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Published: February 24th 2018
Saturday February 24 - So the hotel apartment I stayed in last night? Absolutely freezing. There was a heater, and fortunately, it worked, but only in the bedroom. I sat at the kitchen table last night writing until I was too cold to sit there. When it was time to shower, I was actually shaking while waiting for the water to get hot, which took long enough that I almost gave up on it. Then I stayed in longer than was necessary just to heat up, and made a plan of exactly how quickly I would need to get dressed without freezing. I slept under two blankets in the heated room and it was just enough, but leaving the room in the morning was hard.
On the road we started back in Bizerte, checking out the winding close streets of the medina before heading up to find the old Spanish fort (which is actually Turkish). We did find it, despite it not having any signs. It was free to enter, but they took our passport details first. It gave a good overview of the city and especially the cemetery next door, but the fort itself did not have anything much
to see - no rooms to enter, for example, just a large courtyard.
Heading back to town, we ran into a Spanish girl named Cristina. She was looking for the port area, and had totally missed it. She was excited to be able to talk to someone, as no one else really speaks much English and there are not many tourists anywhere. We took her to the port and then ended up taking her back to Tunis with us. She had only just arrived by shared minibus, but she only needs to stay long enough to snap a few pictures, and she’s ready to go. She was also going to try to get to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said today also. Godspeed girl.
We went directly to the Bardo museum, which was just stunning. It’s in an old palace and houses a lot of historical items from the ruins I’ve seen, including many more mosaics. It is three floors and took a couple of hours to get through. I’m really glad I had a chance to see it.
From the Bardo, we went to the hotel and it was quite crazy to try to get around. Driving
here is always nuts, but in the city, on a Saturday you almost could not move for the number of pedestrians also on the road. The hotel did not have parking, as Felix had thought, so we parked outside on the main street. As we checked in, the guy at the desk said to move immediately as they would tow the car at any point. It took him about 15 minutes to return and then we completed checking in. In my room, I quickly checked in for both flights tomorrow. The first one is an hour later than originally scheduled, but I shouldn’t have any problems making my connecting flight.
Next stop was the Great Mosque, but it was already closed for the day, so we just it from the outside. We then walked through the medina, which is the largest one I’ve seen so far in the country. After an hour, it got to be a little too much - too tight, too many people, too much cigarette smoke. Every man is always smoking, and the men working in the medina are no exception. Felix had been looking for a copper coffee pot, and he asked at one
shop where he could go to find one. We couldn’t find it from their directions, so we went back to ask again. This time the girl came with us, and she took my arm to lead me through the souk (market). Then it got more squeezed so she held my hand, leading me the rest of the way. It was cute actually. She only spoke to us in French, but I think she was saying to let her bargain because it would be cheaper. They showed him several versions, but none were what he was looking for, so he didn’t get one in the end.
From there, we made our way back towards the clock tower at the end of our street, and then to the hotel. I ran up to get my raincoat, as it was getting colder and threatened to rain, and then we walked over to the restaurant. It was not yet 6pm, but I was starving, like every day with no lunch. I had a menu including appetizer spreads, a piece of meat and fries and chocolate mousse. This is on top of the bread and spreads they already bring out. And it was like
$7. Not too bad. Except for the smoking. You can smoke anywhere here, and everyone in the restaurant was smoking. It was a little much after so much smoking already in the medina.
My time in Tunisia has gone quickly, but I saw so much and am ready to get home.
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