Sunday, February 28, 2010

Half-term holiday

Last week was the girls' half-term holiday and, given that the weather in England has been a) grey, b) cold and c) rainy, we wanted to take a trip to someplace warmer and sunnier. After doing a bit of research on average temperatures in places like Greece and Spain, we decided to head to a new continent and spend our holiday in Tunisia.

Why Tunisia? The easiest answer was why not? Neither Himself nor I had ever been to Africa, and it was a fairly short plane ride (~3 hrs) direct from London to Tunis. We had a guidebook (love this series) that indicated a bunch of cool stuff, and a culture that was amenable to small kids, so we took the plunge.

We arrived in Tunis on Monday afternoon, and took a quick tour of the city's medina, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also crowded, dirty, loud, colorful, completely confusing and hectic.

We had some fun wandering around in there, went the the obligatory carpet store and bought a rug (Himself is quite good at bargaining - easier when you weren't planning on buying in the first place - and we ended up with a lovely rug for 40% of the inital price), got some little doughnut type things that we called grease bombs for the rest of the day. Our hotel was on the main thoroughfare, so it was easy to get to most things.

The next day we took it easy and went up the the main park in the city, Belvedere Park. We wandered around for a bit, and the girls took advantage of the good weather to gather up some wildflowers.

We then wandered over to the Zoo, where Himself and Boo saw some good animals, and Devil and I sat outside and colored.

The next day we hopped on the local commuter train and went out to Carthage. There was too much to go into in great detail, but here are the highlights:

The Oceanographic Institute.

An incredible spa that was sacked by the Vandals in AD 439. Our own versions of the Vandals played hide-and-seek, which seemed like the perfect activity for such a place.

After the baths, we hit the Roman Amphitheater (still in use!) and then to Byrsa Hill for a brief stop.

The trip back to Tunis was made all the more bearable by the combination of crunchy breadsticks and generic nutella at the train station.

Given the number of pictures already included, and the number left, I think your bandwith will appreciate it if I save the second half of the trip for another post. Stay tuned!

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