Two weeks in Tunisia with Overseas Adventure Travel (oattravel.com). If you decide to investigate, PLEASE USE MY NAME as a referral! You save $100 per traveler in your reservation and I'll get a $100 discount on my next trip.
Started by sitting at the wrong gate - but figured it out before I was left behind Left Paris in the rain - first glimpse of tourquoise water and blue sky was finally as we approaced Tunis. Triving from the airport - first impressions. 'Home' for first 4 nights.
Roof Terrace of the Hotel Belvedere, Tunis View from the Terrace Looks pretty and worthy of exploration. Housekeeping is very welcoming
View from the taxi to La Marsa - in search of a gallery I read about. Wandering around La Marsa getting a sense of it while looking for the gallery Beautiful cofe IMG 3780
And then we found the Gallery "El Marsa Galeri" with a complicated and amazing wooden door. (this image was online.  The door when we got there had a grate in front of it and was hard to see.) found El Marsa Gallery - lots of really cool contemporary art, no signage but a very friendly propietor knew all about all the art.  This is a private galley well placed for the populationm of La Marsa, a well-heeled suburb of Tunis. I was very much attracted to this one. IMG 3767
IMG 3766 Scene outside And here is the Med IMG 3790
A rather odd structure built in different eras, probably a restaurant but currently not open. The Liberty monument created after the independence from the French was one in 1957 We entered the medina in the jewelry section, a very important part of all marriages. IMG 3804
IMG 3805 IMG 3802 some traditional men's dresses for special occasions. IMG 3797
They are handmade to size in multiprocessed stages. IMG 3834 If one needs a break during the shopping expeditions. IMG 3828
IMG 3827 I was drawn to the mosaic on the wall in this area of the medina full of cafés. Looking out through one of the many gates The first of these studded doors found throughout the country
They tend to be either gold colored, green, or blue Previously a Madrassa inside the medina, this airy building was now hosting some student artworks. IMG 3814 IMG 3820
Interior rooms are exquisite Looking Up IMG 3818 IMG 3821
IMG 3824 One of the entrences into the mosque that forms the center of the medina. IMG 3831 IMG 3843
Some of the houses originally build around the mosque and the souks are now converted to guest house and restaurants.  Some still have people living in them. IMG 3849 IMG 3850 As we leave the medina we are offered tea
Just out sideone of the gates busy markets thrive. One 'antiquities' shop had many old radios IMG 3857 The gate that demarcates part of the wall at this end of the messina
We ate dinner at one of these once-fine houses, Dar El Jeid,  which was opulant to the extreme.  By the time we left all tables were full. IMG 3867 The candles are lit, one by one. An arabian zither (with player) set the musical atmosphere.
first courses are prepped here Dinner is served. IMG 3873 IMG 3868
And we walk out in the magic of a Night in Tunisia (had to get thT IN) Government Center at night Day 3 a morning busride to Dougga, the ancient Carthiginian City built over by the Romans. IMG 3883
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IMG 3909 The Loo I didn't seem to get the hang of it! 5d8c5bab-9f63-4f3e-b5eb-3e60a74d09de
IMG 3913 IMG 3914 On the road back from Dougga we stop to talk to some herb sellers - they go out in the morning and gather the wild herbs 9rosemary, thyme, mint, etc., chop it and package it and generally sell out by evening. Next door the kids take on the job
We stop in the market town of Testour IMG 3939 IMG 3941 IMG 3943
An unusual mosque Stars of David represent the towns founding by both Jews and Muslims escaping from Spain.  They've coexisted for hundreds of years. IMG 3949 Day 4 We visit a farm in Majaz Al Bab where we help cook and then eat dinner later while meeting the family, Magid and his wife Souad, and two of their three sons - all highly educated engineers of one type or another
IMG 3962 Souad showing how she prepares herb tea Souad points out the olive oil tank for the family. the formal dining room
living room We go out in the dtizzle to visit the market IMG 3975 IMG 3976
