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Travelling Tunisia

Travelling Tunisia

tunisia-ksar-ouled-soltaneEver since the Star Wars sagas were filmed, Tunisia has been the Mecca for the fans and an exotic excursion for those that have never seen the movies…these people must be Trekies.

Tunisia is packaged similarly to Egypt, seems agencies group tours by the amount of sand is on offer with a majority of tourists being herded like goats to the towering hotels lining Hammamet.

But I wanted the colourful cultural experience that wouldn’t make me cry when I looked at my wallet. So I checked out forums and looked for the cheapest flights to Enfidha to get me from the coast of Port El Kantaoui-Sousse to the collection of whitewashed buildings teetering atop hills along Tunisia’s Mediterranean coastline, Sidi Bou Said.


The Good

Tunisia is a pot of deliciousness with a unique blend of Arab, French, Mediterranean and Oriental aroma’s, which is evident in the food that is available. People generally say that “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” well, I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying and I ate everything, but then again I have a stomach like a cement mixer.

The clutter, chaos and sensory assault of the Medinas in a labyrinth of people and alleys filled with curios, food, clothing and perfume. I walked (I say walked but it’s more like a confident stride through tides of people), stared at the beauty of the Mosques, Madrassas (Islam Clerical Colleges) and coves of craftsman (I haven’t seen such workmanship from blacksmiths and carpenters anywhere else outside of Kent, where I grew up) was an exhilarating and over-whelming experience.

I took the train a good part of the way, mainly because I’m used to it, they’re cheap and you’re less likely to get run over by a camel.


The Bad

I’ve never seen the desert treated like an amusement park before and the hordes of tourists visiting film sets. Douz and Tozeur were once oasis getaways but I just wanted to get away. The stumpy palm trees were all that was left of the true desert experience, amongst the hotels, swimming pools and saunas…seriously?! You’re in the desert…

Not knowing what things cost can be a bit of a pain. Haggling is second nature and therefore, rarely is there a set price to anything. If there is one, don’t trust it. If you were a local, you’d know whether something was overpriced but as a tourist, go with your gut and offer half of what they’re asking. If ‘no sale’, walk on by and I can guarantee you’ll find another camel skin iPad bag at another stall.


The Fugly



Haggle well (It’s part of their culture…it’d be rude not to, I kept telling myself) and you’ll get good deals. Anything and everything is negotiable. I would recommend going dry for your trip, I was drinking a few beers every day and regretted it, alcohol is expensive unless it’s duty-free Vodka.

Taxi rides are really cheap as long as you keep your eye on the meter and always pay with loose change, I learnt this the hard way, when I paid with Dinar 20 notes and received no change…people will always assume you’re tipping.

Always bring sunblock. Ask your local pharmacy if they stock “Nuclear SPF Ba-jillion”, my friend, you are going to need it.