Published: April 3rd 2010March 29th 2010
Just half an hour South of Tabarka the road climbs up to 1000m above sea level as you reach the mountain town of Ain Draham. In winter this place regularly gets snow so the roofs of the houses make them seem like Alpine lodges. We missed the snow but were very lucky with the weather, catching a lot of sunshine which took most of the chill out of the evening air.
Staying in the Hotel Beau Sejour we were surprised to have satellite TV in our room and heating. It's just a shame we had to ask for the water to be heated! Still, there were only 2 other people staying there so I guess the management decided not to switch it on unless requested. The bar area is like a hunting lodge but the log fire wasn't lit. Later on we sat with our beers overlooked by three wild boars who now adorn the walls. How atmospheric!!
In the afternoon we had driven down to the small town of Hammam Bourgiba, a spa resort with a large and expensive hotel. In order to get through the police cordon we had to say we were going there, even though
we drove straight past the gates and into the hills towards the Algerian border. We were trying to get to the Zeytuna Reservoir which we could see from afar but our mobile phones kept telling us we were in Algeria! We're not entirely sure but can't help but feel we would have known had we crossed the border! The reservoir was nice but there was nowhere to safely walk in the area. The water glowed blue which must have been a trick of the light but had us wondering if the drinking water was safe.
Looking for somewhere to walk we found the road back towards Ain Draham. Parking up at one of the picnic sites we found a track leading into the cork forest. We walked for about an hour through lovely mountain scenery before retracing our steps back to the car. It was so refreshing to walk in the clean, cool mountain air.
The next day we left Ain Draham and headed out to the village of Beni Metir where Tunisia's main hydro-electric dam was built forming a reservoir. We couldn't find an actual path to walk on but parked up near the cemetery and clambered
down the wooded area to the edge of the water. This time it was all a bit brown, again making us question the quality of the drinking water! It made us feel we were right to continue to buy bottled water!!
After a short stroll by the water's edge we went up into the village. French colonial architecture is everywhere and it's a very pretty place. Seeing the church within sight of the mosque was an unusual sight in Tunisia, even if the church is now used as a school. The market square and it's strange monument were nice to see as we sat outside a cafe drinking strong coffee.
Feeling refreshed we then continued our journey on to the Roman ruins of Bulla Regia, but that's for next time.
There are more photos below