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IMG 3987 IMG 3997 And then we all get our instructions on preparing the various dishes we'll be eating. Younger son is grilling the peppers and tomatoes that we will peel and smash up to make my new most favorite salad: Mechouia
First you peel; then you pound Kathleen being shown how to prep the filling for the Briks Mtri joins in the cookie prep. IMG 4026
Making the Fatima Fingers IMG 4066 the couscous Up to the roof to get a view of their olive trees
IMG 4045 Gifts left by prior visitors. A fond fairwell (Trip leader Mtir in the foreground) The terasse is a nice place for pre or post- gatherings
And back to out hotel terrace, view to some street art. Flying south to Djerba for the next two nights. I love the choice of rental cars... First site after the airport
Why shouldn't pre-school building be painted with child-art? Djerba a very old place that was once a defended 'safe' area for those escaping persicution and is now known as a resort island - still there are descendents of original famililes here, Jews and arabs, and as you can see, cats. IMG 4077 IMG 4078
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IMG 4090 We stop for coffee waiting for the rain to lighten - photographs for sale are priced as if in the US. IMG 4098 IMG 4115 - copy
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IMG 4115 The Venice of Tunisia? Interesting sculpture IMG 4119
And then a visit to the synagogue.  This has become a place of Jewish pilgramage IMG 4123 IMG 4121 IMG 4125
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And then a visit to a pottery IMG 4151 IMG 4144 The Med
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Now at a silversmiths waiting for a ring to be made smaller for me. Leaving Djerba's medina - a church and a synagoge side by side Driving along the sea to our lunch stop IMG 4163
Sculptures made from cactus fibers - at the gallery - restaurant where we ate lunch IMG 4160 IMG 4159 IMG 4134
More sea views IMG 4165 Stopping at the market to buy wine. IMG 4186
Part of the dinner buffet at the Royal Gardens - a rather over the top resort hotel that looked to me very much like an Egyptian cruiseship on land. IMG 4172 IMG 4173 IMG 4176
IMG 4175 IMG 4174 The surf at night aunrise
morning coffee Where we are and where we're visiting today. The causeway off the island - the old Roman Road, with pipes bringing fresh water to Djerba IMG 4191
IMG 4193 Passing a typical cafe - with men hard at work. A visit to Ksar Hedada which featured in Star Wars The Phantom Visit to the Ksar Hedada - featured in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and now a hotel.
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IMG 4212 IMG 5867 IMG 4220 I often make new friends when I travel
IMG 4221 IMG 4223 IMG 4225 Short visit to Ksar Hedada (featured in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace', and now a hotel.
A local shop that makes the delicious Tunisien sweets we were served for the rest of the trip. IMG 4234 More troglodyte dwellings IMG 4242
More troglodyte homes and here's where we were going for lunch. IMG 4260 IMG 4254
The two sisters who own the house, living there with their mother, and run a restaurant for travelers. IMG 4257 IMG 4256 IMG 4255
The sisters preparing our lunch IMG 4263 IMG 4264 IMG 4269
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And now we leave Djerba for a 4 hour drive into the sand desert - broken by a couple of interesting stops. views out the window. FullSizeRender coming into Tatuoine - a troglodite village
IMG 4308 First stop: a mountain village where we are shown how the lamb is cooked and prepped for their schwarma-like dish. IMG 4292 The cafe.
An antique flusing unit for the old loo Learning about the Berber traditions of facial tattoos for women, still evident in some elders today Mtir is explaning aboutthe prorietor's scarf. Café terrace overlooking the mountain scenery
this sub-ground dwelling has been partially converted into a guest house/hotel run by the family . Arrival at the other Star Wars set, an in-the-ground troglodyte village now famous for its hollywood history. I like to peek inside doorways IMG 4327
IMG 4328 Tripmate, Larry, relaxing after a hard morning. Another mural showing Berber women's green tattoos representing their marital status The Berber Alphabet (different from the Arabic one which is much more difficult to manage).
