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Tunisia From October 5 to 18, 2007

 
 
Reply Wed 26 Sep, 2007 09:55 pm
I'll be spending two weeks in Tunisia from October 5th to the 18th, and will, as usual, post a travelogue with some pictures upon my return.

Tunisia is a small country located in North Africa between Algeria and Libya with its border along the Mediterranean Sea. Although it's predominantly Berbers who occupy this country, the history of the country is varied including the Phoenicians, Turks, Ottomon Empire and the Romans, Tunisia was the location for some interesting movies such as Star Wars, The English Patient, Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Famous battles of WWII were also fought here, and the recent PBS series called "The War" included segments of the battles fought here between the Brits and the US against Germany.

We're going to be seeing a whole lot of landscape, because we're going to be spending about 28 hours on the road. Lot'sa fig trees and desert.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Sep, 2007 10:31 pm
I'm really waiting to see your pics, ci. (Tunesia is one of the most favourite German holiday places ... )
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 09:29 am
Have a good time, CI. I'll be waiting to see the photos too..
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Oct, 2007 11:54 am
Have a nice time, c.i., and bon voyage!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Oct, 2007 07:19 am
Returned last night after 9PM. Downloaded some pictures, but the airlines shipped our check-in baggage with another camera in it on another plane from Los Angeles, because it was a small commuter plane, and they didn't have any more space available. They said they'll deliver it today. Rolling Eyes

Give me a few days to write up a travelogue; it should be ready by Monday.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Oct, 2007 08:19 am
Thanks for the update, c.i.!

Sorry to hear the news about the luggage - but otherwise you hopefully had had a good time, I suppose.

Have some rest now :wink:
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Oct, 2007 08:58 am
Welcome back, CI! Very Happy
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xingu
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Oct, 2007 09:01 am
bm
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 10:52 am
12-Days In Tunisia

OVERVIEW:

The whole trip took 14-days, but two days were devoted to travel.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_1TunisiaOct2007CharlesDeGaulleairpo.jpg Charles DeGaulle airport, Paris.
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp052.jpg Traffic into Tunis.


We saw almost everything Tunisia has to offer its visitors from its capitol, Tunis, Carthage (the one-time home of Hannibal), down to the south-east of the country in Tozeur with day trips to Mides and Mamerza close to the Algerian border for a train (the Red Lizard opened in 1899) ride in the Seldja Gorge, then on four-wheel vehicle drives in the Sahara desert, then crossing the great salt lake down to Douz, followed by a trip to the resort island of Djerba, then back up north to Sousse, Kairouan and Monastir before heading back to Carthage-Tunis airport for our flight home.

Tunisia must be one of the most visitor-friendly North African country with many attractions that can surprise and enthrall. Its history was shaped by many including the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Vandals, Ottomans, Turks, Berbers, Arabs, and the French. The country's fields are filled with date, olive, citrus, pomegranates, vineyards, and cactus, and imports 40 percent of its food. The landscape varies from oak forests and heather to the Sahara desert to rocky mountains to the fertile regions to the sandy beaches with hundreds of resort hotels.

The architecture varies from the Roman ruins to the Berber underground homes to the pit house built into the mountains to the Punic in Carthage to the European and Islamic elements from the French colonial period to the modernist-art nouveau/art-deco style.

Since Tunisia has been under the influence of Islam since the 7th century, the architectural style is predominately seen from the large number of mosques with their elaborate doorways, minarets, and their souks/bazaars. Most homes are simple cement-walled buildings, many without windows, with dirt floors. There are also those in the middle class and upper middle class with marble floors, modern furniture, kitchen appliances, and air conditioning.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD020.jpg Tunis downtown clocktower at the end of Habib Bourguiba.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD021.jpg Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul.

FIRST THREE NIGHTS - Day 2 to Day 5:

Our first three nights were based in Gammarth, about 25-minutes north by bus from the Carthage-Tunis airport. Our first day tour included a quick drive-through tour of downtown Tunis with one photo-op stop at the cathedral before our first stop of the day. The Bardo Museum, a former palace of the Tunisian king, which houses the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world (dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries), and located on the outskirts of Tunis was overwhelming with the number and sizes of their mosaics and other collections. We also had a walk-through of Tunis' medina (old town) designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD044.jpg Bardo Museum mosaic shows a Christian church.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD063.jpg Roman sarcophagus (3rd century): depicts the three Graces and the four seasons of the year.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD042.jpg Roman aqueduct.

NOTE: Will post more pictures of our first three days later today.

In the afternoon, we visited Carthage to see the Punic Ports, Roman Amphitheater, and the Roman Public Baths of Antoninus Pius. Our last stop was in Sidi Bousaid (once home to painter Paul Klee), an Hellenic village perched on the cliffs above the Mediterranean with shops and restaurants painted in white with blue window shutters and doors.

We visited Dougga the following day, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see the capitol and theater. Before our return to the hotel in the afternoon, we were shown the Roman Water Reservoir and a surprise visit to the North Africa American Cemetery located close to the ancient city of Carthage where 2,841 of our military dead are interred on 27 acres. They also have a Wall of the Missing where 3,724 names are engraved. Although most are from WWII, they also include some from the Gulf War. They have a small chapel and the memorial court which contains large mosaic maps depicting the operations from WWII.

