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Published: December 8th 2009
In the early days of any teaching contract you rarely have a full timetable of classes. That’s great for us as it gives us the chance to get a few day trips in before work gets too busy and/or stressful!!
Sousse, where we are living, is a touristy town but it is not alone on this stretch of Tunisia’s coastline. Nearby the resort of Monastir is probably a little better known amongst European holidaymakers. Getting there is easy for us. We just take a bus into the centre of Sousse and then another bus down to Monastir. In all it’s about 90 minutes travel so not so bad. The problem was that we had just missed the bus from Sousse so we had to chase it down the street until it stopped for us!!!
Monastir is famous for a couple of things. The most legendary, certainly amongst fans of Monty Python
, is its central ribat
where The Life of Brian
was filmed. In case you didn’t know, that’s where the line entitling this blog comes from. Aside from the movie connection, the ribat was a very interesting fortification to explore. The views of the city and the coast are
wonderful, especially from the top of the so-called Control Tower.
From the ribat you also get a marvellous view of Monastir’s other notable sight, the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba who was the first president of independent Tunisia. It is a striking Islamic construction with two huge minarets and a giant golden dome in the middle. It’s just a shame that the gold leaf is being re-touched at the moment but hopefully that doesn’t detract from the beauty of the place. You can judge for yourself with the panoramic image. Unusually, it is free to go inside and it is a tranquil, cool place to spend a few minutes of contemplation. There are some small displays about the life of the former president too making it a little like a museum.
Back outside in the sun we sat and had some traditional street food. Chapatti
is something we would normally associate with an Indian restaurant. Here though, it’s a type of bread which is sliced to make a kind of sandwich. We had ours stuffed with spicy sausages, a bit of salad and some of the local sauces. Harissa
is a very spicy red sauce made from chilli peppers,
more Russ’ thing than Trish’s! The green salade mechouia
is a little less spicy but laced with garlic - delicious!!
To get back to Sousse we took the Metro
train which was quicker and easier than the bus. Had we known about it earlier in the day, we probably wouldn’t have run through the streets chasing after a bus!
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