Explanation/demo of how rainwater tanks found in every home are used. IMG 4284 IMG 4316 IMG 4311
IMG 4307 IMG 4304 IMG 4315 Where we are having lunch
IMG 4334 Looking into living spaces IMG 4342 They were expecting us
c72638b6-2ef8-4b3a-9869-a8682ad067fa Delicious Shatsucka (plus homemade bread and salad) Passage to the outside Leaving the troglodyte villages and heading for the sand desert now
A little problem with one of the 4x4s and the shifed sand. Our 'orientation' to our tent city IMG 4365 IMG 4366
Pre-sundown toasting - Not a bad way to spend my birthday! Happy Hour for sure IMG 4373 IMG 4374
IMG 4377 Turns out Mtil is also a musician Stirring the ashes over our dinner Be sure to watch this to the end!!!
Here's the main course right out of the sand.  Warm and delicious Here's that lamb you saw being unburied HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME - in the middle of the desert!
My sleeping quarters full facilites including electricity And now a 4x4 caravan to the camel ride IMG 4391
IMG 4389 Camel spotting And here are our rides Yeah, that's me - the hump was so high I could reach the 'handlebars'...
IMG 4427 IMG 4419 IMG 4422 And now time for lunch in a local home on the way to Tozeur
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Stopped to see Chott el Jerid, the largest salt lake in the Sahara Desert. IMG 4458 Also pretty close Algeria (maybe my next trip?) Shelter and storeroom?
Definitely the Loos Quite an amazing accommodation.  Individual cottages on stilts with breakfast served onto our private balconies. IMG 4474 IMG 4463
Common dining room / lounge wtih whimsical decor IMG 4470 IMG 4471 IMG 4468
IMG 4469 IMG 4466 Gardens The cats
After a ride to the palm orchard, a lecture/demo on palm pollonation This is the owner of this palm orchard, 70-something, still climbing up each tree. IMG 4486 Grape vines on the palm trunks.
ancient and still used irrigation system all in my cart were gifted with a hibiscus... We visited a traditional brick factory (the only kind they have here) IMG 4508
IMG 4509 He was also something of a sculptor IMG 4516 IMG 4517
and an abstract painter? By law, all buildings in the City of Tonzeur have to have these bricks and are known for their distintive patterning. IMG 4521 IMG 4522
IMG 4524 And now we walk to the medina Keeping up appearances The market
IMG 4531 IMG 4533 Right hot; left hotter IMG 4541
IMG 4539 center of city not an unusual site in central markets IMG 4546
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IMG 4552 IMG 4553 IMG 4556 Entering the medina
Many Jewish items for sale here - As in many large cities in North Africa, the Jews and Berbers escaped from Spain in the 15th century and established roots here, where several famailies still live. Discovered an artist in her shop/studio in the medina in Tozeur.  Didn't buy anything but was lovely to look at - I have her name and details if anyone is interested! IMG 4565 her studio
IMG 4567 And then met the rest of my group in this museum courtyard where they were having tea. Souad explains objects IMG 4574
Tozeur colors She dresses up Pat and Kathryn and sings a typical wedding song demo of carding
Lunch in the town - my table neighbor tried the camel... IMG 4603 IMG 4605 IMG 4608
IMG 4611 This train is moving phosphate, one of the major minerals of the area and the basis of its wealth. Stopped to learn about how pistachios grow. IMG 4619
another roadside cafe and another Driving through the modern university city of Gafsa - I was interested to see this young hijab'd woman place her son on the bike before getting on it herself.  sorry for no more shots. yeah, another cafe
I just liked this photo. Many women working the fields IMG 4635 Existing gate of Sbeitla, another Roman city built o top of older ones and later ransacked for materials for cathedrals and such.
IMG 4639 Little museum inside the entrance My Patron Saint, Bacchus IMG 4644
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IMG 4675 IMG 4676 There's always a happy hour... roadside market
morning coffee at La Kasbah before going off to see the sights. IMG 4693 IMG 4697 Visit to the 1000 year old Basins of Aghalabid (see wikipedia for more info - I'm tired!)
IMG 4695 IMG 4701 IMG 4702 Abou Zamaa al-Balawi mausoleum - he was the person who was a disciple of Allah and then outlived hi by many years and so was given this mausoleum postumously as a tribute.
