I have aquired myself a brother-in-law. Last week my younger, and only, sister Hannah married Stuart Munn on the Greek island of Rhodes. I flew out to the island to be a guest at their wedding. It didn’t feel very holiday like was I was only there for four nights however it was a lovely ceremony and the island itself, while excessively hot at the moment, was nice.
Stuart managed to leave the rings in the hotel room safe and had to run up many flights of stairs in order to rescue them. In 30’c heat. Just before the ceremony was due to start. Oh how we laughed. He returned saying “Don’t anybody tell Hannah, she will kill me”.
On the day before I was due to fly back to the UK my parents and I visited Rhodes town, looking around the harbour and also the old town. The Knights of St John spent over two hundred years in Rhodes and built a large castle, called the Grand Master’s Palace, next to the harbour. This building, and in fact the entire walls of the old town, were very impressive and you could imagine soldiers having sword fights on the huge marble covered staircase.
I have just got back from a short holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes. More on that later but for now I thought I would share this photo that I took while in the Valley of the Butterflies. It reminded me of the Banksy painting shown on the right.
The Bardo Museum in a suburb of Tunis really requires far more time than the hour we were given to look around. A former royal palace of the Bay and added to over many centuries the building is unremarkable from the outside apart from its imposing size. However the inside is filled with mosaics, wonderfully carved and painted ceilings, statues and tablets from the ancient world. You are filled with horror as you realise that you are standing on and walking over mosaics that are equally as intricate as the ones that are roped off or hanging on the walls.
Four days of my Tunisia holiday behind me and I find myself waking up in my hotel bedroom wondering what to do with the day. I end up spending most of it on the beach and at the bar, relaxing the day away with a good book. The hotel has an entertainment staff of around 10 young adults. The hotel refers to them as the Animation Team and they are responsible for making sure you have fun while you are on holiday. They organise dance sessions, put on a cabaret, bingo and a variety of other things for the kids. The most impressive thing about the animation team is their ability to switch fluently between five or six different languages including English, French, Arabic, German, Italian and Spanish. Multi-language bingo is something that has to be experienced at least once. Monday evening heralded a search for dinner that ended with a trip to a restaurant next door to the hotel called Restaurant Bedouina. I had a gorgeous fillet steak and I would recommend the restaurant to anyone visiting the area.
With Tozeur behind we used 4x4s to travel in convoy up into the mountains, stopping at Chebika to see the natural oasis and waterfalls fed from springs. We hiked up further into the mountain and saw the source of the spring feeding the oasis. All the way up, and it is quite a tourist spot, local children were offering rocks split in half with various coloured crystals inside for only 1TD. Our guide for this section of the trip had a lazy eye which made it very difficult to look at him while he was speaking. The original Berber village of Chebika was destroyed during flooding in 1969. Only the walls of the houses remain while the new village was constructed a few kilometres down the road.This area, and further on towards Tamerza, features a large canyon. I have never been to the Grand Canyon in the US but a young English couple I met on the bus told me that I needn’t bother since this one in Tunisia was just as good. I have never seen anything as large or as impressive. It really brings GCSE geography lessons to life, showing the different layers of rock and how they have been shifted over the millennia to form the hills and valleys. From the top of one of the hills you can look out across the desert and see the Algerian boarder, not that there is anything to de-mark it other than the edge of an oasis. Continue reading
Eight hours and countless kilometres later our coach arrives at Hotel Les Dunes on the outskirts of Souk Lahad. You get the impression that the hotel is only ever used by tour groups who arrive in the evening and depart again early in the morning. The hotel was empty apart from our group, the discotheque had only two people in it. My bed consisted of a tiled shelf, about a foot and a half above the floor, upon which rested two single mattresses. It felt very strange climb onto the shelf, walk to the head of the mattress, and then settle down for sleep.
Tunisia 2007 Part 3
Travelling into the south of Tunisia on the GP1 you will notice five litre containers of liquid being sold on the side of the road. They are usually stacked on top of planks of wood and barrels. These actually contain petrol that the locals have bought in Libya, where the price of fuel is very low, and then imported into Tunisia. There are hundreds of these unofficial petrol stations along the road. You pull up in your car and they will put a funnel into the fuel tank, tip the petrol into the funnel, and then charge you less than the Esso or Mobil price.
5am Saturday morning the phone in my hotel bedroom rings. Groggily I answer it and the overly cheerful switchboard operator wishes me good morning and informs me that this is my wake-up call. I quickly ready myself and head down to the lobby where I meet up with Keith. 5.25am the coach arrives and we are first on, reserving the front two seats for ourselves for the rest of the two day tour of South Tunisia and the Sahara Desert.
I have just returned from a week long holiday in Tunisia and I must say it was bloody marvellous.
Tunisia is a North African country bordering Libya to the east and Algeria to the west. 40% of the country is in the Sahara Desert while the more prosperous and fertile north is divided from the south by the Atlas mountain range.
I stayed in a package-holiday hotel just outside of the tourist town of Hammamet. The hotel was rated four stars and had all the usual things such as pools, bars, sauna, spa and hammam. The beach and the Mediterranean Sea was only a short five minute walk away.
I am off to Tunisia this week, if you want a post card then send me your address I can’t guarantee it will be of a camel.