The following day was a 8-hour scenic transfer day to Tozeur.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 11:49 am
Welcome home! I can't wait to see more of this batch of photos.......
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realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 12:04 pm
Me, too.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 01:29 pm
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD078.jpg Bardo Museum hall.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD085.jpg One of the mosaic.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD099.jpg Eros.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD064.jpg The five pillars of Islam.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD035.jpg Gate to Tunis Medina.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD029.jpg Tunis Medina.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD130.jpg Tunis souk.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD031.jpg Hat maker.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 03:42 pm
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD028-1.jpg Doors of Tunisia 1.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD026.jpg Doors of Tunisia 2.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD042-1.jpg Roman aqueduct in Tunis.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD112.jpg Site in Carthage where they sacrificed children aged 6 to 12.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD113.jpg Children's tombstones.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD118.jpg Roman public baths.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD123.jpg Closer look at the baths.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp071.jpg Mr Coonce at the North Africa American Cemetary.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD232.jpg Telephone booth at rest stop.
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD137.jpg Roman theater at Dougga.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD177.jpg The Capitol at Dougga.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD157.jpg Public toilet at Dougga.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD174.jpg Numidian mausoleum at Dougga.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD217.jpg Reception at the North Africa American Cemetary.
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Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 04:06 pm
Glad to see that you are back and posting.

Have you started plans for The Third Annual San Francisco Gathering yet?

I have to go back to Alcatraz and get another prisoner's hat. Mine took a walk. So that's my excuse.

Andy and I are thinking about spending Christmas in San Francisco. His passport renewal got lost in the mail so we can't make any foreign excursions as yet.

More pictures please.
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urs53
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 04:38 pm
Great pictures, ci! You sure get around.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 06:26 pm
Sglass, Sounds like a good idea to me! Why don't you start a thread on it?

urs, Glad to see you dropped by for a visit.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 07:16 pm
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD272.jpg Street vendor selling dates.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD259.jpg Dar Chraiet Museum in Tozeur.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD274.jpg Mineret in downtown Tozeur.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Oct, 2007 07:20 pm
Loving the photos, tak, small that they may be.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Oct, 2007 12:24 am
Great trip again, c.i.!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Oct, 2007 06:51 am
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD210.jpgMr Coonce telling us about the North Africa campaign.

A short note: While looking at a map of Tunisia before the trip, I noticed the name Kasserine. I knew that Kasserine Pass was related to the first US army engagement with the Germans under Rommel. The US army suffered heavy losses, because they were untested and had an incompetent commander. Our visit to the American Cemetery also reminded me of the time in the late fifties when I visited the beach at Casablanca where the allied forces landed in November 1942 under the command of General Patton. They had erected a memorial on the beach where the landing took place. As we were driving south from Gammarth on our way to Tozeur, I noticed many road signs to Kasserine. Some times, it takes decades before there's a connection between what we see early in life and the autumn.

TRANSFER TO TOZEUR - Day 6 and Day 7:

Our main tour of the day was at Sbeitla, about midway between Gammarth and Tozeur, the site of the Roman town of Sufetula. Christians settled here in the 3rd century, and the Church of St Servus which was erected on the site of a pagan temple is recognized by its four tall pillars still standing.

On the following day, we had a walking tour of Tozeur to visit the souks, and the Saharan Zoo to see gazelles, snakes, scorpions, desert fox, and the coke camel (drinks only coke, and used to promote coke in Tunisia). We also visited the Dar Chraiet Museum, a typical Andalusian style museum that houses clothing, pottery, and ancient weaponry. In the evening, I took the optional dinner-show with belly dancers, fire-eaters, musicians, and a horse show.

When we boarded the Red Lizard train to ride through the gorges and canyons of Metlaoui, it was already packed with people, and no seats were available. I stood on the platform between two trains with five others on "our" side, and took the middle position to view and take pictures for both sides. To the right of me stood to English men talking business, and a couple from France on my left. The couple from France offered to share the platform on their side to take pictures. This is the area where they mine phosphate, one of their important exports to the US and Europe.

Our afternoon safari on 4-wheel drive vehicles into the Sahara Desert to visit the Seldja Gorge and mountain oasis next to the Algerian border where they filmed The English Patient was spectacular. Today was also the end of Ramadan, so Muslim were able to get off their fasting from drinking and food.

Another couple, Mort and Judi, in our group from Watsonville, California, and I met a film crew from the Czech Republic as they were reviewing some of the takes on their computers in the hotel lobby. They're making a film "Tobruk" about WWII, because they told us not many people know that the Czechs also fought in WWII. We met two of the actors, Michael, Peter and their director, whose name I failed to get, because there were about a half dozen more people connected to the film sitting at one end of the bar lounge. I gave Michael and Peter my "business" card, so I hope they will contact me when they finish the film, because they said I had new friends from Prague. The director told the couple from Watsonville that he will send them a copy of the movie on DVD when the film is completed, and Mort promised to have a copy made for me. We joined them again after dinner in the hotel bar, and had a few drinks together.

We had another transfer day early next morning after breakfast.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp108.jpg Sign to the Sbeitla ruins.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD242.jpg The Capitol consisting of three temples dedicated to Juno, Jupiter and Minerva.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp100.jpg Church of St Servus erected on the site of a pagan temple.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD274.jpg Mineret in downtown Tozeur.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp146.jpg Sign on the external walls of the Dar Chraiet Museum. There are many like this one.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD259.jpg Typical museum display.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD24mp083.jpg Kamel, our local guide in Tunisia.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/th_TunisiaOct2007xD274.jpg The mineret in downtown Tozeur.
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