23 Jun 2012


This time we all sat in the bus at 7 am, to drive 200 km from Kairouan to Tunis the capital of Tunesia

along the highway we saw storks which had built their nests on electricity pylons ! It was so funny to see a stork nest on each pylon ! 

Then we arrived in Tunis around 10.30 am, and our guide took us to the Medina, the old town center. It looked like a Souk, one junk shop besides the other and we were quickly fed up to see all the time the same things. As usual he didn't explain nothing about the history of this place, and when somebody asked a question he didn't know. He increased the inhabitants of Tunis from 2,412,500 inhabitants to 9 million, when somebody asked him how big the city was. As nobody knew better we believed it. Except me, because since he mixed up tomatoes with melons and pretended that a river was dry because Algeria had cut the water off (!!) I checked with dear Wikipedia and learned that whole Tunesia has just under 10.7 million inhabitants !

In the "Medina" the wallet of a man of our group was stolen by a pickpocket, with all his papers and even the flight ticket. How stupid of him not to have left at least his passport and flight ticket in the bus !
Our little mad guide lost completely his head and ran around like a headless chicken. Finally the driver took the situation over and helped the guy to go the police to inform them that the papers were stolen etc etc. which made us wait for 2 h in the bus, while our efficient guide called his boss to ask what to do and how to change the program !

Finally they tried to catch up the lost time and we had Spaghettis as lunch in a 3* hotel, which was awful. In these North African countries you have to have 4* to get a correct hotel.

After the Spaghettis he took us to the Bardo National Museum without knowing the opening and closing times so that we arrived rather late and had to run through the museum, fortunately the guide there was a nice Tunisian girl, but our efficient guide had to translate for the Flemish speaking people, although they all understood French. Question of principles. Therefore our guide translated everything what the girl said into dutch/flemish, by adding things the girl hadn't even said. Result was nobody listened and went away taking pictures !

When our Marathon run through the Bardo museum was over we were driven to the Roman ruins of Carthage There he continued to explain flowers and some stones but very few about the history of the site. We decided to take photos and read the history later ! What you see on the pictures is an overlook and I am sitting on a urn of I don't know whom, I didn't know the guide only told me that later. I hope the ashes of the Roman was not upset by my bottom on his ashes.

When we finished our running through the ruins fortunately without any incident, he took a not very happy group back to the coach and we drove to Sidi Bou Said, a very charming little old town, the houses all paint white and the windows and doors in blue.

We visited one house of a wealthy family which had now transformed their house into a little museum. It was the best thing I really have enjoyed ! Of course I will write about this very special home later.

Tomorrow the roundtrip is over and I hope our guide will return to school to learn a little more about his country ! Besides reading 5 times his program without keeping it, and sleeping during the trip, he wasn't a big help ! I had never ever had such a lousy roundtrip ! First thing I do when I come home is to write to our travel agency, to tell them that it is better if we take a book about Tunesia along instead of  an incompetent guy with black outs ! I certainly have some funny stories to tell later !

22 Jun 2012


We left Tozeur at 6 am, which meant that we had to get up at 5 !!

The last evening some of the group went to a  water pipe cafe, I stayed in the hotel, but on the picture we faked to smoke some apple or mint herbs.  It was a little hard to get up, but we had to do about 330 km !

We drove through a boring landscape and listened (or not) to little mad man our guide which becomes more strange everyday. He forgets everything and makes such stupid comments like "everybody is still sleeping (in a village) and we saw all men driving with donkeys or bikes to work ! From far we saw the Atlas mountains and when we asked him if these were the Atlas mountains he answered, yes these are mountains. We slowly get crazy with this guy. He has blackouts, repeats things several times and otherwise sleeps with his microphone at his mouth on his seat ! Fortunately we have our driver otherwise we would be lost !

The little villages were very sparsely located, and there were not many houses. We saw a lot of sheep and mostly farmers working on their fields.

We had to drive through a market which was very crowded. On the top left you see a Berber woman in her traditional costume which is very beautiful. The worst for us was to see all these poor sheep squeezed on the top of little trucks, in this awful heat. Nicole was tired and slept most of the time. She preferred to close her eyes and not see these animal transports !

