24 October 2022 La Goulette / Tunis / Carthage / Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
We arrived at the port of La Goulette, Tunisia about 7am, and the ms Zaandam was cleared for passengers to go ashore about 8:15am.
I woke at 6:45 and eventually went up to the Lido for breakfast. We were docking, and camels were there to greet us. My breakfast was a small omelette, sausage, OJ, & coffee.
Returning to my room, Dodid unlocked my door for me, smiling. He had already tidied up my room.
I am prepared for today’s 90 degree heat with sunscreen, sandals, a light tropical dress, my Cruise Specialists safari hat, and hiking stick. Our Cruise Specialists tour group meets at 8:45am in the Ocean Bar to go ashore together.
Tom Mullen welcomed me, but it was our new hosts Susie & Keith Borland who went on this tour with us. Big blue bus. A lady named Timmie welcomed me to the seat next to her. Mohammed is our guide. The driver found more than one Carthage residential street too crowded for our big bus. Our first stop was at an important church. Then we drove by the aqueduct of old Carthage and stopped to photograph the location of the historic Carthage port. Drove right by the museum that charges 1 Euro to use your camera.
“Sidi Bou Said & Carthage – 4 hours – Tour along the coast . . . View many sights on a panoramic drive through Carthage . . . Founded 800 BC by the Phoenicians. It was here that Hannibal began his legendary journey that ended in an elephant ride across the Pyrenees and the Alps into Italy. The Romans eventually prevailed, and they destroyed and rebuilt Carthage in 146 BC, and it became the Roman Empire’s second city. Please note:
A 15-20 minute uphill walk is required to reach Sidi Bou Said from the motor coach parking lot.”
Susie had passed out the earphone contraption to hear the tour guide. We reached the Sidi Bou Said parking lot and proceeded to follow Mohammed through endless souvenir stalls and uphill through the narrow and picturesque streets between the white and blue buildings. I kept up pretty well with my hiking stick. Others were slower than me. Mohammed stopped to show us a beautiful blue door with the hands of Fatima door knockers.
Soon we arrived at the “museum of Dar El Annabi to see a traditional Tunisian home and enjoy some refreshments and Tunisian pastries. I enjoyed three little pastries with lemonade and hot tea. The hostess and her daughter served us from the buffet table. Their heads were not covered. Actually I saw few women with their heads covered here. I took two of the best little pastries to take back to the ship for my Room Stewards Dodid and Roy. They rarely get to come ashore and visit a port.
The ladies room was identified by an exotic picture of a covered lady. Inside was beautiful tile work. Those pictures are on my Sony camera. The family shared album gets what I remember to shoot with the iPhone. Today the iPhone battery did not run down while set on low power mode.
“Afterwards, there will be ample time to stroll, admire the typical architecture, and shop local handicrafts.” Mohammed led us downhill. Careful stepping on these lovely but uneven streets. We stopped at the neighborhood water faucets where a man was filling his big plastic jugs.
Then we were encouraged to shop in the store that guaranteed “Tunisian products,” not from China or Libya. I photographed the prettiest merchandise and bought a $2 magnet. We left as a Holland America tour group was being led into the same shop.
We had been warned of the 90 degree heat, but many of us were mostly tired from the walking. I enjoyed looking at all the souvenir shops, as I made my way downhill to the parking lot. Same place that Jack and I visited a few years ago. He bought a leather belt, and I bought the black & gold dress then. Today I saw a beach towel that I liked. “Only $60”. I offered $5, and he laughed. He had come down to $20, when I left.
I waited for the bus with our host Susie. She had bought a 1 Euro container of her favorite Mediterranean spice mix. She could tell that I was envious and offered to go get me one. I handed her $2, because our dollar is almost equal to the Euro right now. She returned with her favorite and another that has Saffron in it. I am thrilled to have then and will have to ask again what their names are. She saw someone else paying $5. Susie & Keith lived in Malaga, Spain for several years. We lived in Jerez de la Frontera. We can be good friends.
Back on the bus, I was happy to just sit, when the North African Cemetery and Memorial was visited. We returned to the port about 1pm, and I enjoyed strolling through the Port Village shops. Outside by the ship, people were spending money to ride the camels or to be photographed holding a fierce-looking hawk.
Musicians added to the atmosphere.
Relaxing afternoon in my room.
I was hungry for dinner, and it was good. French Onion Soup, Cannelloni al Forno with Chicken, Almond Fruit Cake, Beringer’s White Zinfandel, and decaf coffee.
Good conversation comparing tours today. Mine was good. Charlotte & Bill’s “Tours with Locals” was great. David & Jan’s HAL tour had a disappointing guide. We all learned history.
Tonight’s show is “Encore” by the Zaandam Singers & Dancers. They really are good.
Came home to my room to find two chocolates and a notice that clocks move ahead another hour tonight.
With this post I have chosen to not place captions on each image, because with Barbara’s superb narrative anyone who has cruised can identify what the image is portraying. JWC