A Travellerspoint blog

Tunisia 2

Djerba and Gabes

sunny 22 °C

It is very nearly impossible to write using this keyboard. Some of the keys have four options incuding arabic script and the letters are also in the wrong places.

Yesterday we were in Kebili, an oasis on the edge of the sandy bit of the Sahara. We drove to Douz where we were dressed in arabic clothing and introduced to our friendly camels. Vickys was placid and Graemes was too except for an alarming mouth issue. It kept bubbling and foaming like an espresso machine. The desert was magnificent with the sand the finest and softest we have ever experienced.
We later drove to the island of Djerba - spookily pronounced Al Jazira by the locals - where we travelled on a ferry with goats and cows. We went to a pottery and made some purchases.

Today we visited a synogogue, on the site of the oldest synogogue in the world. We then visited a carpet maker and a shy arab girl showed us how to make a few knots. It takes three months for these people to make a three metre carpet and they do the pattern from memory. We made a purchase here as well! The propieter called Graeme the Doctor and Vicky Brigette all through the negotiations for some reason. He also offered Graeme 1000 camels for Vicky.
We also visited the souk - market - and generally looked about, trying to avoid the all too many spruikers outside each stall.

Tonight we are in Gabes and we travel north to El Jem and then on to Hammamet and then finishing in Tunis on Saturday.

Posted by GVCharlton 12:42 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (4)

Tunisia#1

Tunis and Tozeur

sunny 20 °C

Greetings from Tunisia!

This is day three of our Tunisian experience and it is the first real chance we have had to add to the website.

We are Kebili which is in the south of the country next to an oasis.

We arrived late into Tunis having missed our plane out of Rome for a variety of reasons. We got to bed after midnight and then had to get up at six, which was really five because of the change to daylight saving.

Sunday was all about Tunis and we visited all the sights this place has to offer - the beautiful town of Sidi Bou Said the ruins of ancient Carthage, the magnificent Bardo Museum which features the worlds largest collection of Roman mosaics and then into the Medina, the ancient town centre. We also managed to see a tradtional muslim wedding and a troup of soldiers bringing down the flag in the town centre at the stroke of five.

Monday was mainly the Muslim experience with visits to a number of mosques and holy places as we travelled south to Tozeur. The highlight was visiting a mosque from the tenth century in a town called Kaiorian. This place is the fourth most holy shrine in all Islam.

Today was the Desert experience with a four wheel drive journey into the Sahara. We really only ventured onto the edge but saw plenty of sand dunes and had a lunatic drive across sand roads. We visited a number of oases some of which looked like they were from Hollywood, and others that did not. We saw the place where Star Wars was filmed, visited a berber family at their tent and met their baby goats and camels. We also travelled across a vast salt pan.

The group is only eight - four from Italy and two from Austria. Our tour guide is a real wag and can tell amusing Tunisian anecdotes in five languages. The bus is OK and the hotels are mostly straight out of the sixties except for tonight. Food is interesting and plentiful and alcohol very cheap.

Internet is on modem and keyboards are European !!!!!!!

Posted by GVCharlton 11:17 Archived in Tunisia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (3)

Italy #4

Roma - the last day

semi-overcast 16 °C

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We have just come back to the hotel after visiting Santa Maria Maggiore an amazingly elaborate church with some parts dating back to 400AD. While we were there a mass was being conducted, and we sat and listened for a while. It was obviously an important mass because there were about fifty priests including some who appeared to be cardinals and a choir of about 25. There were hundreds in the congregation, most wearing something red. As we came out of the church it was raining, so we got a taxi back to the hotel, and we have a bus picking us up to take us to the airport in about half an hour... Africa here we come!!!!

We have both really enjoyed Rome, perhaps not just only the ancient stuff, but the wandering through the piazzas, the food, the interesting shops, the people and just soaking in the atmosphere. The weather did improve over the last couple of days, and yesterday we actually sat in the sun drinking coffee at the Piazza Campo de Fiori (see photo) which was full of street vendors selling all sorts of food, fresh vegies, flowers, fruit, meat, cheeses, spices and pasta, a wonderful display of Italian culture.

Some of the photos from the previous pages will be taken off the website soon as they take up a lot of the meagre 25Mb monthly quota!

Please add to the comments box if you like, or you can email us on gscharlton@hotmail.com or vhcharlton@hotmail.com.

Posted by GVCharlton 03:49 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Italy #3

Roma #3

overcast 15 °C

An unexpected break in the weather took us to Ancient Rome Wednesday morning.

Firstly we went to the Colosseum where we took a guided tour with about thirty others. The tour guide was very informative and we listened to her using radio controlled walkie talkie things as all of the tour groups banged together at the best spots.

Our tour continued to the Palatine Hill where we had a new guide, a witty cockney who told the story of Ancient Rome in amusing anecdotes including a few wee and pooh stories.
We wandered around the Roman Forum which wasn't that crowded

We wandered up from the Forum to the Victor Emmanuel Monument where we imbibed in expensive tourist coffee and more panini for lunch.

We made our way to the Piazza Navone to follow a walk in our tourist book after a fortifying glass of chianti. The walk was OK but we deviated from the path into a delightful little laneway called Via de Coronari, probably named after the prices you might expect to pay.
Upholsterers, gilt mirror makers, decorative painters, rug repairer, venician glass bead shop, old fashioned barber etc.

For dinner we found a little place around the corner called the Ristorante La Cantinola Da Livio. Vicky had Spaghetti with clams and Graeme had Risotto Pescatori with some reasonably pleasant house vino rosso.

Today, Thursday, we walked from the hotel along the Via Veneto to the Spanish Steps with a bit of window shopping and actually found a few nice places amongst the Prada, Dior, Escada, Hermes, YSL, etc etc.

More panini for lunch and this evening out to dinner in the Trasterveri district.

Posted by GVCharlton 13:03 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Italy #2

Roma #2 The Vatican

rain 11 °C

Weather : Cold and wet

Spent today at the Vatican.

Activity one : Climbed to the top of the dome of St Peters. A lift followed by 320 steps up tiny sloping passageways and spiral stair cases untill we were suddenly on a small balcony right at the very top. Unfortunately accompanied by several hundred others including several school groups. View spectacular, architecture amazing.

Activity two : Wandered through St Peters. Very ornate with lots of marble and gold and statues. Accompanied by similar crowds but much more respectful inside the church.

Activity three : Lined up for about 30 minutes for the Vatican museums. These were amazing, full (overfull really) of relics from Ancient Egypt right through to today but mostly ancient Rome and then the Renaissance. There was so much to look at that we could have been there for twice the time and still not seen everything. Unfortunately most of the exhibits are inadequately labelled and many are too far away to be seen in close detail. There were some astounding sculpture and the Egypt section was the best we had seen. The crowds were horrendous with many school groups of disresepctful, loud, pushy children. The highpoint was the Sistine Chapel which was truly wonderous and managed to blow away some of the annoyance we had felt up until then. We spent about half an hour just looking up with a thousand or so of our new friends who constantly ignored the entreaties of the guards to be silent and not to take photos.

We returned to the hotel as light faded and enjoyed a Bombay Sapphire with Schweppes or two before dinner in.

Posted by GVCharlton 13:00 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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