Finally we arrived at our first destination to visit, the Roman Ruins of Sbeitla which are the best the best preserved Forum temples in Tunisia. I thought that the Romans really have been everywhere at least wherever I go ! It was very interesting to visit, one had a book which explained the ruins and explained to the others, I found a nice man sitting besides me on the above picture who lives there and knew really everything and even more. Our little mad man, was lost in his explanations, nobody understood what he said and finally he stopped talking, stood there in the heat and looked around. We had to tell him that we should go back to the bus !! Apparently he had suffered from a stroke, but then he shouldn't have accepted such a tiring and responsible job ! I only hope that he doesn't collapse !

After the Roman ruins, we visited the Great Mosque of Kairouan

It was really very big and it was so hot inside the courtyard from all these walls and colons reflecting the heat. Some of us had to get Kaftans, because they were not properly dressed. I mean at home they wouldn't go to church in shorts and sleeveless T-shirts either. Of course we laughed a lot because they looked so funny.

Exhausted we finally arrived at our hotel to have lunch, could just rest from 2 to 4 and then went off again to see the  The Aghlabid Basins a huge Claussium which is still standing and is one of the most complete of its kind around the Mediterranean sea. There my battery gave up its soul despite the fact that I had loaded it each evening. Probably because of the heat.  Unfortunately I had forgotten my spare battery at home I had to use my other camera, and of course I can't download any picture.

We also went to  the Mausoleum of Sidi Sahab, generally known as the Mosque of the Barber, where a wedding was celebrated. Very interesting unfortunately I can't show the pictures that will be for later.

After 1 1/2 h in the noisy city center in a Souk, I just had supper and then disappeared in this nice room, to finally rest a bit !

21 Jun 2012


Today was a lazy day for me, I didn't move at all and spent the whole morning with Nicole and Dominique at the swimming pool of the hotel.

After lunch it was so hot, that I had to stay inside the Hotel and did some Blog work and sorted out my pictures. The temperature was again 50°C (122 F)  !

Late afternoon the others went with a Landrover to an Oasis, which I had seen already so I stayed at the beach and read my book. There was nobody else and I had the whole swimming pool all to myself.

Amongst the pictures I took from "my" camel I found this one.

Apparently he loved my presence because he rolled around in the sand like a cat !

20 Jun 2012


Again we were on the road by 8, but this time a little later we had only 180 km to drive. Our guide turned out to be completely incompetent, and doesn't know anything about history. He "explains" in Dutch and French, then forgets in which language he had explained that we are driving towards the salt lake, which everybody knew as it is written in the program. Then he would explain twice in Dutch or twice in French and the people started to get fed up ! Explanations like we are in the desert now or there are palm trees ahead, are very useful especially when you have noticed them already since 10 min.

We drove along little villages and on the road men were selling petrol in jerrycans for the cars or trucks ther were no gaz station around. Looked quiet funny when you saw the drivers filling in the tanks with jerrycans !

Before we arrived at the salt lake, we stopped for a horse buggy ride to an oasis, but we three had been experienced this already several times so we preferred to sit down in a local cafe and have a coffee. Our guide tried to squeeze extra excursions, payable of course, into the program which included everything. We had a nice time in this local cafe where men played cards, the owner offered us a bouquet of mint, and got paper tissues for Dominique whose nose was running. We weren't bothered at all, nobody tried to sell us something, they were just asking where we came from.

Meanwhile the others came back from their ride, which had been very disappointing, the buggies were awful, everybody had pity with the horses and the "Oasis" had been just a few palm trees. So we had done well.

Finally we arrived at Chott El Jerid the famous salt lake where you can see fata morganas. There was a shop with all kind of stuff from sand roses to dried desert animals and of course some carpets too.

The place itself was very beautiful and amazing, it looked sometimes like snow. On some of the salt hills they had put very nice sculptures with material they had found in the desert.

The colors were white, or a light blue, or pink. I had seen such a landscape already in the States but can't remember the name !

Finally we arrived at 1pm at the hotel Golden Yasmin, where we stay for two nights. It is very beautiful and fortunately has air conditioning because it is awfully hot 40°C !

We had just two hours to rest at the swimming pool when our crazy guide took us to Tozeur the town where we stayed at 4 pm !! where the temperature reached 50°C and of course everything was closed in this heat. He didn't know that the market took only place in the morning and that the shops would only reopen in the evening ! We turned around in the small streets where it was even more hot; he asked a friend to open his shop for us, but nobody did buy anything, we were all very upset.