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Looking into the Prayer space The Women's side IMG 4725 IMG 4726
IMG 4727 Learning more about the religious history. IMG 4729 The Great Mosque of Kairouan
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IMG 4736 Ancient cup holders! Really. IMG 4739 The prayer room
And a Turkish scout organization on a publicity video visit IMG 4753 And then a walk to the medina Adjacent to our hotel, La Kasbah
IMG 4756 more sweets Macarons and more IMG 4765
IMG 4766 IMG 4773 There is a water wheel involved IMG 4778
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IMG 4787 IMG 4789 IMG 4793 a weaver's shop
IMG 4794 IMG 4764 IMG 4786 Always another mosque...
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a mural And a final Home Hosted Meal Mom, Dad, two sons and their wives and two kids each live in 3 attached units in this large house.  (+15 for dinner)... Next morning: I went to the hammam - behind the white double doors
The ante room. Came back to a new friend who had commandeered my sunglasses, complements of housekeeping. A glass of wine before the Arabic lesson we requested.  Total hilarity! Clear as mud.
right - that's an alphabet We tried... In the end Mtir wrote each of our names for us...  Here's Larry and Allon
And Varda No idea... This is Jessica and Jessie. (Right to left of course) We found a very nice restaurant for our last 'on our own' dining experience in Kairouan.
IMG 4842 chicken with sesame, cashews, mango and prunes In case you're ever there, here's the name... IMG 4846
Some more amazing doors as we walked back to the hotel. IMG 4848 and a last morning sip It was a grand hotel.
fading into the distance and now seeing more women working the fields and the sheep IMG 4873 IMG 4868
IMG 4906 She is making bread to sell to passers-by IMG 4891 Her neice comes to see us
Her sister gathering twigs for her oven next door Learning early She could probably bring in a lot of money as a model - but perhaps has never even seen a fashion magazine. Local traffic
School is just letting out for lunchtime in Hammamet The oldest resort in Tunisia, Hammamet, where our trip leader lives.  Pretty, but very full of tourist services. IMG 4929 IMG 4930
IMG 4966 IMG 4968 IMG 4964 For after our coffee
Many, Many pretty doors in the medina IMG 4947 IMG 4950 IMG 4951
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IMG 4940 IMG 4944 and interesting walls IMG 4932
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IMG 4959 I wnt in one shop and watched some henna marking. IMG 4972 Heading out of hammamet now and enjoyed the view from the bus
IMG 4978 IMG 4989 IMG 4991 Climbing to Sidi Bou Said - our last destination.
happliy inhabited by artists, Paul Klee, Louis Moillett, and August Macke and the view from our last accommodation. Hotel Said My room
IMG 4997 My view IMG 5001 one of the courtyards
Visiting a museum of musical instruments in the house of Baron Rudolphe d'Erlinger, a French painter and musicologist specializing in North African and Arabian music.  Enjoy. IMG 5004 IMG 5005 IMG 5006
IMG 5007 Portrait of d'Erlinger (born Bologne-Billencourt, France 1872 - died Tunis 1932. IMG 5009 IMG 5010
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IMG 5016 View from the back of the house IMG 5021 IMG 5018
Morning walk up the stairs to the top of the highest point in Tunis IMG 5029 IMG 5031 IMG 5032
IMG 5039 IMG 5038 and down to the bottom of the villiage and to the bus for the day's sights. First stop the American WW2 Cemetery
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Time to re-waatch Patton. And then several stops in ancient Carthage IMG 5066 IMG 5074
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IMG 5067 IMG 5070 IMG 5071 And to Anthony's baths
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IMG 5085 Larry, me, Malcolm, xxx, Kathe, Kathleen, Cindi, Kathy, David, Varda, Esther, Margaret, Pat, Kathi.  Missing Allon. Little pre-dinner walk around the Dar Said IMG 5094
IMG 5095 IMG 5096 Looking down at the restaurant where we will have our farewell dinner. IMG 5099
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All good things... Last glimpse