Travel: Picture ideal in Tunisia

My revisit to Tunisia started with a benediction of glow in a locals’ proceed of doing business.

It happened like this: spotting a camel on a Mediterranean beach shortly after nearing during a hotel, we done a beeline for a savage so we could have my design taken with it.

Quick as a flash, a camel motorist got a animal to do that thing where it drops to a knees to concede someone to stand on board, and before we knew it we was perched precariously on top.

After small some-more than 60 seconds, my astonishing and vulgar camel float was over, and we was behind on a sand.

No doubt naively, we suspicion that would be a finish of a matter, yet not a bit of it.

“Give me money!” pronounced a camel driver.

Now, since a Tunisian dinar is a sealed banking – definition income can usually be exchanged in a republic itself – we told him we usually had English income on me, yet he was not deterred.

I offering him a £10 note, yet instead he demanded £20, that we handed over shamefully easily.

Wiser and extremely poorer, we done my proceed behind to a hotel.

It valid a salubrious knowledge as it positively had a outcome of putting me on my ensure for a rest of a trip.

For Tunisia, with a ancestral souks and Medina quarters, is a republic that loves to dispatch and sell we things we never even knew we wanted.

The bespoke and handmade equipment on arrangement embody kitchenware, carpets, lamps, leather goods, garments and jewellery, along with each accumulation of trinket and souvenir.

Over centuries of knowledge upheld from era to generation, marketplace traders in a narrow, bustling alleyways of Tunisian souks have learnt each pretence in a book when it comes to removing unfamiliar visitors to partial with their cash.

Naked flattery, cajolement, chaff – all play their part.

Traders will fasten on to we straightaway, with or but eye contact.

Unless we are honestly interested, it is best simply to keep walking, while creation a accessible retort of your own.

For, however persistent, those who make their vital in a souks are never intimidating or threatening.

Some of a ones we encountered even cheerfully cried “Lovely jubbly!” or “Have a butchers!” as we walked past.

Alan Weston on a camel
Alan Weston on a camel

The republic itself, sandwiched between a dual hulk states of Algeria and Libya on a North African coast, is a melting pot of Muslim, Arabic, and African influences.

It belongs to a “Mahgrebian” countries – a name given to a western partial of a Arabic world.

At usually 150 miles wide, Tunisia is a smallest of these nations.

It is deliberate a prosaic country, even yet a Atlas Mountain operation crosses a borders.

By distant a infancy of a race live in a north, that is a richest partial of a republic in terms of agriculture.

As with other countries of such vital importance, Tunisia has been assigned by many opposite people and cultures over a centuries – Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and lastly of all a French, before finally gaining autonomy in 1956.

The many civilisations migrating by a segment over a ages have left their symbol on a internal food.

The cuisine is a heady brew of French, Spanish, Italian and Jewish influences that emanate some singular and colourful flavours.

Tunisia today is eminent for a loose proceed of life, and a easy-going spirit of a people.

The “Arab spring” started here, with a array of streets named after a date of a array – Jan 14, 2011.

Unlike a reduction advantageous neighbours, a eventuality was mostly pacific and has not led to a lives of a race being incited upside down.

On a aspect during least, all seems to be ease and people are usually removing on with their lives.

The usually pointer that anything competence be astray with a economy is a high array of half-built houses by a side of a roads.

Apparently, a builders ran out of income before they could finish them.

However, we are still never authorised to forget this is a Muslim country.

There can be few things some-more Arabic than sitting in a souk being shown Tunisian carpets while a sound of a call to request wafts in from a circuitously minaret.

Despite a generally laidback proceed of a some-more urbanised areas, not all places offer alcohol, and women are suggested to dress reasonably in open places, and generally when visiting holy buildings.

Our bottom for a outing was Hammamet, creatively a Roman allotment called Pupput.

Since those ancient times a city has been invaded and staid many times.

During a 20th century, famous writers such as Oscar Wilde and Gustave Flaubert enjoyed a strand elegance and admitted it to be sky on earth.

The violence heart of Hammamet is a aged Medina, along with a overwhelming whitewashed coastline.

Hammamet has a possess upmarket traveller review – a recently built Yasmine Hammamet – that was my bottom via a trip.

Here we will find lush hotels, boutiques and restaurants, as good as a monumental marina.

The Hotel Hasdrubal Thalassa Spa, where we stayed, strictly has a largest apartment in a world, according to a Guinness Book of Records.

At 1,542 block metres, it has played horde to an heterogeneous array of internationally famous, and infamous, guests, including Mariah Carey, Antonio Banderas, and Colonel Gaddafi.

Our channel also took in a collateral city of Tunis, where a streets are a demonstration of cars, taxis, mopeds, smoothness vehicles and pedestrians, all pity a same slight space with remarkably good humour.

By proceed of finish contrast, a circuitously archaeological hull of Carthage were roughly deserted.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a place abounding in ancient story – it was a fabulous home of a Phoenician queen, Dido, who was famously dumped by her partner Aeneas.

Its ruler Hannibal also dared to plea a competence of Rome, before a city was finally razed to a belligerent by a Romans in 146BC.

Meanwhile a lifelike encampment of Sidi Bou Said, with a particular Moorish design of blue and white houses, offers some overwhelming views over a Bay of Tunis from a plcae on tip of a high cliff.

The encampment has been a source of impulse to scores of internationally eminent artists, including a American Paul Klee with his Journey to Tunis.

With a kasbahs and souks, Tunisia is a republic abounding in regretful associations of a outlandish and puzzling East for a western traveller.

It offers a glance into a fascinating culture, and – distinct so many countries in this flighty segment – it can be enjoyed in roughly finish confidence and comfort, supposing some easy common clarity is applied.


Alan Weston stayed in Tunisia as a guest of a Tunisian National Tourist Office and Monarch Airlines.

Monarch, a scheduled convenience airline, is handling new flights to Enfidha-Hammamet airfield from Manchester and London Gatwick airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £59.49 one proceed (£127.98 return).

In serve to flights, Monarch also now offers a outrageous operation of holidays, accommodation options, automobile sinecure and transport insurance.

For serve information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, greatfully visit

For some-more information on Hasdrubal Thalassa Spa hotel, visit

For information on what’s function in Tunisia, greatfully visit

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