Then he asked the driver to take us to a "Olive tree" museum (of course not included in the program) where one of our men in the group lost his temper ! He told him what we all thought and called the travel agency. There the little guy got mad and called his boss, the driver a very nice man took the situation in his hands, explained what all can be done with an olive tree, and sent the little mad man away. Unfortunately he didn't find another victim but poor Nicole who listened patiently to him telling her what a wonderful guide he was etc etc. Nicole said nothing and just sat there and looked at the palm trees. And I and the others stayed with the driver. It was really such a comical situation !

We came back rather late at past 7 pm and then he wanted to take us to a Berber show with horses and belly dances at 7.30, not even time for a shower after this awful heat. Of course this was also not included. Fortunately Nicole and I stayed in the hotel chatting with some others from the group, and had a very nice evening. Dominique came back, disappointed, it wasn't at all what she had expected and the couscous was rather for tourists and not made for the locals.

and so ended our third day!

19 Jun 2012


The morning started at 5.30 am and  unfortunately this time internet didn't work ! We climbed in our bus at 7 and started our long trip to the desert. It should be the longest day during the whole round trip.
450 km !

Our first stop was the Arena of El Djem which the Romans had built to entertain themselves by watching Gladiators to be killed by tigers or other wild animals or amongst themselves

I thought we should built one for all politicians in the world who want wars so that they can fight each other personally and we people would just watch them killing each other. I had a dream ....

The next stop was in a little town at the sea, not much to see besides some very original sculptures

We had a very welcomed strong Tunesian coffee there and then continued our way

We arrived in Matmata where some Berbers are still living in these houses built in the rocks. There are not many left, younger people prefer to move into modern houses.

We had lunch in this beautiful restaurant and I ate one of the best Couscous I have ever eaten in my life !

The boring and very long route took us to the desert

where we made a camel ride to watch the sunset. Besides that the camel ride was fun, the sunset less, we were too early and then there were very noisy jeeps and quads which disturbed the natural beauty, it was rather disappointing. Dominique rode also on a horse together with a berber and was excited like a little girl so much fun she had. Unfortunately she thought she had lost her money, but that's a story I have to tell later because it was so unbelievable !

Half dead we finally arrived in Douz and stayed there in the hotel Sahra, this time we had no twin beds and the hairdryer broke into two pieces.

18 Jun 2012


Finally the day of our departure had arrived and we left a cold and rainy Brussels at 12 am to arrive at  Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport in Tunesia at around 2 pm in beautiful hot weather

The bus drivers were waiting for the tourists to drive them into their hotels. Between waiting for the others of or group which would come with us on the same round trip and the chatting between the drivers and other confusions, we spent 2 h in or outside the bus at the airport.

The airport is very new, was only built in 2007 and opened in 2009.

Finally we arrived at our hotel and immediately had a problem. Dominique and I had booked one room together and Nicole our friend a single room. As there was no single room they proposed us the "Royal Suite" ! When we saw this enormous appartment, with a separate bedroom and twin beds we of course agreed.

At the first glance it really looked very nice. At a closer look, we saw that the towel holders were broken, the toilet separated from the bathroom was overflowed with water each time you took a shower.

Doesn't it look beautiful ?

When I went to bed there was suddenly a loud noise and a big "crack" and the bed broke ! We put two thick blankets under the mattress to keep it straight and fortunately I was so tired that I slept very well.

Of course first thing in the morning was to tell them that the bed needed to be repaired or replaced, which they promised to do right away.

So far so good and the whole group went to the nearby town Sousse to walk through the city and souks and also the habor of Port El Kantaoui.

It was not so interesting as we had seen already similar things in Morocco and Turkey and the souk wasn't very colorful neither. The people are all very friendly and full of humor. We laughed a lot and had a great time. At noon we were driven back to the hotel.

Entering our room we stated with quiet some surprise that the bed was made nicely even with a little decoration, but it was still broken !

Our royal suite was really a royal joke. We three burst out in laughter ! I decided not to complain anymore it wouldn't have changed anything, we put my mattress on the floor and I would camp royally on the floor. Anyway tomorrow at 7 am we leave for the biggest part of the whole round trip 450 km !

After lunch we enjoyed the sun at the swimming pool, where some beds were broken, no bath towels available and everything looked a little neglected. As it is a 4* hotel, I wonder how a 3* one looks like !

Anyway we made the best out of what we got and had a great time at the swimming pool. I also wore for the first time the beautiful scarf which Jo from Tanzania had brought me when we met for the first time in London. It's very useful !

These were the first 2 days of our roundtrip, which will really start tomorrow.

Maybe everything breaks down in the Hotel Hotel Royal Jinene, but internet connection was very good !