozeur 6am and checked into first hotel we saw, its hot, really, really hot and our aircon is broken. But on the plus side The town is kinda cool, unique brickwork great minarets and old town, tonight we're looking for a famous museum and some supposedly great rocks. Tomorrow probably hiring a 4x4 and going desert and salt lake, should be good, not cheap mind. Also, no-one trying to rip us off anymore! closest thing was a kid looking for chewing gum, so we're much happier.

Oh and its apparantly Ramadan, though dates given vary I'm pretty sure its started now. Only allowed to eat / drink in secret for fear of upsetting people!

Posted by urchinjoe 13.09.2007 14:18 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Tunis

Teaching the Hungarians a thing or two in Tunis

sunny 26 °C

We arrived in Tunis yesterday, and so far we have been fleeced twice and nearly robbed once and almost sold a drum / lamp / vase by a man who had "a brother in Cumbria". Robber was clever but needs to practice his vanishing trick as we could both see the coin he'd palmed. fleecers include the friendly local who, having told us about a great viewing spot - this much was true - proceeded to ruin our photo opportunities, try to sell us perfume, and then demand payment for the trouble. but I outfoxed him as my wallet was empty, which I showed him! heh.

Yesterday we went to the Medina which is kinda like something from Arabian Nights but with Arsenal shirts, the great (Zaytouna) Mosque - closed, especially to infidels - and a rooftop view (no photos), oh also parliament square where a heroin addict said he hated "President Blair" but liked England. Dinner was excellent, in great atmosphere and large portions, if a little pricier than we'd aim for. Venue: Andalous on Rue de Marseille.

Today we went to Carthage, pretty ruinous but some great bits, my favourite was the old baths and the Cathedral, also checked out the museum, ports (historic) and sacrificial grounds. Train conductor fleeced us. These guys are on a constant mission to rob us and its not so much a case of "you buy" as "too late my friend, you already bought!"

Tomorrow we hope we're heading for Douz, bus permitting... tourist info wouldn't tell us times but did try to sell us a tour for 100 quid! If not maybe go to El'Jem instead, or just chill by the coast for a day and swim in the Med.

Posted by urchinjoe 18:53 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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