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Day Eight: Tunisia

Posted on Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Dave!And here I am back in Africa... this time in beautiful Tunisia.

The first stop was in ancient Carthage, which was a major city back in its heyday. There are a number of ruins around, but the tour I had focused on the colosseum and Roman baths... both in pretty bad shape, but still very interesting...

Colosseum at Carthage

Roman Baths at Carthage

Roman Baths at Carthage

From there it was a quick stop at The Bardo Museum, which was something I was very much looking forward to (and the only criteria I had for picking a shore excursion package). Their collection of mosaics is fantastic, and to be able to see them in person is like a dream come true. In many ways, mosaic is somewhat like the early days of computer pixel art, and I've always been fascinated with the stuff...

Bardo Museum Mosaic

Bardo Museum Mosaic Detail

Bardo Museum Mosaic Four-Panel

Bardo Museum Mosaic Tree Man

Bardo Museum Mosaic

I could have easily spent a full day here, but with a mere 40 minutes I just pushed my way through as many rooms as possible before heading off to the Tunis Medina. Much of the Medina market was closed, which ended up being a total blessing. With many of the side-streets vacated, I was left with photographic opportunities literally too good to be true, but still had some excitement to experience down the main passages...

Tunis Medina

Busy Main Passage at the Medina Market

Medina Lighting Seller

Medina Empty Alley

Medina Market Toys

Medina Market Door

Medina Market Wiring

Roof View of the Medina

Time for a lunch break...

Arabic Coca-Cola!

Since the tour group consisted mostly of Americans, the guide was kind enough to then drive us through the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, where soldiers from World War II are buried. As it was 9-11, the flag was flying at half-mast...

Tunis American Cemetery

Flag Half-Mast at the Tunis American Cemetery

The final stop on the tour was the beautiful blue-and-white city of Sidi Bou Said (sid-dee boo sigh-eed). Much like Santorini, all the buildings are colored to compliment the sea and sky. I could have stayed here for days just photographing the amazing doors that permeate the city...

Mosque of Sidi Bou Said

Blue Doors

Blue Doors

Blue Doors

Blue Doors

Many of the doors have beautiful decorative nails pounded into them. The guide explained that Muslim houses are typically very plain on the outside so you can't tell what's inside. To illustrate how wealthy a person was, they used to decorate their door with ornate silver and gemstone patterns. Now-a-days, of course, any such valuables would be stolen immediately, so the painted nails are used as a symbolic expression of how the decorations used to be.

After an exhaustive day running around Northern Tunisia, it was back to the ship for dinner and one amazing sunset at sea off the African coast...

Africa Sunset

And that's the joy and hurt of a cruise... they allow you to see so many wonderful places in a single journey, but only for a very short time. As I boarded the ship I wanted nothing more to run back to the dock and lose myself in Tunis again but, alas, I'm off to new places and new adventures...

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Comments

  1. Sybil Law says:

    Love Love Love!
    You sure you don’t need a travel partner?! :)

    Also, that lion -man thingy mosaic is very well endowed, or something…. Haha

  2. claire says:

    Octopus-sun god FTW!

    The lamps are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing another set of fascinating travel pictures! Sidi Bou Said looks like an amazing place.

  3. Such beautiful pictures Dave. Looks absolutely breathtaking!

  4. yellojkt says:

    As always, great pictures. The market looks so beautiful.

  5. habanerogal says:

    The mosaics are breathtaking. can’t believe how much wow you manage to pack into a short visit

  6. muskrat says:

    Just caught up on your past few posts…looks like a great trip. Glad you were wrong about what a Disney cruise might be like.

  7. martymankins says:

    Some of those photos remind me of the Star Wars films, which some of the scenes on Tatooine were filmed in Tunisia.

    Awesome pics.

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